The latest addition to the Soho boutique scene is 126 Grammes. But don’t be mistaken – it’s not yet another store selling clothes or jewellery… instead, it’s a cute and cosy boutique of choux pastry that transports you to the picturesque streets of Paris!
126 Grammes’ French owners, Sandra and Yossi, have lived in Hong Kong for many years, bonding over their mutual love for food. Even though the F&B industry was unknown territory to them, they decided to bring their labour of love to HK and fill a gap we didn’t even realise we had – choux pastry with a modern twist! Just in case you aren’t sure what choux are, they’re delicate little cream puffs, light golden pastries filled with indulgent crème patissiere (think profiteroles!). 126 Grammes are currently the only choux specialists in Hong Kong… and personally, we’re hoping they open a full-on choux café sometime soon!
Once inside, I promise you will gravitate immediately towards all the beautiful choux lined up in the counter. There are about ten different flavours on display, from traditional classics like chocolate or vanilla, to more unusual varieties like yuzu or green tea – plus an ever-changing weekly surprise flavour (previous specials include black sesame cream with Grand Marnier, milk chocolate and passion fruit, and pistachio crème with sour cherry confit!).
At the back of the store, you can also see the kitchen where all their pastries are made fresh daily following the traditional French recipes (the name 126 Grammes comes from the first batch of pastry dough that Sandra made!); it’s refreshing to see exactly where and how your food is being made.
But now for the most important bit – the taste! The filling of the Trésor (chocolate chou) was rich and sinfully delicious; using divine dark chocolate instead of milk was just the right choice, and resulted in a light bite of heaven (needless to say chocoholic Rach was a BIG fan!). Sandra’s personal favourite is The Bretagne (caramel), and we could see why – a flawless mix of sweet and salty, it was definitely melt-in-your-mouth good.
If you’re more of a fruity gal, then listen up for the next two choux! The Vosges (mango coconut) is sure to be a Hong Kong favourite – filled with luscious mango cream that no mango-lover could resist. If only the coconut flavour were just that little bit stronger, I’d have been transported to tropical paradise. The final chou we tried was the Caron (strawberry ginger), an incredibly fresh combination of sweet summer strawberries with just a kick of ginger on your last bite. We also loved that each choux was topped with a little round ‘beret’ of chocolate (you can get these personalised for parties or gifts), that gave just the right amount of ‘snap’ to the otherwise light and delicate cream puffs.
Surprisingly, after demolishing all those choux, I was still craving more. The choux pastry was soooo light, a crisp exterior and soft interior that can’t be beaten. I could totally polish ten of these in a row without feeling at all guilty – and given how hard it was to pick just one favourite, it might be very easy to do just that!
If these baby pastries aren’t enough to satisfy you, you can even purchase an entire choux cake. 126 Grammes currently offers five types of choux cake and the Paris-Brest on display looked especially amazing.
Just in case you’re scratching your brain for great gifts for any upcoming birthdays, be sure to check out 126 Grammes’ assortment of other French treats too. They’ve scoped out the most delish and unique goodies to bring to HK’s shores, including champagne, jam, sweets, financier biscuits and much more. I was totally eyeing the orangettes (strips of orange peel rolled in sugar) and the riz soufflé au chocolat (chocolate popped rice covered in white chocolate). I mean who can say no to that, right?!
So if you’re ever around Soho and in need of a light bite or want something sweet that’s more original than the standard cupcakes or macarons, stop by 126 Grammes. You’ll be charmed by their lovely interior, then spoiled for choice with their colourful and delish delights. One chou will set you back a slightly pricey $18 but for what may just be the best choux in HK, we reckon it’s worth it… and let’s be honest, you’re probably going to want at least six ($105)!
I know I’ll be back ASAP for some sweet treats, how ‘bout choux?!
126 Grammes G/F, 42 Aberdeen Street, Central
2886 1885 www.126grammes.com