The space that once housed Dominique Ansel Bakery has recently welcomed a new owner. Chestnut Bakery is the new bakery hot spot in town that is founded by a team of highly regarded bakers to fill out the pastry void since Dominique Ansel’s exit. Apart from an abundance of wholesome sourdough and decadent pastries, the bakery also prides itself as a community bakery that aims to give back to the locals. They have previously donated loaves to their local school and raised money for the Chelsea pensioners. Currently, for every newsletter sign-ups, Chestnut Bakery will be donating a loaf of bread to a local food bank.
Similar to its former occupant, the bakery features a bright and charming interior. The bakery wasn’t too busy when I popped by around 9 am on a bank holiday Monday. Expect the friendliest smiles welcoming you and a plethora of pastries and bread on display as soon as you step into the bakery. I grabbed a table by the terrace area which is lined with light wooden tables and got a tangerine tree in the middle. It’s totally weather-proof as there’s a retractable roof over our heads as well as heaters lined on the walls for the colder months.
Here is what we had:
Lemon Meringue Croissant
First up, how gorgeous is this croissant?! Well, I’m more than delighted to tell you that it certainly tasted as good as it looked.
The twice-baked croissant features a superior gorgeous crispy exterior, whereas the inside reveals the perfect pastry lamination with an ultra airy texture in between. A smooth layer of lemon curd was slathered across the croissant halves and the torched meringue sat prettily on top with rose petals and a few candied lemon strips sprinkled over. Flavour-wise, there is a beautiful balance of sweetness against the zingy, citrusy flavour of the lemon curd. The texture was a phenomenal experience to savour as well All in all, it’s an incredible piece of pastry and for sure right up there with the matcha croissant from Cafe Kitsune.
The Mille Feuille is the very first pastry I laid eyes on when I walked into the bakery. Three layers of puff pastry filled with vanilla pastry cream in between with icing sugar dusted on top, the pastry looked too good to resist. The puff pastry was really incredibly flaky and light – almost wafer-like. While the vanilla pastry cream seeped sweetness, the overall pastry wasn’t very sweet at all. In fact, the puff pastry layers in particular almost had a coffee taste to them and created an interesting interlacing of flavours at every bite. There’s no doubt this slice of Mille-Feuille was of great quality but I couldn’t seem to decide if I really like it or not.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka
We’re used to seeing babka in big loaves, so seeing this rolled-up muffin-size one made me felt it’s too cute to not get one! Anyhow, the babka got a really rich chocolate hazelnut spread on top, which oozed decadence. The little bits of hazelnut toppings gave it a bit of texture against the gooeyness from the spread. Whilst the spread was a little too rich towards the end for my personal taste, I can certainly appreciate the prime house-made quality of it that really made the flavours pop. As for the babka, it was rolled up with a little bit of chocolate and was generally fluffy in texture. My interpretation of the entire pastry is that it’s similar to a cinnamon roll, but using babka dough instead and topped with chocolate hazelnut spread plus nuts. It’s a decent one in my opinion, but not particularly wowing.
Last but not least, the coffee! I’m happy to report that Chestnut Bakery serves some pretty good coffee. It would’ve been a crime otherwise to not have their coffee up to par with their pastry standards, right?
The coffee was strong and totally hit me with a buzz upon the first sip. It tasted rich and robust in flavour, with a very subtle acidity tone. If you’re a coffee lover and have been searching around town for a coffee that actually serves good coffee strength, this is one spot to keep on your list.
Chestnut Bakery is such a great and welcomed addition to the London market! I thoroughly enjoyed it there and I think it’s got the right package to bloom in this city. It offers top-notch quality pastries with the Lemon Meringue Croissant alone is stunning enough to have me revisiting again and again. If you’re looking for something savoury instead, I’ve heard plenty of good things about their Za’atar & Cheese Croissant too! All in all, it’s definitely a place worth stopping by.
Nearest station: Victoria