On a mission to satisfy her sweet tooth, Marissa Carruthers heads to La Patisserie by Christophe. Photograph by Conor Wall.
Behind a large glass counter sit row after row of tempting treats, enough to send a lethal sugar rush through the veins of even the most hardened sweet lover. Plump éclairs, draped in a thick layer of chocolate and oozing fresh cream, sit next to a rainbow of macaroons, freshly baked breads and pastries, all waiting to be devoured.
Welcome to La Patisserie by Christophe, an elegant café, patisserie and bakery on Street 178 that is serving up a sumptuous selection of tasty treats. Created by Frenchman Christophe Le Cardinal, the shop opened its doors in April, with customers now clamouring for a bite of the action.
“My dream has always been to have a place dedicated to selling my pastries and desserts,” the pastry chef says. “Pastry is my passion and what I love doing, so to be able to do this here in Cambodia is an amazing achievement for me.”
Since moving to Cambodia four years ago, the talented chef has cooked up a storm in the kitchen by impressing high-end customers at the capital’s classy La Residence restaurant. Previously, he honed his skills working in a series of luxury restaurants and hotels in Switzerland and Holland after studying for six years in Brittany, France.
“I love making pastries, that is definitely my favourite thing, and I try to be creative and produce a range of pastries in many different flavours to cater for the different tastes in Phnom Penh,” Le Cardinal adds, as he lovingly looks over at his carefully crafted creations.
The chef enjoys tantalising taste buds with his creations, and knows how to push boundaries by experimenting with a series of flavours that are working a treat with clients. He offers éclairs ($3) in coffee, caramel, green tea and citron-framboise flavours. Macaroons ($0.75 each) come in chocolate, banana, pistachio, raspberry, durian and passion fruit, and generous portions of delectably delicious cakes range from black forest gateaux to caramel and pineapple flavoured cheese cakes ($3.50).
But it is millefeuille — puff pastry and vanilla cream — that is Le Cardinal’s signature dish. “This is my favourite thing to make and when people here talk about millefeuille, they tend to think of me. It really is what I’m known for,” he says.
Le Cardinal has grand plans to expand his clientele further afield than the patisserie, which boasts a fresh and warm decor with a few tables to seat diners, and the venues he sells his cakes at, which include La Residence and Le Safron restaurants and White Mansion hotel.
“I would love to share my food with more of Phnom Penh,” he says.