Sunday, March 18, 2018

Breakfast, plus Lunch, and more for Dinner

The waiting line was considered short and manageable when it "only" got to 15 people deep on a Saturday morning – that’s how popular our friend Gregoire’s bakery bakehouse has quickly become since it opened late last year. All of a sudden everyone is now craving for freshly baked pastries and bread and swamped the place. It’s not uncommon to see long line all day long 6 days a week with eager customers trying to score one of the goodies out of the oven.

I was deprived of decent pastries for a week while I was in Myanmar (with the exception of one lunch at Bagan where they made this amazingly crispy roll) so I desperately need some redemption. So with a relatively short waiting line, we decided to wait. Luckily, the first group of customers were about to leave when we arrived so it’s a quick 20 minute wait before we were seated just before 11am.

Unfortunately by the time we had our table they already sold out their Quiche Lorraine for the day (how can that possible – it’s not even lunch hour yet!) so I went with my second choice and ordered the cruffin instead, while wife ordered the cinnamon roll. They change their cruffin filling regularly and on the day of our visit it’s strawberry and vanilla. It took on the texture of croissant and the shape of a muffin so it’s buttery and flaky on the outside. Inside the filling was well-balanced and delicious - can totally see why people love it so much. I wasn’t that into sweet pastries to start my day with to be honest – that’s why I wanted the quiche instead in the first place – but I can deal with having this for my breakfast every day.

With a constant flow of new items coming out from the oven and the open kitchen behind the counter, it’s impossible to leave with only one piece of pastry. Soon we saw a new batch of croissant coming out so we asked Miles the front house manager to make us a ham and cheese croissant sandwich. Ooh la la… the croissant was perfect – flaky, buttery, airy and warm, and matched perfectly well with the slice of ham and cheese in between. Life's simple pleasure, I would say, all on this one little plate.

By the time we finished our croissant it’s approaching lunch hour already, so we decided to stay on and ate more. For weekend lunch they offered a few sandwiches on a la carte basis plus their soup du jour, with fresh ingredients coming straight from the Wanchai market next door. The day we went it’s roasted tomatoes soup with crème fraiche and drizzles of basil oil on top plus roasted hazelnuts – I swore this is much better than at least half the bistros in Hong Kong even those with proper, full kitchen and a full team of staff at the hot station. That's comfort food at its best.

I was expecting a deli-style cold sandwich when I ordered the grilled chicken with cheese, cole slaw and sriracha mayo, but instead it’s more like a burger and served warm. The milk roll was grilled with a good charred surface, and the mayo was very tasty. The chunks of chicken may be slightly overcooked but still to the level I could happily live with, and overall it was excellent and offered great value for what they charged. On the side there’s a few thin slices of house-made pickles as well and they did go well with the sandwiches. No wonder their sandwich offerings draw a crowd from all over the place especially during weekdays.

Well we came not only just for breakfast and lunch, but to get more baking goods for the dinner we were organizing, so we packed a whole lot more (sourdoughs, brioche, pretzels, baguette) to share the joy of having bakehouse pastries with our friends in the evening. And next time, I will remind myself to come even earlier for my Quiche Lorraine – I considered this a lesson learned.

When? March 3 2018
Where? Bakehouse, 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Croissant with Ham and Cheese

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