Founded by two pastry chefs who’ve risen through the ranks from humble beginnings in the rough neighbourhood of Seine-Saint-Denis (department 93) on the outskirts of Paris, Town 93 Café is a causal French bistro named after the chefs’ home turf. Decorated with pops of street art, reclaimed wood and a hefty dose of KAWS artwork, the interior of the café reflects the edgy vibe of the chefs’ home town.
Lionel Bodros, the former executive pastry chef at three-Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong and winner of the 2010/2011 Best Pastry Chef of the Year award in Greece, shares the kitchen with Chef Frédéric Desprès, former executive pastry chef at three-starred Epicure at Le Bristol Paris and Pierre Hermé Paris in Macau. Having known each other for much of their lives, their camaraderie comes full circle at Town 93, where they bring their Michelin techniques to a more down-to-earth menu featuring freshly baked French pastries, fanciful cakes, all-day breakfast dishes, sandwiches, pastas and more. The pastry selection changes every two weeks to reflect the seasonality of ingredients.
The café offers breakfast, lunch and teatime snacks and is open from Tuesday–Saturday, 9am–6pm.
We arrived for a very early dinner and were able to sneak in a savoury bite to eat before closing time. The eggs Benedict ($152) is a delightful composition of crispy rashers of bacon, fluffy English muffin, velvety poached eggs and a refreshing mesclun salad. The highlight of the dish is the homemade hollandaise sauce, which is exceptionally light and infused with the uplifting flavour of yuzu.
A selection of sweet treats kept us happily satiated, ranging from the Mont Blanc ($62) topped with silky chestnut purée and an incredibly light yet flavourful Chantilly cream to Chef Bodros’ favourite dessert of lemon tart ($62). This tart takes hours to perfect – just the lemon confit alone involves three hours of slow simmering, and that’s only one component! We also couldn’t figure out how the almond crunch inside the Mont Blanc maintains its very crisp texture despite being buried under an avalanche of cream – pure alchemy! Financiers ($28 each), canelés ($28 each) and an assortment of cookies and brittles kept the sweet euphoria going.
The millefeuille à la minute ($98) is not just a dessert but a spectacle. Arriving at the table “naked” in its pure form of crème légère piped between crisp layers of flaky puff pastry, the chocolate-laced millefeuille is given an extra sprinkling of star power with a huge chocolate truffle shaved tableside. Chocolate sauce is then drizzled over for even more indulgence.
What happens when two top pastry chefs run the main kitchen? Every dish is crafted with scientific precision. Town 93 Café is a spot to enjoy Michelin-quality pastries without the exhaustive tasting menu that’s usually involved, and we will certainly be back to sample more savoury items on the main menu. There are quite a few stairs to walk up before you get to the venue, but think of them as atonement for all the delicious treats that await.
Town 93 Café
1/F, Hong Kong House, 17–19 Wellington Street, Central, 9317 1023 (WhatsApp)
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.