The French take pride in their cuisine—its flavors,
techniques, and precision. And this is evident in everything they produce. They
are very adamant on following the classique techniques taught to them by the
likes of Chefs Auguste Escoffier, Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Julia Child, and
many others. It is because of this pride in their culture that the French come
off as rude and arrogant to some individuals. Despite this stereotype, there
are French people who stand out and debunk these misconceptions about them.
Chef Jean-Louis Leon of Bocas Modern Patisserie in Cebu breaks all these
We stumbled upon Chef Jean’s new pastry café a few days ago
when we were stuck in heavy rain in Banilad Town Centre. Bocas (which means mouth) Modern Patisserie just opened a
week prior to our visit yet it had already captured the attention of the
curious crowd. Evidently so with its unconventional industrial interior
complete with its brilliance in choosing its armoire.
On one side of the café is
a mishmosh of seats and ledges as tables, which acts as a communal space for
enjoying your chosen fare in the hopes of conversing with the other people
seated around you.
Adjacent to that is a view of Chef Jean’s workstation, an
open performance to see this mad scientist at work.
There are three other
stations wherein the coffee is prepared, a cash register, and some other tools
An interesting wall adorned by colorful rolling pins serve as the
middle ground of some artwork displayed in the café. We heard that the artwork
you find around his café are made using squid ink by their artist partner, Evar.
To say that Chef Jean is friendly and accommodating is a
huge understatement. In fact, this Executive Chef-turned-Pastry Chef is as
hospitable as we Filipinos are said to be. It was only our first visit to his café
yet Chef Jean pleasantly conversed with us as if we were old friends, only
stopping to take care of the order of another group of people before he would
return to us and give some welcomed advice. And at the end of the meal, he gladly
walked us to the door and waved goodbye, something so rare for a Chef of his
But let’s talk about what truly matters—the food served at
Bocas. When we first walked in, Chef Jean and his staff explained that they use
Nespresso coffee, something that wasn’t the same as the coffee served at large-chain
Lange Coffee P110
Lange Coffee P110
The first thing they served to us was the Lange coffee that my hubby ordered. This was served in Bodum double-wall glasses, something that I’ve been long planning to purchase for the home. My husband, who only grew to like drinking coffee after meeting me, usually drinks brewed coffee with milk and sugar. Surprisingly, he enjoyed the Lange coffee without the milk.
Malagos Cake (P175)
Malagos Cake (P175)
The next thing to arrive on our table was the spécialité de
la maison, the Malagos Cake; named after its main ingredient: Davao’s best-selling
Malagos Chocolate. Chef Jean promised this was a delectable treat so I took his word for it. When we placed the order, Chef Jean went on to work his magic on the
cake; strategically adding an edible gold leaf on top of the chocolate and
garnishing the plate with some edible flowers—a purple pansy and Ixora (or
santan in our local dialect) that he personally picked from a nearby garden and
prepared from scratch. It was my first time to try eating edible flowers and I
loved the pansy’s taste—it was sweet and crispy!
As for the cake, it did not disappoint! The Malagos
Cake, as instructed by Chef Jean, was supposed to be eaten with all its layers,
not individually. And I had to admit. It did work its charm compared to eating each
layer on its own. The bottom was something like a crispy wafer, sort of like a
KitKat stick, with some layers of chocolate mousse and a final coating of
chocolate to enclose it. Another patron of the café described it as tasting
like Ferrero Rocher.
Hot Chocolate (P130)
And since it was the day of all days—the inauguration of the
16th President of the Republic of the Philippines, I decided to
honor him by ordering hot chocolate instead of coffee. At Bocas, you’re free to
choose the percent of chocolate you want in your drink—100%, 60%, and 25%. I
originally wanted Malagos hot chocolate but decided to go with the 60%
chocolate, which was Belgian. By far, this was the best hot chocolate I’ve had—smooth,
just the right thickness yet it wasn’t too sweet. I’ll try the Malagos hot
chocolate next time.
At the end of the meal, they give out mints that Chef Jean
personally prepared to help cleanse the palate.
Overall, our experience at Bocas Modern Patisserie was one
that will continue to relish in our memories at least until our next visit.
Especially with this rainy season and cold weather, it makes me want to head
over and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. They also have other exciting treats such
as their Macaron Blanc Ice Cream in Mascarpone, Eclairs, Calamansi Tart, and
many more. But until the rain stops, I’ll have to wait and savor the posts they
share on Facebook. And with Chef Jean around, Bocas will never be just an ordinary