[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 刘大人]
23 April 2019 is just one of our many never-ending rush day to meet our project deadlines, but little did we know a WhatsApp tip-off message, and an endless string of images of delectable French pastries around 9pm would change all that!
“Your honour, I think you would love these,” Mandy texted. “Come down to Whoops now, and there may be still a few pieces left!”
“Are you sure it would still be opened by the time we arrived past 10?”
“Yes Sir,” she insisted. “They are opened till 12 midnight!”
Needless to say, our food & beverages investigators (FBI) arrived at the “crime scene” in no time at all…
“This, this and that, and that one at the far end too!” Even though we are mindful of the timing of our visit, we couldn’t help but still point our fingers at every piece of whatever that remains on display at the glass counter. And don’t be fooled by our apparent letting down of our guard against late-night indulgence.
There’s still the French pastries section to check out, and we have barely even started with the gateaux de voyage! 😂
Speaking of the gateaux de voyage, the Madeleine and Carrot Cake were our top picks for 3 consecutive visits in four days, while the Lemon Bar and Flan also made it to our hit list. Lady luck was even smiling on us on day 2 as we managed to sink our teeth into the Napoleon as we grabbed one the final of only four pieces of Classic Mille Feuille available on any day! “What luck!”
Admittedly, we are not what many would call a dessert person, as we rarely get cravings for anything sugary, but the baked treats and pastries have indeed won us over in a matter of days and shot straight to the top of our list of favourite patisseries. With many reciprocal and positive responses from many of our foodie fans and friends, we are even more convinced that we can now enjoy life with less sugar and more flavours, thanks to the folks at Whoops by Soulless Patisserie!
We finally get to see Whoops in its full millennial pink glory on our third visit in broad daylight and boy, aren’t we very impressed. Timeless and yet so now, the name Soulless Patisserie also rings a bell, before it has drawn upon us that this popular online bakery has now made this corner shop lot (formerly Sugar On Top) along Jalan Kuning 1 their brand new home. Music to the ears (and mouth) indeed to us, and their regular customers, who can now satisfy our sugar cravings at will. This speaks volume of their popularity, coming from some not-so-dessert-person, isn’t it? 🤣
What’s even more amazing is the fact that the man behind the petite bakery is QiLong, a self-taught pastry chef still only in his mid-twenties. Gone are the days when chefs are just in the kitchen cooking a meal. Since the age of disruptive technology and social media, food has become multi-sensorial and is no longer created just for the palate, inspiring home cooks, aspiring chefs and sweet-tooth gourmands like QiLong to emulate these heavenly desserts. “Damn it, to think we’ve actually spent hundreds of Ringgit just learning how to bake a decent cake,” we silently lamented.
Not only are these pastries beautiful and intricate, but they are also a labour of love. If there’s anything we love more than a decadent dessert, it’s gotta be accompanied by a good backstory – and the sweet story between QiLong and Mika stretched nearly a decade. The young couple just loves doing things together, and it’s the simple things in life like baking that make them (and us) happy. Sometimes, the long hours could take its toll on them too. “In fact, QiLong was working so hard that he could only find time for his first proper meal of the day, after 11pm!” Mika quipped fondly.
Thanks to QiLong elder sister, who couldn’t bear to see his brother losing precious hours to the daily commute across the causeway, she offered to covert part of her design firm space in a shop lot in Pekan Nanas to help fulfil his baking ambition. Even then, the couple spent nearly 10 hours in the kitchen from 8am in the morning, before making their daily deliveries well into midnight!
While their baking experience and knowledge have grown steadily over the years, they also know how to bend the rules without losing respect for the original recipes. With countless and sleepless nights just to get the flavours right, Mika and QiLong have built a strong following for their sweet treats, with 2017 in particular, being a turning point for Soulless Patisserie.
Call it an old-fashioned bakery, where everything is made by hand, from scratch, in small batches but that’s enough to make their customer went wow and “Whoops” that gives the Soulless Patisserie a new name for people to remember. “I could still remember two young ladies who ordered 6 cakes at one go and took home a dozen more that made them went whoops!” Mika recalled. It’s this much satisfaction that keeps the young couple going, even at a time when Johor Bahru is seeing more players in the market offering high-quality goods. “Competition is bound to be stiff, but with more brands creating more awareness for the enjoyment of pastry, we believe this will increase the overall demand for pastries here,” Mika concluded. Wise words indeed from a fine young lady whose wisdom seems beyond her tender age.
“Besides, the best part about working together is seeing each other, and it’s good to have a great palate we can each trust for tastings too!” Mika laughed.
Mocktail | Signature Coffee & Yuzucha
Having refrain from excessive caffeine intake in our earlier visits at night, we also relish the chance to savour their signature drinks. A heady concoction made of wild berries, soda water and double-shot espresso, the Signature Coffee is worth every buck, not only because it’s kind to our wallet, but it’s also loaded with three potent ingredients that will either make us stay up past our bedtime or put us right to sleep! The bitterness wasn’t as pronounced, and we would liken it more to enjoying an iced coffee with a fair amount of booze to keep us lucid!
On the other hand, the Yuzucha will satisfy any lover of this delicious green tea. The aftertaste was similar to traditional matcha, but with slightly refreshing citrus and vegetal taste lingering from the yuzu and butterfly peas. This is definitely our cup of tea and we thoroughly enjoyed it as the tea was smooth and light too.
The one-page menu is also promising at first glance with an adequate selection of cakes and beverages as we’re a firm believer in quality over quantity and we’re glad that Mika and QiLong seem to be going towards that direction with their menu.
Lemon Bar & Madeleine
For those who like tangy desserts, we simply love the sourness of the lemon that cleanses the palate. Topped with a creamy dollop of lemon mousse, the Lemon Bar had a smooth, silky and slightly tangy curd with a soft crust finished with a delicate balance.
On the other hand, the fluffy, buttery Madeleine has a soft interior that is both moist and has distinct earl grey notes. We’re intrigued at how they’ve managed to make something so light and yet so full of taste and texture, and for sure we regret stopping at only just two!
A refreshing alternative from the usual calorie-laden cakes and pies, the Frutti Tartlet is a healthy assortment of fresh fruit toppings on a vanilla-infused custard base with almond cream and pate sucree. It doesn’t just look glorious, but taste just as great too. Highly recommended!
Grateful & Rose Litchi with Raspberry
We are also “Grateful” that the sweet and sour flavours combine flawlessly in this irresistible cake containing light, spongy coconut jasmine biscuit, a velvety smooth mango finish made of sweet mango cremeux, mango compote and a decadent jasmine mousse.
And, what a sweet surrender this is for our final cake of the day. The distinct fragrance of rose is also brightened by the refreshing sweetness of lychee in this aromatic Rose Litchi with Raspberry, with layers of light, delicate vanilla sponge and lychee pudding contrast with a soft raspberry compote, which makes for a delicious mouthful of textures with every bite.
The French often say that the best bakeries are the ones closest to us. Well, we are lucky that in JB that there are now more than a few such quaint little bakery and cafes. Opened only weeks ago, Whoops has so far relied on “word-of-mouth” recommendations and can be considered something of a hidden gem in the local confectionary world. But after our repeated trips it won’t be too long before this best-kept-secret is out of the bag, with Whoops offering a good selection of humble bakes and occasional lavish gâteau served in a superbly relaxed ambience at brilliantly reasonable prices.
But, if you don’t want to get desserts that look like they are bought off the shelves, try getting them from Whoops and stand out from the rest of your friends!
Whoops by Soulless Patisserie
📍 No 1, Jalan Kuning 1, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor
📞 +6018-781 3466
🕛 12.00pm to 12.00am (Daily)
📱 Whoops by Soulless Patisserie
🍽️ NO PORK, NO LARD