Monday, April 11, 2011
Bonne Bouche - A Taste of Hazelnut Heaven
Bonne Bouche - 2-3 Thayer Street, Marylebone London W1U 3JD
(020) 7486 9584
One of the first places I hit in London, purely a result of my geography, was Marylebone High Street. For those of you who've been there or have heard of it, you won't be surprised about how enlightened and charmed I was by it. What a food and specialty store mecca! There were restaurants, coffee shops, patisseries on every corner, and I naturally had a hard time choosing what to try first.
Being that I had lunch at a nearby Persian restaurant (more on that later), I wanted to get a little something sweet to satisfy the sugar fiend in me. First seeing Paul, a high end French bakery and patisserie chain that's also located in the U.S., familiarity made me feel comfortable, but the exorbitant prices did not.
I walked down a few steps only to find a cute corner cafe and pastry shop called Bonne Bouche, which looked just as inviting and charming, but the prices were about a quarter of those at Paul. Hmmm...I was intrigued, and decided to try it.
What first drew me to Bonne Bouche was the wonderfully informal outdoor seating and its exterior quaintness. Even before walking inside, I could tell by the exterior that it'd be a sweet little French cafe and pastry shop with all your favorite classics such as eclairs, shortbread, tartes and more.
Once I actually walked inside the pastry shop, which is located right next to the Bonne Bouche cafe, I saw that it very much matched my perception. An enormously long display case dominated the room that showcased a plethora of beautiful baked goods. I liked the chilled out vibe in there and I felt that I could take my time admiring all the goodies and then ordering at my leisure, which I did.
After some deliberation (chocolate eclairs...marzipan...fruit tartes...etc), I decided on a chunky hazelnut treat.
Hazelnut Chocolate Shortbread - When I first looked at this dessert, I was transfixed - hazelnuts, chocolate, caramel, and shortbread? All my favorite things in a tight little package! Being in an unfamiliar place and liking recommendations, I asked my server if this was a good way to go and she affirmed it.
Before I dug into this gargantuanly rich treat, I walked for about two miles in and around Regents Park, with the hazelnut shorbread being my reward. Chocolatey and carameley on the outside, it had a lovely crunch from the chunky hazelnuts on top. I think that was my favorite component - making sure I got a bite of the nuts, loving the way their earthy flavor married with the indulgence of the chocolate and caramel. The sweetness of this dessert was dulled out by the buttery shortbread inside and while I didn't have any on hand, it begged for a tall glass of milk for a chaser. As the portion was quite large, I saved half of it for later, which I plan to savor soon.
Service and Cost:
As mentioned, the service was quick and informal and my server was helpful and knowledgeable when it came to suggesting products.
Costs are competitive, and for a very large treat that lasted me for two sittings, I paid 1.40 British Pounds, which is about $2.25.
3 Sticky and Sweet Mmmms