Elisa is finally back from New York and will definitely update you on the fantastic and exceptional gastronomic experience she has been through. So stay tune! 🙂
As a little child in Brussels, Belgium, Alain Coument would stand on a stool and watch his grandmother make bread. As he grew older into a fine young chef, he became increasingly unsatisfied with the quality of bread available in Brussels. He could not find a wholesome bread with a firm slice and a good crust. Passionate about quality, he opened a small bakery in 26 October 1990 where he could could make his own rustic familiar loaves of his childhood. He called his bakery “Le Pain Quotiden” which means, The Daily Bread.
Le Pain Quotidien is a bakery-café and communal dining which serves simple yet delectable breakfast, brunch, lunch and pastry. What makes it unique and different is that they source organic ingredients to not only build lasting and meaningful partnerships with organic farmers, ensure all ingredients are of the highest quality, but most importantly to support sustainable farming. This philosophy has influenced both their food and the design of their stores – reclaimed wood from Belgian company Antiques & Design for their signature communal tables, energy-efficient lamps, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and packaging.
It’s good for our bodies, our communities, and our earth.
Le Pain Quotidien takes ubiquitous farm-to-table theme and offers wholesome tartines, soups, salads, quiches, pastries and desserts, and includes vegan and vegetarian options. They also celebrate the season with seasonal specials which definitely does justice to every season. Yet the cornerstone of its menu is its handmade, organic bread. A blend of only organic, stone-ground flour is used in its bread, majority of which are made using levain instead of baker’s yeast, resulting in a rustic, hearty and wholesome flavour. Fresh and light, yet simple. Of course, not to forget is their addictive organic jams and spreads , honey, salt and pepper which are laid in sections of the communal table. Definitely add to the community-feel 🙂 And rest assure, they sell their organic products (which also include chocolates, waffles and coffee)!
White Chocolate Spread (top right hand corner) anyone? 🙂
We come here for breakfast every morning. Need I say more?
Harvest Cranberry Porridge
This was one of the Seasonal Special Harvest Cranberry Porridge ($6.95): warm farro with almond milk, pecans & walnuts 240cal. There are many different types of porridge – Asian porridge/congee which is basically a savory dish of boiled-down rice, to Western ones which is a dish made by boiling oats/cereal meals in milk, water or broth with the addition of other ingredients such as salt, sugar and spices. This western dish is clearly unlike the usual porridge/congee that we Asians are familiar with (My dad got confused). 100% Botanical/Vegan, what could be more hearty and earthy than this warm filling bowl of healthy ingredients? The strawberries added sweetness and the pecans added crunch. The farro was cooked al dente with a little bite and we couldn’t ask for more. It was definitely a homey dish which you would crave on a cold winter.
Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal with Berries
Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal ($7.45): with berries and your choice of milk 160-210cal. Oatmeal is a simple dish and some people can’t understand why one would order oatmeal from a restaurant. Well it’s understandable. Why would you pass dishes like French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Waffles and fluffy Pancakes for Oatmeal? Why would you pay dollars for something that costs just pennies and can be done so simply at home? But if you think about it, ordering oatmeal from a restaurant is no different than ordering pasta. They’re both simple, starchy dishes where you can make it yourself for far less money. A box of pasta, and a packet of oatmeal, they’re costs are probably similar! But then some may argue, some restaurants serve beautifully composed pasta dishes – handmade noodles with a sauce you cannot replicate, and probably with a chef’s twist. And exactly. Some restaurants serve a bowl of perfectly cooked steel-cut oatmeals complemented with mouthwatering, delectable toppings such as stewed fruit, or fruit butter – that’s a whole new dish.
While the oatmeal here may be a little pricey, the oatmeal here is done perfectly. Thick, smooth tender grains cooked with your choice of milk, topped with sooooooooooooooooooooooooo darn sweet berries you really don’t need any more sugar to sweeten the oatmeal! Darn, they were good all by themselves. But if you want some more fun, plop yourself down next to one of their condiment caddies, and swirl in some nutella or fruit preserves 🙂 No one’s stopping you!
Organic Oatmeal with Bananas
Organic Oatmeal & Banana ($6.95): with maple syrup and pecans 300-350cal. Both oatmeal dishes are 100% Botanical/Vegan, simple yet hearty and very filling – a great start for the day! The banana were sweet too! And when you have the creamy oatmeal, sweet banana, crunchy pecan and maple syrup all in one bite, you’re in heaven 🙂
Organic Hazelnut Flute
Organic Hazelnut Flute ($3.95) 330cal. My mum asked for it to be toasted but surprisingly enough, they don’t have a toaster! Sadly, there was no hint of chocolate or hazelnut whatsoever, it tasted just exactly like any other raisin nut bread (yes there were raisins). Maybe It would have been just good if they had called it a ‘Raisin Nut Flute’ because any simple raisin nut breads have always been good (unless if there is the incorrect ratio of raisin to nut to bread which I have not encountered yet, and if the bread is too chewy to bite)! How can you go wrong with Raisins, Nuts and Bread anyway? Well maybe I’m biased, Raisins and most Nuts go well together and have always been my love.
Mushroom, Kale & Parmesan Frittata
Another Seasonal Special is the Mushroom, Kale & Parmesan Frittata ($11.25): made with organic eggs and served with organic mesclun greens 140cal. The Frittata was seasoned nicely and the many layers of Kale and Mushroom were distinct. Parmesan is definitely a great mild cheese to go with this as it did not overpower the hearty flavors, but it did add a nice cheesy texture and and slight tangy and savory taste. Who doesn’t love cheese anyway? It was a nice portion too!
Soft-Boiled Organic Egg with Bread
Soft-Boiled Organic Egg with Bread ($3.95) 290cal. A variety of rustic bread was served – Ciabatta, Baguette, Raisin and Wholemeal. The idea is to dip the bread into egg and soak up all the runny yolk. Interesting idea ain’t it? 🙂 You can also choose to have Hard-Boiled Egg, though it would totally defeat all the fun-ess.
Organic Cheddar & Scallion Scone
The last Seasonal Specialty that we had was the Organic Cheddar & Scallion Scone ($5.95) 390cal. Personally, I feel that almost all savoury scones that I’ve tasted are much much denser than the usual buttery, fluffy and airy yet firm sweet scones. This too felt the same. It was dense, and in no way fluffy and airy. It tasted almost like a muffin in the inside, and its exterior was much firmer and harder than a sweet scone. The cheddar flavor in the scone was distinct and unmistakable and the scallions contributed to the entire savoriness. Maybe savory scones aren’t my thing.
Fresh Fruit Salad (small)
Small Fresh Fruit Salad ($5.75) 90cal. Every piece of fruit – strawberry, blueberry, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango (that’s all I can remember) was fresh and refreshing. The mint definitely helped to elevate all the sweetness!
Large Mochaccino ($5.10) 260cal. There was just enough chocolate to sweeten the coffee and make me a mochaccino-addict 🙂
Asian Organic Tofu
Asian Organic Tofu ($12.95): with tri-colored slaw and miso-ponzu dressing 200cal. 100% Botanical/Vegan. The dressing elevated the flavors of the salad with it’s tartness an slight sweetness. The raw cabbage gave crunch against the soft delicate tofu and rockets. Overall, it was a colorful, simple yet tasty dish.
Baked Goat Cheese & Organic Spinach Salad
Baked Goat Cheese & Organic Spinach Salad ($14.25): with apples, spiced nuts and apple-pear reduction 790cal. Yes, ever heard of having salad for breakfast? :p The salad was nicely dressed with that sweet reduction. The apples were sweet and crunchy an the nuts were nicely spiced (I tasted nutmeg). The goat cheese was nicely baked to have a satisfying crunchy crust exterior against and smooth interior which was ever so strong, yet fresh and milky.
It’s nice how they give you all the information you need – calories, whether its vegan/vegeterian or not, and they even teach you how to eat a Tartine! Every dish is so colorful (a touch of mint really helps!) and definitely reflects nature at its best. Le Pain Quotidien is a place you never want to leave because of its homey feel; a place meant for lingering and grazing, a place where you know you belong, where you know you are welcomed with a strong aroma of fresh flavors every morning. Yes and now you understand why we come here every morning. It’s because of that invisible magnetic attraction which pulls you unknowingly and you give in just right away. Come here and have breakfast/lunch/brunch/dessert/pastries/cookies (their chocolate chip cookies are HUMONGOUS)/snack/drink and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
How to eat a Tartine!
Today, Le Pain Quotidien operates 151 bakery-café worldwide in 26 cities and 18 countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, India, Germany, Turkey, Russia and the United States. Please come to Singapore!
Le Pain Quotidien
7 E. 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
Between Madison & 5th Ave
Tel: (646) 845-0012