They say worthwhile things are hard to find. Well, they might just be right. The French Bakery, located at Chhetrapati in Kathmandu, sort of proves that statement correct. Skirting the vibrant and buzzing streets of Thamel and a little tricky to locate, sits the French Bakery that has delighted the food worshipping populace of the town with its unparalleled bakery goods and wildly diverse food, all of which are served in an elegant manner.
BN Shrestha is the man behind the cakes and the food at the French Bakery. As a student of culinary arts exposed to a wide range of cuisines, Shrestha really wanted to open his own eatery, one that provided for multitudes of Asian and European taste. “I studied culinary arts in Australia and my exposure was typically to French food. I worked in Australia for 10 years as a chef and that experience familiarized me with regards to restaurant management and giving the greatest possible return to customers. There were too many restaurants in Australia such as this but my vision was for Nepal and redefining the culinary experience in my own country,” he says.
He set foot in Nepal adamant to honor this very vision and, here we are, nearly four years later and French Bakery has too many people enthralled by its charms.
It isn’t just the food but also the bakery itself. The layout is your typical crash pad, ideal for hours of meaningful discussions, a quiet space for your reading-studying indulgences and a cozy area for some intimate moments with your loved one. Top it off with food, and what better heaven could there be?
The interior of the place was a painstaking effort, says Shrestha, and not an inch of the bakery has been overlooked. “The lights that hang over the tables are Thai products, especially ordered. The seating arrangements aren’t uniform to cater to the different needs of our customers, and not even the tiles weren’t an easy compromise. We paid the minutest attention to details and we have also partnered with Library.com to display a few books so that our customers can buy a book to read while enjoying good food,” he says.
The French Bakery may just be one of the few eateries in the valley that has a menu especially designed for vegan customers. They have vegan brownies, tofu steaks, and all things vegan. “There’s been a sporadic increase in the demand for vegan food and we couldn’t ignore the requests pouring in. We’re faithful to each of our customers. So if on one hand we have beef and pork, on the other hand, we also have vegan and gluten free cakes. We don’t want anyone who walks through the doors to have to compromise with their choices,” explains Shrestha.
Shrestha manages the kitchen as the head chef and, together with a team of 12 employees, brainstorms recipes, experiments with flavors and puts up daily specials almost every single day. When their daily special item gets good feedback and customers seem to like it, they also include it in the main menu.
“We’ve always done our very best to deliver good food. Our purpose is to do what many don’t and we have abided by this principle since the launch of our first outlet in Maipi four years ago. We value all our customers and pay close attention to their needs and deliver accordingly. This is food we are dealing with and, out of all things in the world, it is the last thing that should be a disappointment,” concludes Shrestha.
Price: 395 Breakfast has never been the star meal of a day. But think this over because the number of people flocking the bakery in the early mornings every day for this dish should be some indication. Eggs Benedict is a lightly toasted English muffin with grilled bacon, poached eggs and topped with hollandaise sauce. The gooeyness of the eggs as you break into them seeps into the muffin in the base making it nice and soft. The first bite is a startling mix of eggs and hollandaise sauce. You are then accosted by the saltiness of the bacon and the slight sweetness of the muffin. But if you’re one for the pungent taste, do add a little seasoning.
Price: Rs 497 This one leads up to its name. Literally. A tower of bread is the first thing you see as it is brought to you but, don’t be alarmed, it is a sandwich so good that you won’t mind the extra calories. The fillings boast an assortment of crispy chicken nuggets, lettuce leaves and shredded onions, tomatoes and cucumbers with mayonnaise. Each bite gives you a mouthful of soft bread and chicken slightly challenged by the tartness of the mayo-dipped veggies. As complements you get potato wedges and a mayo salad. The entire sandwich is one large undertaking and not for those who get full very easily.
Price: Rs 350 Oh boy, just wait till you have one of these. Any fantasies of monitoring sugar intake will be thrown out of the window. A bowl shaped cookie dough holds a puddle of melted chocolate that is guaranteed to make you drool. The cookie dough is made of almond flour that lends the base a mild sweetness that beautifully complements the chocolate ganache it holds. The ganache, originally dark chocolate based, loses its bitterness to the berries, hazelnut chocolate, and cream that it is mixed with. The result? The sweetest thing you ever ate.