Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked croissants, biting into all that flaky buttery goodness, making a mess from the crumbs that fall off every bite. There are more and more new bakeries and patisseries popping up in Kuala Lumpur, and I love checking them out (when I can outside of COVID lockdown). However, very often, I find myself disappointed by the quality of the pastries (especially croissant), and I am sure most of you can relate with me.
Now, if you haven’t had the real thing in France, you are really missing out! Remember the scene from Emily in Paris, where she first landed in Paris, bought a pain au chocolat from a patisserie, and that impression she made when she had her first bite? I am not exaggerating when I say I have that same impression EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Let me try my best to explain the perfect croissant!
- For me, the first thing is the touch. It should be puffy, and airy, but not so much like a brioche.
- The crust should be flaky, but not crunchy. I noticed most croissants in Malaysia are crunchy, almost crispy. Maybe it is adapted for local preference. And it is perfectly fine if you like it as such. However, for me I prefer the authentic flaky kind. As the French says it, if you are not making a mess [eating your croissant], it is not a good croissant.
- The inside should have lots of layers (or air pockets), and texture should be soft, with just a bit of gluten (I like it slightly chewy). Again, I have tasted croissants in Malaysia which are crunchy all the way to the inside, of which you will definitely never get in France.
- It should taste buttery. And it goes without saying that the better the butter, the better taste the croissant. French pastry chefs will say that the best croissants are in France because they have the best butter in the world. In France, you can usually find two versions, i.e. croissant ordinaire (ordinary), and croissant au beurre (with butter). The former is often made with margarine, though some patisseries uses part margarine part butter. The latter is all butter.
Now, the way I like to eat my croissant is to tear it into smaller pieces, instead of biting into it. By tearing it, I can usually tell whether the croissant is good. I can see the flakiness of the crust, the layers and gluten on the inside, as last I can feel and smell my buttered fingers.
So, I have been trying as many croissants in Kuala Lumpur. Even during COVID lockdown, when I had some delivered (mind the hefty delivery fees). Anyway, here’s counting down to my top 5 in Kuala Lumpur!
5. Kenny Hills Baker (RM 7+)
Kenny Hills Baker has been around for awhile. They first started selling breads and sandwiches, but now have grown to become quite a big restaurant chain, serving pastries, cakes and also entrees. As for Kenny Hills Baker’s croissant, I find the crust a bit chewy, not flaky as I like it, but the inside is soft and buttery. #jermeats rates 3.5/5
4. Dew (RM 7.5)
Dew is the second creation of the founder to Jaslyn cakes, which specialises in patisseries. You can get their signature Dew croissants from Jaslyn as well. As for Dew’s croissant, I love the crust, it is super flaky, so much I always make a mess. The inside is airy, lots of pockets, soft but sadly it is not buttery as I like it. In fact, I think Dew’s crust plus Kenny Hills Baker’s buttery inside would make a killer croissant! #jermeats rates 3.5/5
3. Dou Dou Bake (RM 9)
Dou Dou Bake is one of the latest in Klang Valley (technically not in Kuala Lumpur). Ever since its opening, the queue has been crazy! I heard of people starting to queue at 5AM in the morning! As for Dou Dou’s croissant, the first turn off for me is the price! It is definitely one of the priciest in Kuala Lumpur! Price aside, the crust is good, flaky, buttery, but the inside is a bit too dense for me. If they can get the gluten just right for me, it would have been perfect. #jermeats rates 4/5
2. Faso Patisserie (RM 5.9)
Faso Patisserie is a current favourite among my friends. Unfortunately, it is very far, i.e. Setia Alam (which is definitely not in Kuala Lumpur, but delivery can be easily arranged). The owner/head pasty chef is French, who married a Malaysian wife who helps out in the store (she speaks fluent French). The prices are pretty reasonable as well. As for Faso’s croissant, the crust is flaky, the inside soft, buttery, but also slightly chewy. I guess the only improvement for me would be the butter. But if they had use any better butter, the price tag will rise as well. For that, #jermeats rates 4.5/5
1. Bref by Darren Chin (RM 6++)
Bref is actually Darren Chin’s second restaurant. Darren, if you don’t know already, is the owner of DC Restaurant, hands down the best fine dining restaurant in Kuala Lumpur! I actually first tried the croissant in DC and we were blown away! In DC, they serve this bite size mini version of the croissant, and it was everything I dreamed of in my perfect croissant!
Darren later opened Bref, which serves some of his signature dishes from DC, a la carte. It is actually an affordable avenue to try out Darren’s recipe if you like (though it won’t be cooked by him). In Bref, they serve the same croissant (just not bite size). And as for Bref’s croissant, the crust is super flaky, the inside super soft and extremely buttery, and the butter is so good, it must be some really good French butter! #jermeats rates 5/5
Tip: If you bought your croissant to go, and plan to have it later, best to heat it up slightly in the oven (for like 30 seconds). Be careful not to crisp up the crust (you can prevent it by covering it with foil, but I am always too lazy to do this step). You just want to activate the butter slightly, to relax the gluten inside.
Best croissant in Malaysia
While the above are my top 5 in Kuala Lumpur, there is one which rises above all of them. The best croissant I had in Malaysia is not in Kuala Lumpur, but Penang! And it is not some fancy patisserie, but one humble Le Petit Four.
I still remember the short weekend stay we had in Penang, I had Le Petit Four’s croissant every single morning! It has also the tiniest edges over Bref’s, the super flaky crust, the inside just a bit puffier, butter as good if not better than Bref! You really have to try it yourself, and then you’ll know what you have been missing all this while in Kuala Lumpur! #jermeats rates 5/5
Let me know what you think of my top 5, or better share with me what is your favourite croissant in KL! I’ll be sure to check it out!