Ladurée Salon de Thé, Ground Floor, Port Baku Mall, 151Neftchilar Baku Tel.: (+994 12) 404 8232 www.saffron.az
If you haven’t heard of Ladurée, then you must have been living under a stone in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Their divine macaroons are world famous simply because they are just melt-in-the-mouth moments of heaven. And now, tah dah, they have arrived in Baku! You can find the Ladurée Salon de Thé on the ground floor of the Port Baku Mall. Absolutely never just a mundane café or tearoom, this most refined ‘salon’ is a sugar almond coloured girly paradise where you can buy not just the exquisite macaroons and scrumptious cakes but also take lunch like a queen.
Anyone for foie gras served with rosé macaroons and Ladurée Kugelhopf? Followed perhaps by quail pastilla flavoured with spices and creamy celery purée? If that doesn’t make your mouth water, then rest assured, there are plenty of other options, from cleverly combined salads and omelettes to delicious sounding club sandwiches, fish and meat dishes, including some very tempting vegetarian options. There’s a simply huge black, green and herb tea selection, some excellent coffees, including boozy ones with whipped cream, hot chocolates, juices, alcoholic drinks and, of course, ice cream. What’s not to adore?
I went with one of my Baku besties, a glamour puss if ever there was one. She ordered a Caesar Salad with chicken, which came as a goodly portion with lots of succulent well marinaded chicken, parmesan chips and a great dressing. My so simple sounding Salade aux Fines Herbes was equally good, with various tasty leaves and herbs and again, an excellent dressing, not too much, not too little, just right. All this was served on pretty pretty crockery in rose pink, baby blue and pistachio green. Then the major quandary, which of the many different macaroon flavours were we going to try? After much deliberation and discussion, we settled on four: classic pistachio, salted caramel, lemon and ginger and Marie Antoinette. They were all sensational and, days on, I am still debating with myself which was my favourite, lemon ginger or Marie Antoinette. Oh dear, I think I have to try them all again to make up my mind! What makes it so very difficult is that they all look so desirable…..I can see that I will have my work cut out.
The service was fantastic, properly professional, and the smart waiters, dressed from top to toe in black uniforms, could have been highly trained butlers. The little metal coffee jugs were served with Laduree emblazoned paper handle covers, no less, the orders arrived on time, together, and perfectly presented, the macaroons fresh as daisies. Staff were alert but unobtrusive, everything was just so. Completely amazing, in fact. I’m vaguely wondering whether I dreamt it all and am about to wake up to harsh reality.
Pricewise, the starters ranged from AZN 6 to 16, mains from AZN 12 to 22, club sandwiches from AZN 8 to 11, macaroons are AZN 2 each, hot drinks from AZN3 to 4.50 for more elaborate concoctions. The menu is in Azeri with English subtitles.
You’ll be glad to hear that the macaroons in all their different combinations as well as the cakes and some other lovely little goodies can be bought and taken out, making perfect hostess gifts, although I very much doubt that anything I might buy there would even survive long enough to be given away. After all, let’s not forget that macaroons should be eaten fresh and not kept for too long, so the sooner they get eaten, the better, don’t you think?! This place and everything within it just charms the pants off you. Go on, treat yourself and visit for a right royal spoily experience! The diet can wait!
Ladurée Salon de Thé is open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm.