Salt, butter and more at Maillet

By Julie Kim Jackson

Husband-and-wife team craft French desserts in Seorae Village

  • Published : Dec 23, 2016 - 13:15
  • Updated : Dec 23, 2016 - 20:15
Owner-pastry chefs Ronan and Su-jin Kim Maillet do not skimp on salt and butter at their namesake dessert boutique in Seorae Village, Seoul.

Croissants get their snappy, crisp exterior from a liberal use of butter, while a light punch of salt heightens that lovely, butter-rich flavor.

One might think that the thick yet light layers of vanilla cream are what earn Maillet’s millefeuille a loyal fan base, but one should not discredit the buttery, flaky and slightly saline layers sandwiching that luscious cream. 

At Maillet, one will find an extensive selection of French desserts from treats like L’exo -- a mango and coconut cake -- to Bardan -- a lime-infused chocolate mousse. (Photo credit: Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Maillet’s riff off kouign-amann, a pastry that hails from owner-pastry chef Ronan’s native Bretagne in Northern France, also gains an extra oomph from a hint of salt.

It is the interplay of the uber-sweet, sticky caramelized outer shell and the buttery, salt-infused layers of pastry down the center that make Maillet’s kouign-amann a compelling partner for a strong cup of coffee.

Salt even plays a role in the in-house-made caramel used at Maillet.

“We only use salted caramel,” Su-jin, 36, revealed.

Salt and butter are not the only elements that make a trip to Maillet memorable. 

Maillet‘s new Seorae Village location marries mauve, periwinkle and turquoise with gold accents. (Photo credit: Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Husband-and-wife team Su-jin and Ronan, who both studied at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon and racked up experience in Paris before opening Maillet, display an extensive understanding of how to marry flavors to create sweets that are more than just sweet.

Satiny chocolate mousse delivers an unexpected surprise with its lime cream and jelly center as a cake christened Bardan, while mango cream, passion fruit jelly and a coconut dacquoise are fused into a fragrant, tart and fresh-tasting cake called L’exo.

Su-jin revealed that she and her husband, Ronan, initially launched their shop with modest aspirations.

“We wanted to make our own small place,” she explained.

After running their spot in Itaewon for over two years, the couple decided to move to a larger location and settled on a spot in Seorae Village.

The new boutique, which opened this August, marries edible hues of mauve, periwinkle and turquoise with gold accents.

In a huge glassed-off kitchen one can see them busily creating the sweets that are filling the showcase near the entrance.

When the doors open at 11:30 a.m., there are already customers waiting to empty those very showcases for a warm, freshly-baked croissant -- or for one of those toothsome cakes.


106-6 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
(02) 749-1411

Open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Cakes, tarts and pastries cost 3,200 won to 9,000 won, coffee-based drinks are 5,000 won to 9,000 won

By Jean Oh (