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.
I have to admit I’m pretty darn addicted. Which isn’t good for someone who clearly needs to shed a few pounds. But one taste of either of these two delectable pastries and all thoughts of healthy living are forgotten. Mirabelle’s croissants are buttery, rich, crisp and full of flavour. They are, quite simply, heaven in your mouth. The ham and cheese one is bursting with good quality ham and a rich, strong, lovely cheese. I honestly don’t know how these ladies manage their food costs — with the quality of ingredients they are using, I’d expect to pay more for this good a ham and cheese croissant. The frangipane (sweet almond) croissant is equally decadent. Every mouthful is a symphony of flavour and texture. The normal croissants, I should say, are equally stunning.
Mirabelle, despite its tiny size, offers quite the range of products. There are the traditional French breads and pastries, as well as more rustic loaves and buns. There are also more local, or more Asian, products. Last week, we tasted a sweet potato bun that was super-rich and really quite fabulous. S is also very taken with the bamboo charcoal buns they’ve just recently started to sell. We loved them so much, both visually and flavour-wise, we couldn’t resist using them for the photo accompanying this post. The one in the foreground is filled with red bean paste. The one behind is filled with custard.
Since discovering Mirabelle, we’ve been unable to get through a week without stopping by at least once, if not twice, to pick up some bread, a couple of croissants and some other delicious snacks. Now, if only I could convince them to open up next door to my house…
27 MacKenzie Road
Open Monday – Saturaday, 745am – 730pm