Bo-Lo’Gne ボローニャ

Is it me or is baked dough getting more and more expensive? This is the first time I hear there’s a waiting list for a loaf of bread. Really. This is ridiculous, but true! Apparently if you put an order in today, your specially prepared loaf of bread will be ready in about 5-6 days. This phenomenon isn’t exactly news in Japan, where bread really is treated like a designer-slash-fashion item (as with most things in Japan). This is why it is also not surprising that this bakery I’m about to blog about is from – you guessed right – JAPAN! How boring.

But Japan really is making some quality dough, so much so that even a French graphic artist Jean Pierre Dardenne said: “Every time I go back to France, I’m surprised at how mediocre the bread tastes. Tokyo boulangeries have spoiled me.” Ouch. Japan: 5,185,714,371,483. France: 0.

Anyway, this pea-size of an exclusive bakery outlet is located on the slant of Aberdeen Street (between Caine Road and Stauton Street). Its been around for a month or 2 now?

Bo-Lo-Gne on Aberdeen Street

Bo-Lo-Gne on Aberdeen Street

Danish Pastry from Bo-Lo'Gne

Danish Pastry from Bo-Lo'Gne

MY GAWDNESS THIS DANISH BREAD IS SOOO DELICIOUSLY, FLAKELY, BUTTERY AND PASTRY-LY GOOD!!! I ❤ AND EMBRACE THIS BREAD LIKE NO OTHER!!! No. I refuse to describe this piece of bread like it was some culinary marvel and be all pretentious that there’s a big difference between pastry with 64 layers or 128 layers or whatever the magic number is. To me, its one more fold. And to me, its pastry … pastry from a bakery whose name I can’t even pronounce (if its Bologne, then yes, I can pronounce it. Not “Bo-Lo’Gne”. WTF. Kind of sounds like the music I make when I chunder.) Here are some more photos from OpenRice.

The truth is, this pastry is pretty good. Was it the best I’ve ever had? It’s definitely up there in the top 5 best pastry in my books. You can definitely tell they use quality ingredients and spent a lot of time folding (and “caring”, as pastry chef like to call it) the dough as they were preparing it. I do not doubt the passion and dedication they’ve put into making this a great pastry, but … I think there’s bad pastry and there’s good pastry. This is good pastry. End of story. I just don’t understand what the hype is about. Sorry.

Expensive? Yes! Worth it? Debatable. Will I go back, yes definitely. I think it’ll be a great breakfast to wake up to … also if you’re feeling dandily … Danish. HUR.

Here’s the intro to the bakery on their pamphlets and website homepage:

“A legend said that Bologne was the first person who caused the boom of Danish Bread in Japan. Being made in Kyoto, it became popular throughout the entire Japan country and is known as the magical bread. It is made by a unique skill so as to form a beautiful marble pattern, and to become crispy outside and soft inside. Its slightly moistened, sweet flavour is just like the taste of luxury cakes.”

Sugar: HK$18
Chocolate: HK$18
Blueberry: HK$20
Strawberry: HK$20
Marmalade: HK$20

August 26th Edit: I official retract some statements I made earlier. When I first blogged about this joint,  it was a typical case of “bashing it without trying it”-type of thing. So I finally tried the pastry loaf this morning, which took like 4 days from order to pickup. Its like a loaf of white bread, except its was a creamy pastry with hundreds of layers … creamy golden colored, not too buttery which I appreciate very much. I toasted it so that some of the buttery crust becomes slightly crunchy and then I added a fig jam spread. OMG, the best damn thing ever. So soft and chewy. I still think the Danish pastry isn’t much though 🙂 But the loaf is amazing. Must try.

Siu Yeh Rating: 9/10

Note: Photos taken with BlackBerry Curve 8900.

Bo-Lo’Gne ボローニャ
Shop 1, G/F., 41-49
Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2950 0600
Fax: +852 2950 0669
Website: www dot bolognehk dot com

Hokkaido Day 3: Niseko Village People Cafe

We made it a point to dine at Ren’s Pirka for dinner, but due to the popularity of the restaurant (and a 10-seat limit at the teppanyaki table), we had to make a reservation for 5:30PM! And since we’re having an early dinner that night, my brother and I decided to stuff ourselves silly with chocolate at the Village People Cafe for lunch and squeeze in as many hours of skiing / snowboarding as possible, before dinner time.

The fact that Niseko Village People Cafe is “supported” by Royce made it all the more interesting! I’m not sure exactly what “supported” here means, but all the products sold here are Royce products. Remember how I said in my previous posts that Hokkaido prides itself in its dairy products? Well their chocolate, whether it is from Royce or Ishiya (makers of the famed 白い恋人 chocolate cookie sandwiches), is damn good.

Niseko Village People Cafe 1

Niseko Village People Cafe 1

Very simple (almost makeshift) design and decor at the cafe.

Niseko Village People Cafe 2

Niseko Village People Cafe 2

Here’s a collection of Royce goodies found at the Village People Cafe.  They have several other products which I haven’t seen in Hong Kong, but by far the best is still the Nama Chocolate 🙂 And I should be thankful that the Nama is available at CitySuper here in Hongkers.

Preparing My Royce Hot Chocolate

Preparing My Royce Hot Chocolate

Chocolate Menu at Village People Cafe

Chocolate Menu at Village People Cafe

A dream menu for chocolate lovers.

Royce Chocolate Bars

Royce Chocolate Bars

These chocolate bars comes in 4 flavours: White, Creamy Milk, Milk and Black. And you know what these remind me of ? … the makers of Royce chocolate should seriously consider placing 5 golden tickets in these chocolate bars … ship them around the world and invite the 5 rightful holders of the golden ticket to visit their chocolate factory. HA! That would be awesome. Hey, they didn’t have eBay in Charlie’s world.

Nama Chocolate at Village People Cafe in Niseko

Nama Chocolate at Village People Cafe in Niseko

Potechi Crunch Chocolate from Royce

Potechi Crunch Chocolate from Royce

The Potechi Crunch Chocolate had a bit of peanuty taste to it, and as the name suggests, it is quite crunchy. Unfortunately, the Nama Chocolate was just a little bit on the harder side – probably a result of it sitting in the fridge for longer than it should have). The best time to have it is when you take out the chocolate and let it rest for a bit at room temperature … when you put the Nama Chocolate in your mouth, it’ll just melt in your mouth. This together with the Nama chocolate was ¥400.

And finally, this is the reason we visited the cafe …

Hot Chocolate by Royce at Village People Cafe in Niseko

Hot Chocolate by Royce at Village People Cafe in Niseko

This almost tasted like melted chocolate bar. Yep, pretty potent stuff … it was probably a little watered down because otherwise it’d be too thick. Melted chocolate bars for hot chocolate … damn. That was what gave us enough energy to last until 5:30PM without having a proper lunch.

Village People Cafe
Next to Hilton Niseko Village
Foot of the Annipuri Hill

Awfully Chocolate Now Open in Hong Kong!

Ever heard of Awfully Chocolate?

The franchise opened its Hong Kong franchise today over at 2 Hysan Road – the franchise now boasts a presence in 6 cities across Asia; the other 5 being Singapore, Beijing, Jakarta, Shanghai and Taipei.

The have an interesting concept. The store decor has a very minimalist black and white feel to it (as you can see from the photos) and unlike other cake shops, they don’t have a large glass fridge that acts as a showcase for their cakes. Rather, you walk in, order from a list of 3 different types of chocolate cakes (if I remember correctly, the flavors are original chocolate, chocolate & banana and chocolate & rum) and the staff takes them out from a fridge at the back and gives them to you in a box. You cannot buy them by the slice and these awfully chocolaty chocolate cakes are apparently made daily to ensure freshness.

Since every store has a slightly different “feel” to it, without of course straying too far from its basic branding concepts, this particular branch near Lee Garden (and Lee Theatre) included a simple and playful addition to the store front: a very retro 60’s theatre / cinema feel using lightbulbs around its name. Get it … d … do you get it? Get it?

Awfully Chocolate Hong Kong

Awfully Chocolate Hong Kong

Launch Party

Launch Party

Awfully Chocolate Chinese Take-out Boxes

Awfully Chocolate Chinese Take-out Boxes

Guests were served the cakes in slices (the only time they serve them in slices!) in little cliched Western-style Chinese Chow Mien-take away boxes … which works! Its cute and fun … taste good.

Looks like they’re off to a good start! Good luck Awfully Chocolate!

Disclaimer: The author is acquainted with the owner of the Awfully Chocolate Hong Kong franchise.

Awfully Chocolate
2 Hysan Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
www dot awfullychocolate dot com