October 20, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Fauchon Beirut, The Story of an Éclair (Restaurant Closed)

You know how rumors surface every once in a while about a place and of course I get the sudden need to go get some answers. A while ago there were rumors about macarons of Laduree Beirut, today, rumors are focused on Fauchon. Let's see...
With some friends I headed down to check things out personally while visiting Fauchon, Saifi, Beirut. I am a fan of Fauchon and I think you have already noticed this by reading my news and continuous mentions about their goodies distributed onboard AirFrance as well as their creative special edition releases all around the world like their Lacoste special edition, Pantone colors and even more their sophisticated flavors have seen the light on the market this year.
An éclair is an oblong pastry made with choux dough filled with a cream and topped with icing. The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry then is filled with a vanilla-, coffee- or chocolate-flavored custard (crème pâtissière), or with whipped cream, or chiboust cream; and then iced with fondant icing. Other fillings include pistachio- and rum-flavored custard, fruit-flavored` fillings, or chestnut purée. The icing is sometimes caramel, in which case the dessert may be called a bâton de Jacob.
The place described:
  • The place is now smaller than before with Monop' by Monoprix taking a chunk of the original large shop
  • Walls are shining and covered in gold adding a touch of luxury
  • The facades are different than before or the place has been lit differently as the inner space doesn't feel and look claustrophobic anymore with its pinkish coloring
  • Facing the entrance, behind the display fridge, an appealing collection of bread opens your appetite
  • A long display area is filled with colored cakes from different shapes
  • Even the restrooms follows the place's ambiance with a golden touch
  • A nicely finished interior with black and white chairs around square tables
  • To the right, the shop sells many of Fauchon's products from cakes, chocolates, biscuits and spirituals
The menu sections:
  • Les Petits-Dejeuners
  • Les Sandwiches
  • Les Entrees Froides
  • Les Salades
  • Les Boissons
  • Les Desserts
  • Les Jus de Sante
On the menu, you have the choice between two kinds of eclairs, the Eclairs Fauchon for 5,000L.L and Eclairs Chocolat or Golden Luxury 6,000L.L.
We ordered them all:
  • Joconde: La Joconde is a signature eclair produced by Fauchon which has the Mona Lisa eyes printed on a milk chocolate decorative layer. This eclair constitutes of milk chocolate with almond taste. The interesting hidden detail is the dark chocolate line on top hidden under the Mona Lisa and that gives this bitter aftertaste that ads the needed finesse. The dough is slightly crunchy as it should be and the overall taste is good. This eclair is my favorite of all
  • Chocolat: The chocolate eclair is constituted of milk chocolate filling topped with a dark chocolate icing. Every bite hides a soft and smooth inner filling followed by a dark chocolate after taste. The choux pastry dough can be much better
  • Cafe: My friend and I both enjoyed this eclair. A feeling of certain finesse haunts it with a real and strong coffee flavor you would expect from this piece of dessert
  • Fraise: A cheap kind of taste that feels exactly like eating a lollipop. This 'thing' doesn't feel like an eclair. It's more of a synthetic biscuit which can be bought at a supermarket
  • Vanilla: Simple and clear. Vanilla filling with vanilla frosting. Even though close to a muffin with its sugary crisp cover, this eclair is correct
  • Lemon: An acute lemon taste provided by the frosting erases any taste from the filling. It's an acceptable piece
  • Mangue: A very strong mango taste that doesn't fit an eclair in my opinion. I'm not a fan
  • Paris Brest: A soggy super sweet gooey piece of sandwich covered with crunchy nuts. That's a big no! Nothing seems to be right about this eclair
Missing on the menu today:
  • Caramel with salted butter
  • Passion fruit
From my least favorite... to my favorite:
  • The simple series: Fraise - Mango - Lemon - Vanilla
  • The premium series: Paris Brest - Chocolate - Joconde - Cafe
Some gossips answered:
  • Fauchon's eclairs are produced in Lebanon every morning at 10am in their central kitchen at City Mall
  • The most expensive eclair is 6,000L.L and not 12,000L.L as many have claimed
  • The staff is professional and welcoming, different from my experience last year
Unfortunately, I was not impressed at all. The eclairs are good but I expected something great, something out of this world, something "Fauchon". All the pieces have a feeling of "they are not fresh enough" with an average taste. Good for us, unfortunately for them, some fine Lebanese pastry shops have much better quality and taste. At Laduree, I was impressed and wanted to come back again soon, as for today, I left the place saddened by finding Monoprix stuck to it and tasting something not up to the standard of Fauchon.





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