Happiness comes in many forms, and today, happiness takes on the shape of layers of puff pastries, custard, and a name that we sometimes struggle to pronounce. That’s right, we’re talking about mille-feuille!
Traditionally composed of three layers of puff pastry with layers of cream in-between, a mille-feuille is a French dessert that is similar to the Italian Napoleon cake. Here in Hong Kong, the distinction between the two can sometimes be blurred, but as long as the dessert has the perfect ratio of crunchiness and sweetness, we are happy to include it in this round-up. Which begs the question: What is the best way to cut a mille-feuille?
Butterfly Pâtisserie is arguably our favourite place in Rosewood Hong Kong—besides their Instagrammable toilets. Classic desserts reinvented with unique creative flairs, such as the Tahitian vanilla mille-feuille ($88), an unusual creation presented on its side featuring layers of non-traditional baked puff pastry interspersed with unctuous Tahitian vanilla cream filling. You can also have a large Tahitian vanilla mille-feuille (starting from $358) as a cake for celebrations. The vanilla cream has just the right amount of sweetness and the rich vanilla flavour always reels you back in for more.
Butterfly Pâtisserie, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3891 8888
Café Life is a boutique café presented in the style of a Japanese pâtisserie. Its lavish baked goods have made them a household name because of the extravagant ingredients used, such as a mountain of Muscat grapes or whole Japanese peaches. With every seasonal ingredient they feature, they also incorporate it into their mille-feuilles, such as the Japanese strawberry mille-feuille or the chestnut black currant mille-feuille.
Belon is a neo-Parisian bistro showcasing elegant, French-rooted cooking. Acclaimed chef Matthew Kirkley runs the restaurant under the motto of cooking “whatever he likes as long as it is inherently excellent,” which we can definitely see and feel in his mikan mille-feuille, which fuses satsuma mandarin with vanilla. The airy layers of pastry are the real highlight.
Belon, 1/F, 1–5 Elgin Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 2152 2872
As the name suggests, La Pâtisserie des Idées is a place of creativity. The chef gained his experience in France and Japan, so he likes to combine characteristics of different cultures into his sweet creations. The mille-feuille ($48)—one of the crispiest we have ever sunk our teeth into—comes either with popular Madagascar vanilla pastry cream, Uji Matcha pastry cream, or coffee pastry cream. If you would like to gorge on a whole mille-feuille cake (starting from $240), there are two additional flavours to choose from: strawberry and hazelnut, taking the mille-feuille to the next level.
La Pâtisserie des Idées, Shop 224, 2/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 9282 6827
With proud roots in Hong Kong since 1928, The Peninsula has become an icon in the world of travel and hospitality. Likewise, the Peninsula Boutique has been through the ages, first as a grocery store and now a boutique store for the hotel’s signature sweets, tea, and souvenirs. Its mille-feuille ($65) can be enjoyed as a slice or a whole cake ($498). The caramelised puff pastry is filled with delightful Madagascar vanilla cream and Tahitian vanilla gel, all made with the confidence of long-standing tradition and love.
The Peninsula, 22 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2696 6969
Lady M may be most famous for its mille-crêpe cakes, but have you tried the strawberry mille-feuille (starting from $62)? Made with literally a thousand layers, you can slice all the way through and find perfect folds of delicate, flaky puff pastry and fresh whipped cream with a just hint of kirsch (brandy). Between the layers of puff pastry, you will also taste the irresistible sponge cake and subtle slips of strawberry jam and fresh strawberries tucked between the cream.
A celebrity amongst cake shops in Hong Kong, the Mandarin Cake Shop also has an extensive selection of high-quality baked goods. Its head chef was awarded the title of Pastry Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit in 2017, so you know you are in for a real treat. Its vanilla mille-feuille ($388) is made with two layers of vanilla diplomat cream and three layers of caramelised puff pastry, all packed together to give you the most satisfying bite.
The Mandarin Cake Shop, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central | (+852) 2825 4008
Our favourite cake shop that reminds us of our childhood, Zoë has been around since 2002, sharing its passions for pastry and perfection with everyone. The owners occasionally even experiment with different ideas and sell their pastry creations in-store. 1459 ($43) is their rendition of the mille-feuille, made up of three layers of puff pastry and vanilla custard filling in-between.
Having accumulated 40 years of pastry experience, Tony Wong is a bit of a celebrity in the world of pâtisserie, having published numerous cookbooks and appearing on several television shows. He constantly challenges his creativity with creations such as the mango Napoleon ($54), made with fresh mango mixed with vanilla custard cream and layers of puff pastry. And finally, our question answered: We find that it is so much easier to cut it if the mille-feuille is on its side!