Opened in 2014 by Parisian pastry chef Romain Coupeaux and beautifully decorated by his mother, interior designer Florence Lunel, this delightful tea room in the heart of Lausanne is the perfect setting for lazy Sunday mornings or an afternoon treat with friends. It specialises in freshly made cakes and baked goods using seasonal fruits and no or minimal sugar. Having been named Tea Room of the Year for Switzerland by the Prestige judges, we spoke to Romain C. to find out more.
Can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in Paris. When I was 15, I completed an internship at a bakery which sparked my desire to become a pastry chef. I studied for four years in CEPROC (Centre d’Excellence des Professions Culinaires) and for two years at EBP Paris alongside an apprenticeship. For six years, I did one week at school and three weeks at work every month.
How did this help shape the concept for Romain C. Tea-Room?
The companies where I worked and the schools where I studied provided me with different experiences and taught me how to manage my business. I learned different techniques for making cakes. If there is a large or small quantity, the technique is different. It also taught me how to make viennoiserie and the freshest cakes possible. I worked for two years in a three-star Michelin restaurant, Le Meurice. This taught me how to make good quality and fresh cakes every day.
How important are the ingredients to the overall quality and taste?
I choose ingredients with less sugar, and I work with seasonal fruits. Pastry shops that use bad ingredients add lots of sugar to hide the lack of quality. If you use good quality ingredients you don’t need to add sugar. I love to bake with yuzu, vanilla, and chocolate from Venezuela. These ingredients are really expensive but also really tasty and healthy. When you have ingredients like that, you have to be careful how to use it and to respect it.
How do the seasonal ingredients help shape the menu?
Customers want new cakes all the time so using seasonal ingredients allows us to do just that. In September we have figs. In November, chestnuts. For Christmas coffee we use hazelnut and chocolate. In April, we have rhubarb. June is summer fruits such as strawberry and raspberry. August is apricot season. These seasonal ingredients help the pastry chef to be creative and constantly update the menu.
Are there any cake or pastry creations you are particularly proud of?
Since opening, we have offered an Éclair using chocolate from Venezuela. For this recipe, we do not add sugar so it’s really full of chocolate and customers love it! We also offer a popular lemon pie using lemon and yuzu with a cream and compote. For the viennoiserie, we sell croissants, kouing-amman and Chaussons aux pommes. Our customers love to eat it in the morning or the afternoon.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m really happy and proud to be awarded best tea room in Switzerland. I want to say thank you to all the customers and all people who work/worked in the shop.
Romain C. tea shop is open 08:00 until 18:00, Wednesday to Sunday. For more information, please visit: www.romain-c.ch