Review of Dominique Ansel Bakery - home of the Cronut
As you may know, Dominique Ansel is the creator of the Cronut - a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. His first bakery was opened in New York back in 2011 and since then, his creations have been popular the world over. So along with everyone else, I was super excited to hear he was opening a new branch in London.
Having let the opening rush die down a little, I finally got myself down to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in London. As it's been open for just a little over a month now, there wasn't the massive queue outside anymore. Which was great for me.
Once I stepped inside, I felt like I'd transported to a totally different world! The decor was elegant, yet sleek and modern at the same time. it was also super white, with a few dashes of the signature yellow across the shelves. Half of the bakery is the seating area. The other half is where you queue up to order (it's the same queue whether you're eating in or taking away), and are made to wait in line for about 10 - 15 minutes gawping at the beautifully created cakes at the counter. You can also pick up some pre-packaged goodies like Almond Brittle (£3.75) or tubs of mini meringues - but that means you'll have to resist eating it before you pay!
It was finally my turn to order! My friend had gone to get a table for us, so it was down to me to decide what to get. There was so much choice that I really did have a hard time choosing. But as we're girls and always have stomach space for dessert, I did a bit of a big order for us.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot (£4.80) - ok so this looked and sounded super exciting: chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass, lined with chocolate and filled with cold infused Tahitian vanilla milk. So we patiently wait, as they're freshly made to order. About 5 minutes later, the waitress brings over the cookie shots. She gently places them down onto the table and pours the milk inside - I had a quick feel and the cookie shots certainly were warm. Of course, we faffed around a bit taking pictures from various angles, before we said cheers. Then there was the awkward silence. The anti-climax. The "this isn't worth £4.80" look. Maybe I should've eaten it whilst it was still warm, or maybe it wasn't warm enough to begin with? Either way, cookies and cream should be nice even if served cold. If these weren't served like a shot glass, I really wouldn't have much to say about them.
Paris-London (£7.40) - a twist on the classic Paris-Brest (choux pastry filled with praline flavoured cream). Dominique Ansel's one is filled with Earl Grey mousse, lemon curd and blackberry ganache, there was also a white chocolate ring wrapped around it. The decoration was the main thing that enticed me though - so cute! The choux pastry was crisp, fluffy and had a gentle vanilla fragrance. The different textures of the filling made the overall Paris-London exciting to eat. However, I didn't really taste the Earl Grey and I thought the lemon curd and blackberry ganache lacked in sharpness too.
Salted Caramel Eclair (£5.40) - I find it hard to say no to anything with salted caramel in it. So snapped this eclair up. Also because it looked pretty. I mean, look at that cute picture on the chocolate! Like the Paris-London, the choux pastry for this Salted Caramel Eclair was crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The chocolate piece on top was heavenly creamy. The filling was equally as heavenly with it's smooth creamy texture. But again, I felt the flavours were lacking here.
Peanut Butter Mousse Cake (£7.10) - last but not least, I had this beautiful glossy cake. There was just something so perfect about that glaze, that made it so mesmerizing to look at. Also because I love peanut butter. So I was really excited to be trying this cake. I carefully cut into the cake, through that wobbly glaze until I hit the crunchy base. To my surprise there was caramel centre! This peanut butter mousse cake won all the points in terms of appearance. The taste? Better than the others. I think the caramel taste was stronger than the flavour of the peanut butter mousse. But I liked the crunchy base - which was supposed to be cinnamon and caramelised puff rice. The best part of this cake was the caramel filled chocolate piece sitting neatly on top.
So including the two pots of tea, a pack of the almond brittle to take home and paying VAT on eating in, I ended up spending a total of £39.25. Did I think it was worth it? If it was purely on taste, then no. But if I take into account the skill in making everything I had, then I guess it was a price to pay. I truly admire Dominique Ansel and his team, for their passion and creativity. Sadly I didn't get to try the signature Cronut as they'd sold out for the day. But I'll be back soon!
Address: 17-21 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia/Victoria, London, SW1W 9RP
Phone: 020 7324 7705
Opening Times: Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 9am - 8pm