Xiao By Crustz @ Happy Mansion, PJ Section 17

March 31, 2016

Good vibes, good desserts: After nearly seven years of nurturing her craft with home baking & corporate catering, young pastry chef Koh Xiao-Ly has launched her own patisserie with her sister - it's a lovely parlour in Petaling Jaya's Section 17 (with a distinctive seating space that caters more to couples than clusters), focusing on petite but elaborate French-inspired creations that illustrate its friendly founder's flair & finesse. This is one place to check out for well-crafted sweets.

Xiao specialises in selections of gateau-style cakes & tarts that will evolve from time to time - highlights from her current Magnificent Seven include Le Cerf, layered with hazelnut dacquoise, moelleuex au chocolat & milk chocolate chantilly cream on a crispy-crumbly base, topped with a deer-shaped thin chocolate slice (RM16), one of the many photogenic concoctions that'll show up on social media in the weeks to come. If you're searching for a sumptuously nuanced dessert, try Goma Goma, an eclair with pleasurably nutty accents, irresistibly punctuated with creamy sesame ganache & hazelnut mousseline (RM13).

We like how some of these reveal unexpected complexities; La Vie En Rose is a delicately modulated, floral-fruity treat - sable breton shortbread cookie crust crowned with pate a choux dough stuffed with raspberry jam & sandwiched with rose chantilly (RM16). Also worth trying: Le Citron (RM16; an ensemble of the good stuff - sable, madeleine, vanilla lime mousse, house-made orange marmalade) & Earl Grey (RM15; a tea devotee's dream - sable, Sacher sponge, Earl Grey bavarois & ganache).

We have mixed sentiments about Pa Macha; the pate choux & luscious green tea creme diplomat work well together, but the final component of passion fruit jelly feels too dominantly tangy - it's interesting to sample though (RM12). The only one we'd skip is Le Fruit (RM13), a fruit tart with creme patisserie, vanilla mousse & almond cream, which tastes relatively nondescript compared to everything else here - but it's nevertheless still notable for its use of mint planted in Xiao's own garden. Wash down with Yuzu or Lime fizzy beverages (RM9) & purchase a jar of house-made peanut butter or mango jam to bring home. Xiao By Crustz is a labour of love, & it's done well enough that it deserves a following. Expect to hear more about this place.

Xiao By Crustz
B-G-6, Happy Mansion, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Open Wed-Fri, 3pm-10pm; Sat-Sun, 12pm-6pm

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