Wednesday, January 16, 2013

KAFKA Sweets & Gourmandises (卡夫卡)

KAFKA Sweets & Gourmandises is a patisserie officially opened on January 11, 2012.  The chef is trained at the Cordon Bleu and is independently owned.  It's famous for it's French pastries in Macau.  The Chinese name reminded me of a comic book by Yuki Kaori.  More people probably relate the name to Hauki Murakami's book but the name is actually referring to the Czech novelist Franz Kafka.  The patisserie is meaningfully located on "Prague" (布拉格) street.  (The actual street name is Braga, after the Portuguese town, but the Chinese street name is homonymous to Prague in English.)


One thing about Macau if you didn't know already - it is a very small community and our degree of separation here is like two instead of six.  Combined that with the power of social media, local gossips (good and/or bad) spread like forest fire.  A local gem like KAFKA will not stay hidden for long, especially from foodies like my friends and I.  

Do this mean their pastries is out of this world?  Let me put it this way, Macau is not Hong Kong or other major metropolis.  Within Macau, their petits gateaux is top notch and one of the best.  Each cake comes with 4 layers - a base, the cream, a mousse, and a filling.  KAFKA's definitely worth a visit.  Is it worth it to queue for hours?  I will let you wager for yourself.  Waiting in line is never my thing.

My first visit to KAKFA was on February 4, 2012.  (I don't have perfect memory, the time stamps on my pictures did.)  We arrived 3pm-ish and took the last table.  The decor is bright, minimalistic, and inviting.  Even though the cafe has only been opened for less than a month, it has gathered some die-hard devotees.  In fact, my friend has already been there 3 consecutive weekends. 

We ordered the Tsujiri (都路里) and the Scent of Burgundy (勃根地滋味).  For green tea lovers, the Tsujiri is a good choice.  You can taste the macha but it's not overpowering and the red bean paste filling gives the whole cake a nice balance.  Plus, how often do you find green tea used in French pastries?  The Scent of Burgundy is on the acidic side but even I was surprised how much I enjoyed the combination of fruitiness from the black currant and green apple.

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We also ordered the Strawberry Honey Toast (士多啤梨蜜糖吐司), Spaghetti Carbonara (卡邦拿意大利麵) (my friend didn't eat lunch yet), tea (Wedding Imperial from Mariage Freres), and a cappuccino.  The toast is tasty and much better compared to the one from P___ (another cafe at the AIA tower).  I also liked how the tea didn't come with any tea bags or tea leaves - that way, your tea will taste just right from start to finish.

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I love how each individual toast is all toasted and dusted in sugar.

I returned later the same month on a weekday (there was a line but not horrible) and tried some of their other cakes.  This time we ordered the Waltz for Raspberry (覆盆子圓舞曲), the Chocolate Honey Toast (黑朱古力蜜糖吐司), more tea for me, a latte, and a caramel macchiato (焦糖瑪琪朵).

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The Waltz Raspberry is too on the acidic side.  Valrhona chocolate is used and the base tasted almost like a brownie - rich, dense and sweet. Another good executive on the classic and the sweet and sour is balanced.  The chocolate toast is fully loaded with chocolate, too sweet for me but to each his own.

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look at how much thought they have put into the whole "kafka" theme
the Czech word for jackdaw is "kavka"
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My third visit to Kafka was on a weekday during lunch.  This time we ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara, Gloomy Sunday (憂鬱星期天) and the Scent of Burgundy.  I had a bite of the spaghetti the last time my friend ordered it and fell in love with it.  I prefer my pasta al dente and this was cooked perfectly and the creme sauce is also excellent.  The portion size is really small though.  When my friend picked Gloomy Sunday, I was hesitant as it looks too sweet from the outside.  Luckily, the inside is a passion fruit creme which helped to cut down the sweetness from the chocolate.  It's also a nice contrast to the crispy chocolate.

From "濠遊生活", click here.
From "Chocolate muimui, click here.

(Note: I was so rushed on my last visit I couldn't even get an iPhone picture.  Photo courtesy of other bloggers.  No copyright infringement intended.)

The quality of the cakes is very consistent.  However, service is slow and has not improved much since my first.  Kafka is considerably understaffed due to its unexpected (?) popularity and the labor market is tight especially in the F&B industry.  At least all of their staff are local and speaks native Cantonese.  However, this is not the place to go for an express weekday lunch.  Like all French food, you need the time to savor the experience.

I haven't had the chance to go back since (mostly because I don't want to wait in line and they are first come, first serve) but I heard a lot of new cakes have been introduced.  Another visit is due soon.

KAFKA Sweets & Gourmandises (卡夫卡)
Rue de Braga No. 152 (氹仔布拉格街152號)
Tel: (853) 2882 0086
Open 1:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Find them on Facebook

Disclaimer:  Some of my friends know the chef, I don't.  I also paid for all my food.

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