Butter, milk, water, flour and eggs are the basic ingredients needed to make choux, the creamy pastry ball of French origin, generally known as cream puffs. This simplicity is what drew founders Yoan Tjahjadi and Ivan Setyawan back in 2016 when they first started making them in Yoan’s makeshift kitchen slash garage.
The moist creamy fillings of choux inspired the name Namelaka, a Japanese term for “smooth and creamy”. From selling pre-orders and attending food bazaars to setting up their first shop in Shophaus Menteng, the William Angliss Institute graduates grew the pâtisserie and got to acquaint people with their craquelin-topped choux even before they were a thing (“Eclairs were more popular then,” noted Ivan). Earlier this month, the pâtisserie found its second home in Kelapa Gading.
Sitting amongst a tightly-packed row of eateries, cake shops and a bike store on Jalan Boulevard Raya, Namelaka’s grey storefront stands out. But the pâtisserie keeps the inside simple and sleek with similar palette furnishings and gentle lighting. It also keeps the attention to the glass-encased display lining up the 22 flavours of choux they have in store, alongside a selection of entremet (mousse-based cakes) and petit gâteau (small sponge cakes).
Classics like Thai Milk Tea and Snickers (caramel mousse mixed with peanut caramel sauce and milk chocolate ganache) sit beside unique, local flavours like Tapé (caramelised fermented cassava) and Honey Yuzu (yuzu cream with Uray honey). Each choux is topped with craquelin (a frozen sweet dough that creates the crunchy coating) which adds more sweetness and texture. It is also sized for more or less than two bites, just enough for one to savour the creamy puffs without feeling stuffy.
Offering more than choux mainstays at the Kelapa Gading outlet, new additions include plated desserts like Pistachio Tiramisu, a popular treat layered with pistachio mascarpone mousse and homemade ladyfinger biscuits, drenched in pistachio sauce. Balancing the sweetness is the option of refreshing drinks to beat the heat like Raspberry Earl Grey and Strawberry Black Tea.
The pandemic’s isolation time proved to be quite opportune for Yoan and Ivan, who saw quite a lot of new customers encountering Namelaka and buying their treats. It was also a period when both had the time to develop even more flavours. Opening in Kelapa Gading then, which is also strategically located near their residence and central kitchen, seemed like the right timing for them to expand Namelaka’s presence even further. Judging by the crowds that fill the shop, even on the weekdays, it seems like Namelaka and their pâtisserie creations are leaving a lasting impression.