Nothing entices my nose more than the smell of something really fragrant. Usually I’m drawn by the scent of broths or grilled meat but this time I’m drawn by the warm scent of bread baking inside an oven. Usually I’d get these cravings when I pass by old pandesal shops in our area. Hence, I found it strange that I was drifting towards a little outside the row of restaurants in Greenbelt 5. The shop’s name was Le Petit Artisan, a humble yet proud name for some of the best French breads in Manila.
I’m no French bread connoisseur but I must confess that I love the French baguette. I love the crispness of the crust and the chewiness of the bread. One of my friends said that the ancien baguettes were drier compared to the moderne baguettes. I honestly don’t know the difference of either but as a personal preference, I drift towards those chewy ones.
I was very surprised to see a new bakery in Greenbelt which I found oddly strange considering how that area’s lined with bars and restaurants. We usually find these bakeries beside groceries or in tucked residential areas in the metro. Of course, the owner was brave enough to put his bakery down beside these guys. He’s quite confident that his bread can compete with the others.
The choices in Le Petit Artisan are still modest, containing only croissants, sourdough, some loaves, and of course, baguettes. Few as they were, they were a very bold choices as I know that most bakeries are judged not by their specialty alone but also with their expertise in baking the most basic of breads. And to test this new bakery, I bought some basics: the plain croissant and the baguette.
Let’s just say, they passed with flying colors. Okay. No. They were bloody amazing.
I have never tasted a croissant so flaky and moist without being too soggy or buttery. Nor have I tasted a baguette so chewy and tasty. I was thinking of eating these breads when I get home but I ended up finishing my croissant and almost half of my baguette in the bakery. It was that good. And the owner, who was amusingly talking to his staff in Tagalog, was saying that this is just the beginning for Le Petit Artisan. Eventually they’ll have sandwiches, more flavors for their croissants, more bread, and a sitting area where guests could enjoy their tea and pastries. What surprised me was how the prices were competitive to the other French bakeries around Manila and yet the quality is entirely different.
We asked the owner why the bread was so good and he said that he used nothing but the freshest ingredients, using real French baking techniques, without compromising the ingredients by adding additives or extra oil or butter. The bread is made with meticulous care that not one is short of perfection. And I couldn’t help but agree. With all the crumbs around my lips, I swear that this is one bakery you should try if you’re stopping by Greenbelt 5.