April 16, 2013 was the date of the third gathering of The Blogger’s Table. Comprising myself, TriniChow, QD Ross of Bring It To The Table and Corey of Learning Patience, we found ourselves this time at Pêche Pâtisserie’s unassuming Port-Of-Spain location. Opened in 2011 by Chef Khalil Ali (a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and French Culinary Institute), Pêche has quickly grown into a must-stop location for locals and expats who want to add a touch of Parisian flair to their morning routine.
Already renowned for their artisan breads, pastries and desserts, Pêche Pâtisserie also provides a full breakfast and lunch menu which we were made guest to as part of the tasting. The breads and pastries are baked freshly daily, and while I was there I observed several French patrons coming in for their croissants and palmiers.
With all this talk of bread it seemed only appropriate that our tasting would start with carbs! Two breads were brought out for our review. Paired with roasted garlic cloves bathed in olive oil, it was heavenly in its simplicity (and an idea I have filed away for future entertaining!)
Sourdough foccacia with olive oil, roquefort, cheddar, and fresh herbs
Chewy and spongy I loved this focaccia. The inclusion of cheddar and roquefort imparted a sharpness and smokiness that intrigued without being overpowering.
The hard tanginess of this bread melded wonderfully with the olive oil and roasted garlic cloves. You find yourself reaching for just another slice… just another.. Careful, there’s more to come!
Egg & Smoked Salmon Salad – Boiled egg tossed in roasted capsicum aioli, smoked salmon, mixed greens, Feta, pepper and Parmesan crisp
I knew I would love this salad from the description. Eggs, smoked salmon, feta, parmesan? That’s my number right there! I especially enjoyed the little rosettes that the salmons were formed into
Paneer Salad – East Indian spiced Paneer and greens and Passion fruit vinaigrette
The presentation of this salad immediately made me think of “The Sun King”. Fitting for a French-styled establishment n’est-çe-pas? I love paneer so I expected that it would be the standout component of the dish, surprisingly it was upstaged by an exceptionally brilliant passion fruit vinaigrette which provided much needed sweetness, acidity and moisture. Pêche needs to bottle and sell that as a standalone!
Pêche Pâtisserie offers a quite extensive tea menu however there is one tea which they are particularly proud of, and which you won’t find an extensive description of in their writings. This is their house tea and it is addictively amazing. All I could deduce from our waitress was that it was a proprietary blend of dried flowers and ‘other things’ created by Chef Ali. He’s right to keep it close to his chest as I must have had 3-4 glasses of the stuff at our tasting. It’s definitely going to be my de facto beverage of choice on future visits.
Egg Norwegian –
While the other bloggers dined on oysters, shrimp and lobsters, Péche thoughtfully gave me the option of picking a menu item which met my dietary restrictions. Without a second of hesitation I asked for the Egg Norwegian. It’s a popular item and after reading its description I knew I had to try it!
Before I continue, let me take a second to say something that long-time readers will be familiar with but newer ones may not. When I attend a tasting or festival I’m always looking for ‘that moment’. That moment when a combination of flavours and textures is just so right it jolts me upright. It doesn’t have to be the most technically amazing item, or the most expensive, nor does it mean that I didn’t enjoy or love other dishes. Rather, it’s something that is so new and so different it blows my notions of what I thought was possible with certain ingredients, or it reinterprets or redefines an old favourite in such a way that it feels new again. At Chaud Café it was the French Fries and Salmon Crudo, at Buzo it was the Portobello Fries and Polenta Fritta con Fonduta, and now at Pêche Pâtisserie I experienced my first ‘moment’ with the Egg Norwegian.
Imagine if you will a perfectly poached egg resting on a bed of wilted spinach awash in a thick, glorious slightly spicy Lemon and Paprika Hollandaise sauce. If you then imagine the interplay of these flavours with the slices of smoked salmon, grated Parmesan cheese and Parmesan brulée that also form this dish, then you may -start- to get an idea of what I dived into and emerged more than slightly incoherent
After all this fare I wondered how I could continue, however this was no time to back down. Especially once I realized what was next. Dessert!
Like our previous Blogger Table hosts, Buzo and Chaud Café, Pêche Pâtisserie clearly believes in the adage that we eat with our eyes. It’s a joy to see more and more local establishments giving thought and care to food styling and presentation. I wanted to sit and stare but then I couldn’t tell you the really important stuff, like how it all tasted! So let’s dive in…
Gateau Opera – Seven alternating layers of a roasted almond sponge soaked in an amaretto syrup, house made coffee extract, buttercream and ganache. Finished with cocoa glaçage.
I had been told that the Gateau Opera was another of Pêche’s calling cards. One look and I understood why. She (yes I said ‘she’) reminded me of those goddesses of late 70’s/early 80’s variety shows. All big hair, gold lamé and unbelievably long microphone cords as she descended the prop staircase towards me in a cloud of smoke. I was mesmerised. Would she taste as good as she looked? (OK maybe it’s time to drop the gendered pronouns, LOL). Let’s just say after one mouthful I thought I was having another one of my ‘moments’. In fact if it wasn’t for one other item that I had, this would have been my second Péche ‘moment’ but this remains a very close runner up. Read on!
Blueberry & Saffron Cheesecake – Fresh blueberries and saffron threads encased in Pêche’s version of a New York style cheesecake. Served on an almond pecan streusel base.
I loved the presentation of this cheesecake. It took me right back to childhood memories of Strawberry Shortcake and the toadstools that they would rest against Smooth and creamy, the flavour of blueberry was delightful. Unfortunately, much like the stems of woody mushrooms, the crust which formed the platform for the cake was too dense and thick to cut or enjoy. The only down point in the dishes with which I had been presented.
Chocolat – 60% Belgian couverture chocolate mousse infused with crème de cacao and Grand Marnier ganache placed on an almond sponge soaked in an amaretto and vanilla bean syrup.
Unbelievably light and airy, this Chocolat is like a whisper with the way it melts on your tongue. You’re left to wonder if it was really there after it’s gone (all too soon). Don’t worry, it was
Crême Brulée – French Cream & Tahitian vanilla bean
I love a good Crême Brulée, and this is probably the best one that I’ve had locally. Everything was on point from the presentation to the satisfying crack of the caramelised shell, to the delicate, not too sweet, vanilla infused custard.
Panna Cotta – French cream infused w/Cardamom and white chocolate
I’m warning you upfront, if you are not a fan of cardamom (elychee) run from this dish. However, if like me, you can’t get enough, you’re gonna love it. Not only is the cream infused with the flavour and aroma of cardamom, the top is dusted with cracked cardamom which provides additional bursts of flavour and a textural contrast. I simply adored this dish.
Pavé du Roy
Well here it is ladies and gents, the dish that gave me my second ‘moment’ of the day. Pêche’s Pavé du Roy! Considering the high it created for me, I’m glad it was also the last sampling I had. An old French classic Pavé du Roy is comprised of alternating layers of rum-soaked chocolate ‘biscuit’ and chocolate ganache. The final experience is heady, indulgent, decadent and completely swoon-inducing. Definitely not one to miss if you are a chocolate lover!
Special thanks to the kind staff of Pêche Pâtisserie for graciously hosting us and accommodating our questions, including in-house chef Allan Chase.
45 Picton Street,
Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
Telephone: 1 (868) 222-8508
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Pêche-Pâtisserie/120858374609666
Breakfast/Brunch & Lunch — Tuesday-Friday 6:30am-3:30pm; Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm (Reservations Recommended); Sunday 8:30am-3:30pm (Reservations Recommended)
Customer parking at the front of the building, with additional parking located just after the First Citizens Bank parking lot.
Visit the other blogger writeups of this tasting for additional opinions, insights and dishes:
• Pêche Pâtisserie (My Chutney Garden)
• Pull Up A Chair At Pêche: T&T Food Blogger Meetup (TriniChow)
• Blogger’s Table – Pêche Pâtisserie (Learning Patience)
• Pass Back @ Pêche (Bring It To The Table)