A critical review of croissants in London.
Reporter: Yueer Wang | Subeditor: Ivelina Nikolova
A buttery croissant, a good companion for coffee, is a quick, easy and popular breakfast choice in Britain. The pastries are so simple that only consist of basic ingredients, so it’s crucial that every element should be exactly perfect. Taste three top-rated patisseries in London, the review tells where the best place to eat croissants is.
Maison Bertaux is a retro tiny SOHO patisserie that features authentic French baked goods. It is better to visit it at around 10 am, when a batch of croissant comes freshly baked from the oven. The golden pastries are in large size, with a traditional curvaceous crescent shape and a creamy butter smell. Tear the croissant in half, large pieces of crisp shell drop, indicating that a butter slab is encased entirely in a dough during the production. Bite its end, the croissant bursts with crunchiness at the first several chews, and then fluffy and moisture taste.
The croissants are £2.50 each for dine in, which is higher than the average price. For Maison Bertaux director Metin Mehmet, the price is reasonable, because “to make croissants is time-consuming, the bakers have to prepare a day before to let them rising.”
It is not an exaggerated review that Maison Bertaux’s croissants are perfect, because the golden-brown colour, fragile crust, soft interior, distinct layers, and buttery taste are exactly right on target. “There are no patisseries in London selling handmade croissants as good as ours,” said Metin.
Price: £1.5 (take away)/ £2.5 (dine in)
Address: 28 Greek St, London W1D 5DQ
The bakery of the French brasserie Balthazar has a bespoke wood-fired oven on its Covent Garden’s shop, creating artisan breads and pastries.
The croissant is straight, and has a remarkable flaky outer crust. But there is no smell of toasted butter, and what the croissant gives off is a slight scent of flour. Cut it in half, the interior has distinct honeycomb layers. However, it emits an even stronger odour of yeast, which is not agreeable. It has a crunchy taste at the beginning, but then, the croissant chews like lifeless dry bread. It also has a flavour of black pepper, which is not enjoyable at all. Link the taste with its dark colour, the croissant might be baked in the traditional oven for a bit long, resulting in the hard interior.
“The kitchen runs 24 hours every day, and we also supply big department stores like Selfridges,” a bakery assistant said. So, maybe it is about how lucky you are when choosing a croissant, otherwise, the quality is likely to drag down the level of luxury departments.
Price: £1.85 (take away)/ £2.25 (dine in)
Address: 4-6 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ
This golden-brown, little curved croissant from the French chain bakery is neither exceptional nor frustrating.
Paul’s croissant is in a small size, and it gives off a slight smell of creamy butter. It is light and soft, and the cross section has clearly layers. The large gaps between the dough sheets show that the croissant uses adequate butter and has a proper lamination. But the outer layer is not flaky but pillow-tender, and there’s no crunchy sound on the first bite. The taste of the pastry is not as fluffy as it looks like, which might because of the long shelf time.
But if the croissants are freshly baked, they may be crisp. And as a chain bakery’s product, it is fairly good.
Price: £1.5 (take away)/ £1.9(dine in)
Address: 29 Bedford St, London WC2E 9ED
According to the quality of croissants in the three patisseries, Maison Bertaux is the best place to go for a breakfast croissant.