When I was 21 years old, I had the great fortune of landing a summer job in Paris. The pay was miserable, but I didn’t care. I was thrilled to be living in the City of Lights. But because my allowance (I won’t even call it a salary) was so low, I had to find a really cheap place to put up. Fortunately, a friend who was studying in Paris wanted to go off gallivanting across Eastern Europe for the summer, and didn’t want to lose the lease on her pad. I was able to sublet her ridiculously small studio for a song. And while it took me over an hour to commute each way from Rue de la Sante, on the border of the 13th and 14th arrondisements, to Neuilly and back; while the little apartment had no air-conditioning; and while I could literally walk across the studio with 3 steps; I was a happy camper. Hey, what guy wouldn’t be thrilled to be in Paris on his own for 10 weeks?
Once I arrived and took over the studio, I found another reason to love my new home. There was a cute little patisserie on the ground floor of my apartment building. There’s something simply special about walking out of one’s home every morning knowing that just a few moments away, you’re going to be engulfed in the rich smells of freshly baked breads and pastries. More often than not, I started my morning with a still warm, buttery and oh-so-good croissant. On days that I didn’t have to work, I’d explore Paris, stopping (as one does) at every patisserie I’d chance upon, if only to inhale the fabulous perfume that a store full of French breads and pastries creates.
Recently, and totally by chance, my always hungry wife S and I discovered the cutest little patisserie, right here in Singapore. Housed in a tiny shopfront on MacKenzie Road, diagonally opposite the recently revived Rex Cinema, Mirabelle is a godsend. The young owner-bakers make and sell what I consider to be the best ham and cheese croissants, and the best frangipane croissants, I have ever had in Singapore.