Add: 1/F Ferguson Lane, 378 Wu Kang Road, Shanghai 武康路378号，武康庭1楼
Hours: Mon-Thur 7:00am-8:00pm, Fri-Sun 7:00am-10:00pm
Price: [pastry] RMB20-45; [viennoiserie] RMB14-20; [coffee] RMB30-40
Visited: February 2016
Will return: Yes
Unless you go early in the morning or late in the evening, there is guaranteed to be a line outside Farine, the famed French bakery on Wu Kang Road by Franck Pécol. I went on a Saturday afternoon – probably the busiest time possible – and waited in line for about 30 minutes. But trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Farine (which means “flour” in French) imports most of their ingredients – including flour – from France. Just look at that gorgeous display.
Since it was a particularly warm Saturday for February, the terrace was packed with people enjoying the afternoon sun. I was lucky enough to find a spot on the bench and join them.
A simple Choux à la Crème (20) done well is truly a delight. The cream was just bursting with the taste of vanilla.
Something lemony and something chocolaty.
I usually prefer richer desserts, but I make an exception for lemon. The more acidic it is, the better. Farine’s Passion Fruit and Lemon Tart (35) has now joined the Lemon Pot at Hakkasan, the Lemon & Lemon Tart at Mr & Mrs Bund, and the lemon palette cleanser at Restaurant Story in London on my list of favorite lemon desserts. The passion fruit and lemon blended so very well together, resulting in a flavor that was pure but far from boring.
The Chocolate Caramel Tart (40) was exactly what an excellent chocolate tart should taste like. Rich, chocolaty, and not too sweet. The layer of caramel underneath the chocolate ganache was nutty and delicious. Pure decadence in every bite. Personally I would have loved a touch of salt in this, but then I am always partial to salted chocolate and salted caramel. So for me, the Millionaire Tart at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London remains my favorite chocolate tart, but this one is a close second.
I took home a Sugar Brioche (16), which had a delightful texture, but wasn’t quite rich or sweet enough for me. I still prefer the ones at The Little Mermaid. On the other hand, I had their Croissant (14) and Pain au Chocolat (18) on my previous visits, and they were some of the best viennoiseries I’ve had in the city.
I also ordered a latte, but a few minutes later the barista informed me that their coffee machine was acting up. Apologizing profusely, he gave me not only a refund but also a voucher for a free coffee on my next visit (which will be in the very near future).