Le Bon Choix
379 Queen St, Brisbane
A few times trekking between the city and valley, I would walk past Le Bon Choix and take a peak inside. Even so, it took me a while to realize it was a French patisserie but once I did, I start noticing all these online references recommending it as one of Brisbane's best bakeries. Being a huge bread/cake/pastry enthusiast, this obviously sky-rocketed Le Bon Choix onto my 'go to list'.
Translated, the bakery means 'the best choice'. I went one morning with the intention of getting breakfast. After a wrong bustop and short walk through the rain, I finally made it and the first thing I noticed was how busy it was. I sort of imagine weekday mornings to be very rushed but there was a surprising number of people sitting down, sipping coffee and enjoying their breakfast.
I noticed a sign outside that I thought said 'French toast' but I didn't want to go out again to double check (again, because of the rain). When it was my turn at the counter, I tentatively asked if that's what the sign said but the girl thought I said 'brioche toast' and I was too tired to argue. On the plus side, much of the communication difficulties came from the fact that she seemed genuinely French. As well as the thick accent, I caught the staff speaking French to each other.
The brioche toast came in 3 thin slices, perfectly golden, served with a tiny jug of maple syrup. Brioche is one of those foodie buzz words have have become part of the mainstream ("No, it's not ordinary bread and butter pudding, it's brioche bread and butter pudding"), alongside many others (will compile a list when I get a chance) yet I hadn't really tried it plain and simple before.
To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed. I know that not having any other encounter with plain brioche automatically disqualifies me from being able to make a comparative statement but it was just so ordinary. The maple syrup helped but only because it introduced some kind of flavor to an otherwise unexciting breakfast.
I also ordered a latte which was average for city cafe standards. By that I mean it was pretty good but nothing that stood out to me.
These items I enjoyed whilst reading a paper, propped up on a bench seat overlooking the street. I love, love, love people watching when I have the time. I find it therapeutic.
Aside from my breakfast, I also purchased 2 croissants to take home.
The almond croissant had a nice, subtle almond flavor. The filling was sparse (which in this case, is suitable) and the exterior was sticky, chewy and flaky at once.
Quite tasty but was it ground-breaking? Not really. I didn't want to have more.
I actually found the chocolate croissant disappointing. Sure, it tasted good (in a way that layers of pastry puffed with butter, interspersed with a smattering of dark chocolate inevitably does) but I think I'm spoilt by the chocolate croissants at the French bakery stand in the Brisbane Markets. Now THEY are truly amazing.
All considered, Le Bon Choix had all the elements of a great bakery experience besides the taste of the products themselves. The chic decor, pricey menu, busy clientele and French-speaking waitstaff will lead you to believe that the breads and pastries they serve are authentic and otherworldly. Having never been to France, I can't dispute authenticity but I can say with confidence that the bread and croissants are no where close to the best I've had else where.