Perfectly formed pastries in a rainbow of colours jump out from the shop’s window. Row upon row of éclairs and chouquettes are meticulously displayed with OCD-like precision, they look far too good to eat, and at £5 a pop almost too expensive.
But the Three Michelin Starred chef has transformed the classic French fancy into a masterpiece of colour and flavour, oozing with elegance and delicious crème pâtissière.
Located just minutes from South Kensington station and conveniently opposite the Lycée, it already has a loyal French following; but be warned, for the pick of the crop, get there before school’s out.
Fortunately when I arrive it’s empty and there is a full repertoire to choose from. Despite the urge to demolish them all I opt for two; the highly recommended Tahitian vanilla and pistachio. Having only been open a few weeks the small seating area is not yet furnished so my delicacies are packed for transit.
It has not gone unnoticed by the media that the 31-year-old creator is as aesthetically pleasing as his handiwork. When the amiable sales assistant tells me that Joakim is busy downstairs training staff I try to remain nonchalant; another thing the French do so well.
As if by magic the éclair maestro emerges from the kitchen and I have the privilege of asking him to share with me his personal favourites: the Tahitian vanilla (phew, I’ve chosen well), the classic coffee and the multi-origin chocolate.
Women, he informs me, normally choose the brightly coloured ones such as raspberry, which makes sense; according to psychology professor Andrew Elliot we find men dressed in red more attractive too.
The former Joël Robuchon pastry chef is charming, unpretentious and wears a big smile. Another food fad this may be, but these designer desserts are worth every penny and taste every bit as good as they look.
15 Harrington Road, South Kensington
Opening times: Mon-Fri 7.30am-7pm, Sat & Sun 10am-7pm