Welcome to Week 4 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Patisserie de Paris, a French bakery and café in the Jozi suburb of Blairgowrie.
I’ve known for a long time about the French bakery off Conrad Drive in Blairgowrie. (By the way, I’m tempted to move to Blairgowrie, a Joburg suburb between Linden and Craighall Park, simply for the name. Blairgowrie! Pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. Love it.) I heard good things.
But, as I’m sure I’ll say many times over this year, the #Gauteng52 challenge motivated me to finally give Patisserie de Paris a try. And boy, have I been missing out.
Patisserie de Paris, The French Jewel of Blairgowrie
The first thing I noticed, and liked, about Patisserie de Paris is its unabashed pinkness. I’m not a particular fan (or non-fan) of pink, but I like it when a place goes all-out like this. The walls are pink and the waiters are decked out head-to-toe in pink.
The second thing I noticed was the menu. It’s legitimately French, but in the most unpretentious — and by that I mean cheapest — possible way. My eyes went straight to the croque monsieur, which is basically a French grilled ham-and-cheese but ten times better than that sounds. The croque monsieur cost R45 (about $3.25). I ordered it without looking any further.
Krista ordered the French toast (very appropriate) with mixed berry compote and lemon-blended mascarpone cheese, for R49 ($3.60).
When the plates came out — less than five minutes later, as if by magic — I nearly cried with delight. Everything looked and tasted amazing. The only thing I didn’t go crazy over was my cappuccino, which was good but not great.
The third thing I noticed was the cheese room. Patisserie de Paris has a whole separate room for cheese, most of which comes from France. I didn’t buy any but I will next time.
The fourth thing I noticed was the bakery/confectionary, which also has a dedicated room. Patisserie de Paris is famous for its baguettes and breads. I bought one baguette, which I took to a friend’s house for dinner that evening and really enjoyed, and one croissant, which I’d intended to save for breakfast the next morning but wound up eating that afternoon.
A selection of croissants. I had a plain one. I’d say it was on par with the croissants from my other favorite French café in Joburg: the French Corner in Bryanston. But Patisserie de Paris’ croissants are made from scratch onsite, while the French Corner’s are made with dough imported from France. So Patisserie de Paris wins based on carbon footprint.
The Story of Patisserie de Paris
As Kwenza explained to me, Patisserie de Paris’ story started when Paul Zwick, a lifelong television producer and director, decided to give up his 30-year career in Johannesburg and move to France to become a chef. After training at various acclaimed French culinary schools and apprenticing at two Michelin-rated restaurants, Paul moved home and started selling bread and pastries at the Bryanston Organic Market. He opened Patisserie de Paris on Bastille Day (14 July) in 2013.
Well done, Paul. Your story is the fifth thing I like about Patisserie de Paris.
Patisserie de Paris is at 9 Mackay Ave., Blairgowrie. The café is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Paul also trades at the Bryanston Organic Market on Thursday and Sunday.