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Sep 1, 2009 05:27 AM

La Pâtisserie des rêves par Philippe Conticini

So, Conticini opened his new shop rue du Bac to the public today.
Being close to the shop, I went around 1pm. Unfortunately it was too late as most of the individual cakes were already gone. I had already eaten anyway so I just got a tarte Tatin. It was perfectly delicious, with a very thick layer of very soft apples that almost melted in the mouth, placed on a fantastic and fresh puff pastry. They also give you a (relatively) big pot of whipped mascarpone which has hints of lemon and vanilla. Very good, once again.
As a Norman, I may prefer the tarte Tatin with more caramelized apples, but regardless on how it should be named, this first taste of Conticini's pastry was very promising. I'll go back later this week to sample a broader range of what he has to offer.

The shop in itself is quite original. No big display with cakes aligned next to each other. Instead, there's a round table in the center of the shop, and one sample of each cake is displayed under glass bells. The cakes are ordered to the staff, and then come directly out of the kitchen.

It's expensive, of course (it's Paris, its rue du Bac, it's a reknown chef) but not as much as I feared: around 4,5EUR-5EUR for individual ones and around 25EUR for what probably are 6-person cakes.

Conticini was actually here. He was delighted about how much he sold, and chatted with the customers.

I also took the leaflet with me, so if anyone wants to know what is offered at the shop, I can write the list down!

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  1. Haha, I beat you there! And still you posted before me.

    In my opinion, you got the best with the Tatin. The whipped mascarpone with it is with lime, I think. It is very different from a traditional tatin, or from the one Conticini used to have at Peltier, and I think it works magically with the cream.

    The next best think, maybe even better, was the Paris-Brest. It had nothing special (except maybe the concentrated praliné in the middle) but was impossible for me not to finish.

    I also tasted the chocolate éclair, the lemon meringue tart, the kouign-amann and two pastries called "Le Pain Gourmand à la vanille" and "la Folie", a brioche feuilletée that has a brilliant bergamot custard, but too little of it.

    Honestly, I think of Conticini as a major genius, and while that tasting was very good, it felt short of my expectations. I'll be back for the Paris Brest and the Saint Honoré, but that's it.

    Also I really did not think it was expensive -- it's the same price as any average bakery in town, and much classier. Four cakes and three viennese pastries cost me 25e, fancy packaging included.

    Speaking of which, one major innnovation in the packaging: they have little bits holding the cakes inside the box!

    I'll have some pics for you in a few minutes.

    9 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        Oh my word! You are making me very hungry. Those pictures are SO descriptive.

        1. re: ChefJune

          It does kick the ass of Financier.

          1. re: souphie

            It probably kicks the a$$ of every patisserie in New York. We're not known for great cakes! (especially since Payard closed).

            1. re: souphie

              Never felt that Financier had an ass to be kicked, very meh.

              1. re: souphie

                Financier, sad.
                Genin, yes, how close is Conticini to it?
                That is a good bar to use. Or maybe the bar to use.

            2. re: souphie

              Oh my God, this looks just too good.

              However, I hope he makes tartes au citron non meringuées!

            3. re: souphie

              I knew you would probably have bought half of the store this morning!
              I was particularly angry with our CEO planning a lunch with us on that particular day, as I would have loved getting there earlier and trying other things, but your comment on being disappointed makes me regret it a bit less.

            4. Thank you both. I really appreciate how you have suffered to get us the latest information on La Pâtisserie des rêves par Philippe Conticini.

              2 Replies
                1. re: souphie

                  My heart bleeds for you. You have such tough service.

              1. I missed it, and I was in rue du Bac yesterday as well...!
                I will visit later this week - sounds great.

                6 Replies
                1. re: PhilD

                  You know what else is really good? Des Gateaux et du Pain:

                  1. re: souphie

                    I think I'll have to go back to this place one day, because I went once to try many different things and it was, well... not bad but very average to my taste: either overly complicated or too sweet, and the bread (baguette) wasn't good.

                    1. re: olivierb

                      Their pastry are indeed too sweet for me. But it should not be a problem for the Hermé fan, as this is not as sweet.

                      You know what else is better? Génin

                      1. re: souphie

                        I ate several of their tarts and other pastries in July and was very much impressed. Indeed, this was my favorite shop, whereas last year Pain du Sucre was my preference. Also, I think their pastries are a lot less sweet than Gerard Mulot or Secco.

                        1. re: souphie

                          <You know what else is better? Génin>

                          Isn't he the Chocolate Maestro?

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            He's the everything maestro, as far as I'm concerned!

                  2. We popped in yesterday. My advice is don't go yet. It was very crowded and lots of cakes are not available, they have tempting samples under the domes but our server explained these are not on sale yet and they would not be in stock for week, thus we settled for our third choice a orange tart. It was good, a fine pastry with a orange creme brulee filling.

                    I thought the serving system was poor. Clearly a case of form over function. A server takes your order on a handheld, you pay another person, a third selects the cake from the storeroom, and a fourth gets and packs the cake. This isn't a quick process.

                    But my main beef is the packaging. One small tart arrived in a large box, this was then placed in a thick glossy cardboard carrier bag (far better quality that Hermes!), we then got two sets of picnic cutlery (high quality plastic knife, fork and spoon) and two linen like napkins. I love good packaging, I love high quality, I love great service and attention to detail. But I abhor waste, and this was wasteful, pretentious and not necessary.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: PhilD

                      I agree that service is poor, but I think the reason it's so long is because they actually make your cake on order. If not, they're even worse than I think.

                      I disagree about your assessment of the packaging: it's the first time I get pastry that don't arrive somewhat crushed at my home, so I find it pretty efficient. The disposable fabric towels are indeed a waste, but they're cute.

                      1. re: souphie

                        I was peeking into the back of the shop and they had trays of cakes ready to go, thus I don't think they are made to order.

                          1. re: souphie

                            Yup, that's only fridges and one guy packing the cake.
                            Tried the Eclair au Café today. OK, it's good, but not much more. I'll still go with a Génin éclair every day.

                            1. re: olivierb

                              We're stopping in Paris in December on the way back from Egypt. One whole day will be devoted to food shopping. Could anyone please tell us the current hours of operation at La Patisserie des Reves? I want to make sure we get there at the right time to snatch up some of these delicious pastries.

                              1. re: Aleta

                                Conticini was on the news on France 2 channel last night making a millefeuille. I guess I just have to go to his shop which by the way I thought looked very stylish. Otherwise, I'll be vising le Salon du Chocolat this coming week. Can't wait.

                                1. re: Dodo

                                  Beware that he only does millefeuille on sundays. And yes, all food lovers have to go at least once, they're likely to go again, even if, like me, they have reservations.

                                  1. re: souphie

                                    I've now tried most of their pastries, and, to be honest, if it wasn't so convenient for me to go there, I don't think I would go back often.

                                    I find it quite hard to pin down why exactly, but all in all, and while I appreciate the efforts he put into revisiting some timeless classics, I'd say Conticini pastry essentially caters to almost bestial cravings. When I don't have them, I can't help being underwhelmed.

                                    Then again I'm a Genin fanboy, and they could not be more different, apart from the fact they both have a very classical repertoire.

                                    1. re: olivierb

                                      Tried three things, call me a cretin, but took a bite of each and then skipped the rest. On the other hand did you ever look at the perfect zillions of slices in his too sweet tarte tatin,

                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Paris Breakfasts has some superb photos of Conticini's patisseries on her blog (November 18, 2009).

                                        1. re: Dodo

                                          Those saleswomen are really something.

                    2. Today I tried their new coffee moka. It was utter perfection, pure classicism. Don't go if you're not hungry. But man, that was awesome. That and the Paris-Brest, maybe the sunday millefeuille and the tarte tatin -- they're just perfect.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: souphie

                        I really want to go to Patisserie des reves - but is it closed in August?

                        1. re: yvonnez

                          We should call them and ask (not today, since this is monday). But my guess would be yes because 1- They have two store and 2- It's their first year.

                          1. re: souphie

                            If it's any clue, on the website, there is a list of fruits of each month, and every month is represented except August!

                        2. re: souphie

                          Haven't had the chance (or, to put it bluntly, did not bother) to try the millefeuille there. How is it exactly?
                          I think I had gone tired of the shop after going several times a week until I tried everything, but maybe it's time for me to go back!

                          1. re: olivierb

                            It's become much better than at opening time. The chausson aux pommes, the clafoutis, the moka, are true musts. The brioche feuilletée is pretty delicious. The Paris-Brest is irresisitible but I owe it to the truth to recognize that their pate à chou is not at the highest standard (unlike Génin, héhé). I recommend eating the filling, with a spoon. It's actually much better. As for fruit tarts, this was never what you'd go to Conticini for.

                            1. re: souphie

                              Good to hear! But did you try the millefeuille?
                              Re: eating the Paris Brest filling with a spoon, I don't know if that's really how I want to enjoy Conticini's pastry. I see it more like something that caters to certain cravings, like: "me hungry, me want (good) pastry, lots of it". Oops, now I've said it...