Franck Percol is something of an institution in Shanghai. Known for his passion for authenticity, quite apart from being the patron and chef in arguably the city’s favourite Parisian-style bistro (named Franck surprisingly enough), the owner of nearby bar Le Petit Franck, as well as wood-fired pizzeria and specialist food shop A Côté, he’s now added to his stable the simply, but aptly monikered artisan bakery Farine. All of them nestle within two shakes of a lamb’s tail of each other in or near the chic dining and lifestyle enclave Ferguson Lane, which may well soon need to be re-named Percol Lane.
With its flour imported from France and all loaves fermented, raised and baked on the premises, its little wonder gourmands are crossing the city to seek out the rustic, hand-shaped breads. But it doesn’t end there. The small, but airy white-tiled bake shop shelves excellent sandwiches and filled ciabattas, warm treats like a delicious emmental Croque Monsieur, plus a full complement of cakes, and croissants – the hazelnut pain au chocolat is an eminently rich and buttery way to ruin your figure – all served on the cute as button patio or at a small coffee bar with what is currently the only Slayer espresso machine in Shanghai. At US$18,000 a pop these babies don’t come cheap, but would you expect anything less from the King of Authentic, M. Percol himself.