My lovely friend Alice introduced me to the delights of the Dominique Ansel bakery in London today. Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut – a croissant-donut hybrid which I encountered first in the Dum Dum Donutterie Zebra cronut – so I was excited to try the original. Ansel has won a plethora of awards – World’s Best Pastry Chef 2017 (what an accolade!), World’s Best 50 Restaurants, ‘Most Innovative People Under 40’ in Business Insider 2014, to name just a few. He has restaurants around the world, beginning in NYC and opening in London on the beautiful Elizabeth Street in Belgravia in 2016.
Alice had their ‘perfect egg sandwich’ and cookie-shot – a ‘glass’ made of chocolate cookie lined with chocolate and filled with cold-infused Tahitian vanilla milk.
I thought I would just have the Cronut but was seduced by the avocado toast with ricotta and pickled radishes first, abiding by my rule that ‘savoury first makes the sweet even better’. Their cappuccino was pretty good too.
Onto the Cronut. TIME magazine hailed it as one of the best inventions of 2013. Ansel’s website claims ‘it became the most virally talked about dessert item in history’. Each month there is a different version. October’s is ‘homemade caramel coulant and creamy popcorn ganache with a bit of salted sugar on the outside’. The caramel was creamy and oozy with a pleasantly bitter note to overset the sweetness; the popcorn ganache (with popcorn decoration on the top) was a touch smoky. The texture was balanced perfectly between croissant and doughnut but the salted sugar pushed it over to the sweet doughnut side. I loved it.
Ratio of filling to dough: A. (Not as generous as Bread Ahead’s Eton Mess but still enough to spoon into my mouth from the plate afterwards)
Value: A (At £4:50 it’s my most expensive doughnut this year, but it was well worth it!)
The bakery itself is a charming place to meet up with a friend. The back wall is Instagram-perfect with a wall of autumnal leaves and more hanging from the ceiling in glass baubles. Service at the counter is a touch slow but it gives you plenty of time to admire the colour and craftmanship of their different creations and contemplate what you might take home with you (I’ve bought a cronut for Sam to have when he gets in later tonight).