I had never heard of Tous les Jours (“Every Day” en anglais) before visiting Kuala Lumpur, but was amazed to learn how prolific this South Korean chain of French-style bakeries is. Beyond South Korea, it also operates in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United States. Phew! Something tells me that it won’t be long before Singapore becomes another feather in T les J’s well-plumed cap. The sooner the better, if you’re asking.
If I think about this as objectively as possible (which isn’t saying much), then there are probably two things about T les J that resonate strongly with me. The first is its signature colour – that shade of moss green is as close to my favourite colour as you can probably get. It’s refined and classy and sensible. A (little) bit like me. The second is the selection of baked stuff that it flogs – also rather sensible. Indeed, it’s positively European(-esque) in its choice of flavour combos and fondant-viennoiserie pairings. Touches like these are comforting; they make me feel like i’m in safe hands.
The Bangsar outlet of T les J occupies a large corner plot with a baguette-stuffed bicycle outside. I’m assured the baguettes were fake, but they looked pretty damn real to me. Inside is a veritable gingerbread house of doughy treats, all of which appealed to the eye. Most appealing (and appeasing, I might add), however, was the large centre-table that consisted of croissants, almond croissants, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins, and Danish pastries. That’s right: the sensible stuff. The wildcards (namely doughnuts and the like) were relegated to the outer displays, where they belong. As I said, safe hands.
The Pain au Chocolat (MYR 3.90) was pleasingly large, assuredly dense, and had a handsomely bronzed outer shell. A bit like me in another 10 years or so, perhaps. The chocolate filling retained its moisture nicely, but the overall pain lacked the distinctly buttery flavour that makes a good pain au c. so addictive. That said, a glance at the inner workings of this thing revealed umpteen layers of dough, which, in the world of viennoiseries, is nothing but good. It would undoubtedly have been nicer fresh, or even just warmed up. But then again, it was a busy day, and I went at a busy time.
The Hazelnut Danish (MYR 4.50) sat underneath a delightful coffee-flavoured fondant; an excellent example of a sensible flavour combo. Nothing fancy or innovative, just time-tested quality. A pleasing size, but a little dry and cold. The lack of heat caused the flavours to be muted, although that did little to stop my imagination running wild with the thought of just how good it could have been.
The Cream Soboro (MYR 3.80) can be classified as a “wildcard”, but there’s nothing wrong with that (have I just contradicted myself?). To be fair, I plonked this on my tray more in the spirit of respectful patronage than anything else (given that soboro buns are, after all, quintessentially Korean). Complete with a cream and custard filling (good start) and a bo lo bao-esque crumbly top (go on…), this thing looked great on paper. But again, same story. It was dry and the flavours were lurking somewhere not very noticeable. Heat + baked stuff = flavour-full. Take note.
Overall, Tous les Jours is a pleasingly good Asian-imitation-French bakery. Its fidelity to baking traditions is what sets it apart from some of the other Asian baking franchises. When it comes to Singapore, my arms (and wallet) will be open.