After discovering through TimeOut London that Dominique Ansel opened his bakery in Belgravia two days ago, my husband and I couldn't contain our excitement. I have only been to Dominique Ansel Bakery once in New York when I visited Dexter in 2013, but unfortunately too late for Cronuts. Yes, the famous Cronut. If this sounds Greek to you, the Cronut is a croissant and doughnut hybrid invented by pastry chef Dominique Ansel. To describe how good it is in a nutshell: Time magazine named the Cronut® as one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2013.
The bakery, the queue, and the treats
Located along Elizabeth Street in Belgravia and just a 1-minute walk from Victoria Coach Station, the bakery would be hard to miss in its signature yellow glory. We arrived at the bakery at 8:15 in the morning, expecting we would be greeted by a long queue. To our surprise, there were only five people waiting outside. We had 45 minutes left to kill. After a short while, a lady came out with a tray of mini madeleines and hot chocolate! It was the perfect combination for London's 9-degree weather.
At half past 8, there were around 20 people in the queue and people just kept coming. Few minutes before opening, we were welcomed by the staff outside with a short introduction, and then Dominique Ansel himself for a group selfie. Talk about a warm morning welcome!
Dominique Ansel Bakery is undeniably pastry heaven with a wide selection of macarons, croissants, cakes, tarts, cookies, and London exclusive sweets. Soups and salads are also on the menu including savoury dishes. Made-to-order treats like Frozen S'mores and Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots immediately caught our attention. This bakery isn't like any other bakery, Dominique Ansel continues to invent, create, and infuse creativity in his creations.
To add to his now amazing menu, the bakery will soon have Afternoon Tea - something Londoners will definitely be excited about!
The sugar high
Having waited 45 minutes on the queue (which is nothing compared to New York standards) we were ready to order and eat as much as we can for a sugar-loaded breakfast. We ordered cronuts (every person is only allowed 2 cronuts), DKA, and Welsh Rarebit Croissant. We also ordered three London exclusive pastries - Liquid Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Cake, Paris-London, and 'After The Rain' Mousse Cake.
Apart from the Cronut, the Welsh Rarebit Croissant and 'After The Rain' Mousse Cake stood out the most from everything we ordered. The cappuccino and hot chocolate were spot on, too!
Let's keep it simple: the Cronut was everything I wanted and expected the Cronut to be. It had the crustiness and flakiness of a croissant, a mild crunch on the outside, a whiff of buttery air with every bite. But then it had the softness and comfort a doughnut always brings, this one flavoured Salted Butterscotch and Cocoa Nib. Dominique Ansel will be introducing one flavour every month, never repeating.
To queue or not to queue
Don't be misled, the (long) queue is only long for those queuing for the Cronut! There's a non-Cronut line for ordering coffee and getting anything else from the menu. But still, it's definitely, definitely worth the wait for the world famous Cronut. It didn't come all the way to London for nothing.