Unlike donuts which are now practically everywhere (think Dunkin’ Donut and Mister Donut hubs), French macarons are, weight by weight, one of the most hard-to-find and expensive food yet people are still going for them! Each piece costs PHp 50++ and you only get to have a max of 3-4 bites until finishing off the entire thin, flavorful meringue cookie sandwiched with some kind of filling.
So why the macaron craze? Bakeries put so much effort in packaging and designing macarons that these beauties come out as utterly gorgeous and delicious displayed in shops and in boxes. As a result, love on both the visual and palatable elements about these confections has been developed.
I’ve tried macarons by TWG Tea Salon and Boutique in Greenbelt 5, Makati, Tous Les Jours in Mall of Asia, Pasay and The French Baker before and undoubtedly, I thought TWG macarons are the best! Another contending macaron maker is Chez Karine Bakery, which my friends all over Instagram go gaga over. They promote it with pictures and captions saying that this bakery’s macarons have a chewier bite than other regular crispy French biscuits in Manila.
Last Saturday, out from lunch with my friends, we decided to continue our girl talk in Chez Karine Bakery located in the same aisle as Fez Gastrobar in Serendra area and find out if Chez Karine’s macarons would seal the deal, break the record and indeed win over my love for TWG’s.
Aside from macarons, Chez Karine patisserie offers high quality, specialty coffee and tea and other pastries like cakes, royal pudding, panna cotta, cookies and honey toast all inspired by Asian and American flavors with fresh and natural ingredients.
Review of Chez Karine Bakery (Serendra, BGC, Taguig City)
The space is limited with less than 10 chairs available for the long table across the counter. Everything on display was appetizing, particularly if you have a sweet tooth. Interior design was minimalistic and there were no frills on the backsplash other than the list of prices and items on the menu. Outside, three tables with four chairs each can be occupied by guests who want to chill out and stay longer. But most of Chez Karine’s customers choose to leave after getting boxes of orders here.
Staffs were always inside the counter, so I can’t say more about service on this one. Anyway, I would give an all-star perfect rating as they provided good assistance in suggesting preferences and preparing orders. They were quick on their feet, too, so long lines are manageable.
Chez Karine’s macarons come in many flavors, each at PHp 50. Since we couldn’t try every one, we chose six we thought were sufficient to represent:
- Salted Caramel – When asked, the staff said that salted caramel is one of their best-sellers. So without question, we added it to our order and were not disappointed. There’s a tiny hint of salt mixed with caramel resulting to a bittersweet divine taste.
- Mint Chocolate – With back-to-back fillings of mint and chocolate, this was the one I enjoyed most! Mint and chocolate must be in my blood, so naturally when I put these together I thought they were amazing. 😀
- Earl Grey – Filled with earl grey milk chocolate ganache, this macaron was among the best we had. It was so good that it should be able to get anyone to come out of hiding.
- Speculoos – Speculoos was a name that’s quite hard to remember but the taste was really unforgettable. It was buttery and tasted like a vanilla-based gingerbread cookie.
- Matcha Green Tea – This can be the ultimate macaron that would ruin my diet. I can eat ’em all day! This green tea flavored macaron tasted somewhat like Starbucks’ green tea latte. ♡
- Maple Bacon – Though it was okay, this was the flavor we all least liked. It tasted like a breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.
All in all, the cookie surface was smooth, without bumps and bubbles (as you can see in the picture below). There were no large air bubbles or irregular empty pockets either. Although the shell of the macaron was thin, it did not easily shatter. The macarons were not as super chewy as expected but just fine. One bite gave way to a tender and moist (not soggy or wet) interior. Eating was clean; the filling did not squish out and didn’t leave any residue on the teeth (yes, I’m concerned and conscious of this because of my braces).
In terms of flavor, Chez Karine’s macarons were sweet but not to the point where the original flavor is already masked; they didn’t coy sweetness forming a lump in the back of your throat. They were true to whatever the name of the flavor literally spell.
After gaining fuzzy happiness from eating macarons, we tried the Muscovado Royal Pudding (PHp 100), a soft set custard pudding with dark caramel at the bottom. This royal pudding had a smooth texture, almost the “melt-in-your-mouth” type, but it was just a bit disheartening that the taste was not anything spectacular. If you’re familiar with leche flan, then you’d know exactly how this pudding tastes. Only key takeaway was this cute bottle that can be reused at home! 😀
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
The reason why these are costly may be that they are notoriously difficult to make and to perfect. I understand that there’s a lot of patience required, as well as planning and precision. Almost, the presentation must be as good as the flavor.
Even so, paying PHp 50 for one macaron is, I think, too much. Same goes for PHp 100 for a tiny jar of pudding of ordinary caliber that doesn’t make enough justice to the price tag. In the end, I wasn’t that convinced that Chez Karine’s macarons are better than TWG Tea’s. I guess I’m still sticking to my first love.
Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Friday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 11:00 pm