Le Bon Choix is a cafe/bakery tucked in the business district of Brisbane CBD. I walk past here all the time, but have never stopped in to try some of their pastries.
I finally dropped in to try a few pastries and see if they live up to the French standard that I enjoyed in France. The first thing I noticed where plenty of pretty cakes and pastries in glass cabinets to either side of the order counter. I also noticed that the staff spoke French to each other – something, if I am honest, I wasn’t expecting. Hmmmm…
The next thing I noticed was that the almond croissants were popular, as I spied at least 3 people happily munching on them.
So when it was my turn to order, I ordered a variety of pastries – the first was the almond croissant. It smelled delicious looked the way I remember… I cut a bit off and took a bite – it was flakey and slightly crunchy on the outside, and soft and moist on the inside. The almond flakes on top were toasted and fragrant. Good start. However it took me a while to get to the ground almonds on the inside as there wasn’t much of it there. The icing sugar on top was a bit heavy and the sweetness was overpowering. The almond croissant would have been much more enjoyable if there was less sugar on top and a bit more almond meal inside.
I also tried the apricot danish. Yes, yes, it isn’t strictly French. However you go into any decent bakery in France and amongst the flutes you will find fruit danishes. I would have preferred an apple danish, but they only had apricot, sour cherry, or pineapple. The pastry was buttery and crisp, and the vanilla custard was subtle. However the apricots weren’t fresh which disappointed me. Thinking back, I don’t think the pineapple or sour cherry danishes used fresh fruit. So I found the danish a bit ordinary.
I bought three different macarons to try – strawberry, espresso, and chocolate. I started with the espresso, which had a good coffee flavour to the shell. The shell was slightly crisp on the outside, and nice and chewy on the inside. But the filling wasn’t fresh butter cream – or at least, it certainly didn’t taste like it. The chocolate macaron was better, with a dark chocolate ganache filling. Nice. The strawberry macaron filling reminded me of premade/bought donut jam filling. I think it was actually raspberry flavoured. While the shell’s texture was nice, the actual flavour of the food colouring distracted me – I didn’t enjoy this one. Perhaps I am unusually sensitive with the flavour of food colouring – but it was pretty strong.
While paying for my pastries, there was a basket of sliced olive sourdough for customers to try. This was very very enjoyable. The crust was crunchy, the inside fluffy and light. The olives gave the bread a burst of flavour, and it was complemented with rosemary. I really enjoyed the bread. I probably wouldn’t call it a true sourdough, but still very nice.
Did Le Bon Choix remind me of the bakeries I visited in France? No, it did’t. There were too many things that weren’t quite right with everything I tried. Sure, the pastries weren’t a disaster, but nor were they outstanding in any way. I will return for the olive sourdough, but that’s it.