Thursday, 2 October 2014

Pâtisserie Maxime - A little bit of France in the Capital.

As a little girl, I was always fascinated by the beautiful window displays of cakes and bread in Hong Kong bakeries. They obviously got the inspiration from European bakery windows that always seem to be filled with the most pretty bakes. European patisseries and bakeries are like shoe shops - they have this wonderful display of cakes and bakes, of every size and colour. They all look perfect and when one catches your eye, you can't seem to walk away, you have to have it! 
I remember that feeling 5-6 years back, when I went on a short break to Paris with my good friend Heather. I was totally inspired by how skilful these bakers were.

Paris is a wonderful city and I would love to go back again. Full of history, architecture and culture - a sightseeing heaven. Food was not shabby and for the budget we were on, we did pretty damn well in getting pretty decent food. Didn't go in to a McDonald's once!
If you speak french, great! If like me, you chose German instead of French in school, then grab a basic phrase book and take it with you. Learn the basics as the French people would appreciate you trying to speak to them in their native tongue, rather than you SPEAKING, LIKE, YOU, ARE, PATRON-ISING, THEM.

My favourite dish was a Bovine Crepe. My first time trying savoury crepes and my first time trying beef that was not cooked all the way through. I will admit that I panicked slightly inside when I cut through the patty and it was all pink inside but I knew that it would be insulting to ask for it to be cooked all the way through. 
I ate it and I loved it! I never went back to eating well done steak after that.

Bovine Crepe, it doesn't look great but it was real good!

We never visited any bakeries, until the last day while we were on our way to the airport. We walked past this bakery window and everything on display caught my eye and we knew it would be a shame to leave Paris without having sampled their bakes. After devouring the pastries we had bought, I vowed I would return to France one day to explore the different patisseries and macaron shops.

Do I need to, now that the patisserie scene is expanding so rapidly here in the UK? Well, any excuse for a holiday right?

I have recently become unemployed after Dad sold the restaurant. Which has given me more time to work on this blog and figure out what it is I want to do with my life. I told M to look out for vacancies in and around where he worked so I can get a steady income coming through but without the stress of being management.
He text me the very next day, telling me a new patisserie had opened up in Edinburgh and that they were looking for staff. 
Pâtisserie Maxime is the place and I went straight on the internet to see what the requirements are. Fluent in French. 
Damn! Why did I have to take German in school? *sigh*
I was on their website and was fascinated to know more about the place and after reading up about Didier Meyer, I felt the need to pay Pâtisserie Maxime a visit.

Photo Courtesy of Patisserie Maxime

Date of Visit: 1st October 2014

Pâtisserie Maxime is located on Queensferry Street, and just outside their door is a very busy bus stop which is not necessary a bad thing when you may get those who have 5 minutes to spare, pop in to buy a cake and coffee to take home with them. Downfall is that people stand and wait for their bus at the window, so it can be difficult for passers-by to see the beautiful display of cakes and bread they have to offer. Upon approaching the entrance, there were 2 people in the doorway waiting for their bus and we had to excuse ourselves to get through but once inside, I couldn't care less about those two people because what greeted me was just a wonderful selections of sweets, bakes and chocolates. 
The staff behind the counter were very friendly and greeted us with much warmth. A tad different to the slightly cold service I remembered from Paris. 

A great mix of sweet and savoury

An old lady wanted the fruit gateaux from the window but was having difficulty describing it to the barista so I gave a her a hand - can I just volunteer there? 
I was thinking of a fruit tart for my selection, until the lady asked what the Torche Marron was. I remember Michele Roux Jnr eating one and talking about it in France on one of his programmes before and I really wanted to try one - this was my chance. It was meant to be!
We ordered that along with a Framboise Mousse, a Citron Tart and Cappuccinos. 

The seating area is very modern, clean and very comfortable - I was half expecting the chairs to be rock solid but I love how you sink in slightly upon sitting on the chair but you also get that support for the back so there isn't any slouching. The decor is simple and some may say too simple but I like it. It goes well with the style of the shop front and since it's not huge inside the simplistic approach to the decor has made it look much bigger than it actually is.

Torche Marron

From what I remember, a Torche Marron should be whipped cream and Meringue on a tart wrapped in a lovely chestnut puree. 
This was the real deal! The chestnut puree was smooth and had such a wonderful aroma to it that it reminded me of my mum's chestnut cake, although mum's chestnut cake had a good whack of rum in it, of which I'm sure Mary Berry would approve.
The cream gives a nice fresh element to the tart and cuts through the sweetness of the meringue nicely. Mother would approve as she loves her chestnuts and dislikes things that are overly sweet.

Charlotte Framboise 

I wish I could describe what it was like, but someone finished it before I could even have a taste. Here was what M said: "It was so goooood. The mousse was so light and the raspberry flavour was awesome. They had a small disc of sponge inside the mousse to give it texture."
So it must have been tasty. Shame I never got some!

Citron Tart

The base is not your ordinary tart shell, it isn't crispy but it totally works - it was more like a very firm almond sponge, with a thin layer of baked creme pat in the middle, a beautiful dome of lemon creme on top and the side dusted with desiccated coconut. Just divine. The lemon creme was smooth with a nice lemon sharpness to it but not too sharp to make your cheeks suck in. 

Our coffees were made the proper way - no scalded milk - yippee! A strong aroma but not too acidic so was perfectly smooth.

If I have one teeny tiny negative, it would be the hand towel in the toilets. Don't get me wrong, the toilets are super clean and ticks all the boxes for me but when there is a hand towel (like the ones in your own bathroom) in place of disposable hand towels or a hand dryer, it is a slight let down. I have no doubt in my mind that they would change it regularly if it was busy but there is no way in knowing what the previous person had on their hands and if they wiped them with that towel and I go to wipe my hands with that towel...well you get the idea. So that was the only negative I have about the place. [note: 03/10/14 - was notified by Patisserie Maxime that the hand dryer has now been installed! Great news.]

Pâtisserie Maxime is still new but it is fast becoming well known in Edinburgh, for all the right reasons. A clean, modern patisserie with all the beautiful classics (some with a twist) and staff that many coffee shops would be envious of. 
Yes, they speak french - a "bonjour" on arrival, "au revior " upon leaving and "merci" when serving you - why not? They are french and making customers feel like they have walked in to a little patisserie in France is all part of the experience. A wonderful experience that should definitely be kept on. 

I just wanted tip these in to my bag!

I wish Didier Meyer and his wonderful Edinburgh team all the best with Pâtisserie Maxime. Such quality, skill and passion from everyone, you would be a fool to go to any coffee shop other than here.
They do savoury foods like quiches and sandwiches too, that are all freshly made by the team.

I was kicking myself  for forgetting to buy a tube of mini madeleines to take home with me but I am already planning my next trip back there with my mama, so she too can have a little taste of France in Edinburgh.


  1. HI Isa, thx so much for this great article, since then there is a hand dryer in the ladies bathroom. All the best and we hope to see you soon.

    1. That's great news! I have added a little side note to my post so readers will know about it. I will hopefully visit again soon.x


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