On Thursday 14th July award-winning pastry chef Angelo Musa opened his eponymous patisserie on the 4th floor of Harrods and I was lucky enough to go to the preview.
I was also lucky enough to chat with the chef himself. You can listen here:
This New London patisserie is a huge space, open to the Harrods’ shopping floor and with a small terrace outside, too.
There’s a large bar area where you can watch the pastry chefs finishing some of the patisserie – including assembling the mille-feuille as you watch. It contains grapefruit as well as vanilla and though I think I actually prefer the pastry to sit with the creme Patissier for a little while it was still wonderful.
There is a short menu of savoury options, including a lobster roll (of course darling, it’s Harrods) and a croque monsieur, but it’s all about the patisserie. There’s Angelo’s new toy: a chilled patisserie trolley from which you can see before you choose, without having to leave your very comfortable chair. Each of the patisserie is £15 each. There are award-winners amongst them. The Paris Brest was the champion in a competition just for Paris Brest. It was perfect. As you’d expect from the inclusion of praline that’s made in the kitchens beneath Harrods by caramelising the hazelnuts in a copper pan over an open flame. No expense has been spared in making these desserts the very best that can be.
You’ll also find a list of cocktails and alcohol-free cocktails and wine by the glass.
Angelo was like a child in a toy shop as he talked about his craft, which he calls play. Very few things make me happier than seeing someone living their best life and he really is. The joy radiates from him and it shines through into the food, too.
He’s been a pastry chef for more than 30 years, holds one of the coveted MOF collars which are only achieved by passing a tough competition and he is currently the executive pastry chef of the Plaza Athené in Paris, working alongside Alain Ducasse.
If you’re looking to find the Angelo Musa patisserie, it’s on the 4th Floor in Harrods right by the Lebanese Kitchen, in shades of blue.
Transcript of my interview is below:
Interview transcript with Angelo Musa
[00:00:00] Hi, and welcome back to The Next Delicious Thing ,or welcome if this is your first time listening. I’m Jen, Jennifer Earle and I am a food consultant and the founder of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, which is London’s first food tour business. Since 2005, I’ve been running chocolate tours. I also run ice cream and sweet treat tours.
[00:00:20] Each week in this podcast, I share the most delicious things that I’ve been tasting recently, which is often sweet things, but not always. This week, however, it is all sweet. I went to three incredible patisseries for the first time. Well, actually two for the first time, one for probably the millionth time. And they were all exceptional.
[00:00:42] I was lucky enough to get time to sit down with the French chef visiting, just for the opening of his eponymous patisserie on the fourth floor in Harrods Angelo Musa. He is honestly the humblest chef I think I’ve ever met. Generally chefs, have a tendency or they have done in the past, have a tendency to be somewhat arrogant, which you probably know if you watch any TV programs with chefs, however, the next generation, I don’t think that’s entirely true of.
[00:01:13] Certainly not true of all of the chefs that I know who work at Harrods currently. And definitely not true of Angelo, at least in my experience. We sat down and talked for a little while. So, before I tell you about each of these three places and the bakery that I visited in Buckinghamshire, which only opened eight months ago, here’s my conversation with Angelo: please come back and listen so that you can hear my other recommendations because they are good. You can always get these via email. If you go to thenextdeliciousthing.com and sign up. I send the emails every week with the list and the links, or you’ll find them on thenextdeliciousthing.com as well.
[00:01:54] Right. Here’s my conversation with Angelo:
[00:01:58] So I’ve been a pastry chef for since 32 years.
[00:02:01] You don’t even look 32. Right now you are a pastry chef at Plaza Athene.
[00:02:05] Yes. I’m the executive executive pastry chef of Plaza Athene uh, since, uh, seven years.
[00:02:12] What made you want to open in Harrods?
[00:02:15] Why. because … why not? uh, no, I, I know, I know, Marcus, the head Pastry chef from Harrods and, uh, we are friends and, he asked me, would you like to open your shop in, Harrods and I said, uh, wow, thank you, Marcus. And I said, yes, why not? We spoke and, I’m really, emotional. I’m really happy.
[00:02:40] I, I don’t have words now to explain how I feel. Really.
[00:02:46] It is an amazing space and there’s so much that you can do with it because you have this space where you can plate and finish all the desserts off.
[00:02:54] Yes. It’s an amazing place. They do a very good job. We have a very good team here. Yes, a beautiful space, as you say, where we can finish the cakes, where we can do a show for clients. We have a very nice trolley which is going to keep the cake as you need to taste them. So we are really lucky. I’m really lucky.
[00:03:18] How did you decide what pastries and what the menu would look like?
[00:03:22] I wanted to show what I love, what my spirit. I try to, to show you some of the best cakes I created this few years ago. We, we changed some things just to give something be different. And we try to, to give a different balance between chocolate, fruit… we are going to change every time with the seasons. , the Ette.
[00:03:49] Quite a few of the patisserie are award winning and those ones I guess, will stay and then you’ll have a rotating selection of other things, like you say, with the seasons. Is there any particular stories about how like the a hundred percent vanilla came about?
[00:04:05] With all the cakes you have a story. So with the vanilla yes, we have a story because, uh, I created these cakes a few years ago and Mr. Ducasse tasted it and he had a very good memory. And when he asked me to come to the Plaza Athené, he, he said, uh, did you create this cake? I said, yes. And he said, I want it in Plaza Athené. So we create it for Plaza Athené
[00:04:30] we changed some things and I wanted to show you to London people these cakes, because the, the spirit of this cake is very interesting. You have four layers, only three centimeters, and you have only one taste with four different, four different texture, crunchy, biscuit, creamy and smooth. Since we create this one, we create a other one with different flavor as an [00:05:00]pistachio caramel, always with the same spirit.
[00:05:04] So it’s the same flavor throughout, but different textures too. I love that idea. And the chocolate one is like that.
[00:05:11] Yes. We can say it’s quite the same. We play. When we create cakes.
[00:05:15] When I am in the lab, I don’t work. I play,.
[00:05:19] It’s really nice watching you because your eyes light up talking about pastry. And it’s so wonderful to be around people who love their job so much that it isn’t work. It’s play. Is there anything particular you’re excited about sharing with people or that’s coming up that you want to do with this space?
[00:05:38] Here, you can find my book. So we, we wrote a book with Celine who wrote my book . In this book. You can read my story. And you can find my jam because I’m doing my own jam and you can taste it. You have to taste..
[00:05:57] I would love to. I will include a link to the book and obviously to the restaurant as well. Do you call it restaurant? I’ll include link to both of those in the show notes. This was all so delicious. I think the chocolate or the vanilla. Normally I like varieties of flavor, but actually just having the same flavor, or not exactly the same flavor, but the texture changes the flavor.
[00:06:17] Always when I create a cake, I try to, I play with this texture. It’s a combination of a different texture. And the texture is very, very important for the degustation. Really.
[00:06:28] I agree. It’s so disappointing for me if I order a dessert and it’s just one texture, it just needs something, at least a temperature change. Like, so if you have a, sorbet with something creamy, that’s, I mean, it’s still different texture as well.
[00:06:41] I can add that we use very, very good ingredients, so that’s very important. To give the best flavor to be the best taste. It’s very important. We don’t play with quality. I don’t play with quality. I don’t want to.
[00:06:57] Phil, one of the pastry chefs in the kitchen downstairs. So people didn’t realize that all of the pastries in hers are made, onsite in hers.
[00:07:05] And he mentioned that the praline for the Paris Brest which won the best Paris Brest at the Paris Brest competition in Paris, is made with the hazelnuts are caramelized in a copper pan over an open flame.
[00:07:19] We do, for the, this cake, for Paris Brest, we do our own praline because for me, it’s very important to do this recipe because it’s one of the main important ingredient in this cream.
[00:07:33] So for me, it’s very important to do it because nobody can do as we can do pastry chef.
[00:07:39] Amazing. Thank you so much. It was so delicious.
[00:07:43] Thank you for coming in. I hope to see you soon.
[00:07:47] Okay. See what I mean? Such a nice guy. Now, the patisserie at his patisserie in the fourth floor of Harrods was sublime.
[00:08:00] They’re all £15 each. But what I loved is you listened to our conversation is that it is all about texture. And using the best quality ingredients. So if you are after a treat, then do know that your money will be well spent because they are wonderful. The ode to chocolate, I think. Was probably my favorite, the Paris Brest was excellent.[00:08:28] And the vanilla, to o, also the, the mille feuille, which is made to order had grapefruit gel and grapefruit cream alongside the vanilla créme pâtissier. And that was sublime as well , really fresh and just the right crunchiness, acidity, perfection.