Thierry Patisserie – Updated! (Re-visited)

Restaurant: Thierry Patisserie
Cuisine: French/Bakery/Desserts/Pastries/Chocolates/Sandwiches/Cafe
Last visited: September  22, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Address: 1059 Alberni Street
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Pastry Chef Thierry Busset
  • Award winning pastry chef
  • Part of Top Table Group
  • Specializes in desserts
  • Artisan pastries/cakes
  • Handmade artisan chocolates
  • High quality ingredients
  • Limited gourmet sandwiches
  • Organic & Fair trade Coffee/Tea
  • Pay at cashier service
  • Wine & Beer/Fully licensed
  • Casual, but sophisticated
  • Eat in/Take-out
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Gift shop
  • Open daily Mon-Sun 7am-12am
  • Thierry – Visit from Aug. 12, 2011
  • Thierry – Visit from Feb. 24, 2014

**Recommendations: Fruit Tarts, Gianeuja Parisian Macaron, Chestnut Tart, Hazelnut Choux, Passionfruit Ganache Chocolate, Bouchette Feuillantine Chocolate

lt’s been about 5 weeks or so since I last visited Thierry Patisserie, which also means it’s been open for about the same time. My first visit was during its soft opening (see here), and now that they’re more into the grove of things I thought it was appropriate for a re-visit. So here’s my updated post!

The presentation looks cleaner and there’s more variety, which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing. Sure variety is nice, but with such a large menu it’s hard to make everything perfect, or even close to perfect. It’s challenging to keep the quality and detail and it was a bit more evident with some of their desserts than others. Although there were a lot of choices, there weren’t really things I couldn’t find anywhere else at the moment so I was hoping for something a bit more original.

The thing is, is that when I come into Thierry I almost come in with the highest expectations I have for desserts. It’s only because he’s one of my favourite award winning pastry chefs in the city, so it’s a bit natural to expect only the best. However the last time I left slightly underwhelmed, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt that it was still in the raw stages and that things were still getting settled.

Most of the pastries and croissants looked more finished than I remembered so that was already great. On the other hand the prices remained the same and I still found them slightly pricey, although given the area it’s somewhat expected. The things I’ve tried on my visits have been a bit hit or miss, and when I say “miss” I never mean it’s bad. It just means it’s either not as well executed as I had hoped, or some of the ingredients were sacrificed to save costs, which affected the flavour.

The Parisian macarons are one of the best sellers, but I don’t think it’s the best thing they do here. I was quite tough on these brightly coloured rainbow macarons on my last visit (see here), but to better explain myself I wrote a post called “The Perfect Parisian Macaron“. The purpose was just to give a point of reference since food can be so subjective.

As much as I am a fan of Pastry Chef Thierry Busset, I really do miss the intricate details of his desserts. I’m not expecting fine dining CinCin desserts (Thierry is the award winning pastry chef from CinCin), but I was hoping that there wouldn’t be such a gap between the two. I would almost rather have a limited selection of world class desserts rather than everything under the sun at 70-80%.

Although more expensive, I have more satisfaction going to CinCin for dessert, but for a casual occasion in the context of downtown Vancouver, there is a limited selection of dessert only places . By no means is Thierry Patisserie a bad option, but I’m still wanting more from it, especially since I know I’ve had better from the same man, or brand.

On the table:

**Hazelnut Choux 5/6

  • $5.50
  • This was my favourite of the desserts I tried this day.
  • This was basically 4 home made hazelnut cream puffs glued together with a candied caramelized sugar syrup and pipped whipped cream to cover up the “glue”.
  • It was almost like a mini croquembouche, which is a traditional French puff pastry tower served on special occasions.
  • It was actually a very light dessert and it wasn’t nearly as rich, creamy or indulgent as I thought it could be. It was very easy to eat and enjoy.
  • Each cream puff was airy light, tender and moist, with a crispy and crunchy nutty and sweet caramelized hazelnut praline topping.
  • The crust was extra crunchy because there was a crystallized candied sugar layer underneath the nuts which also acted as the glue.
  • It almost gave the illusion of more hazelnuts than there actually was. It didn’t bother me and I still enjoyed the texture and sweetness it brought.

  • The texture was beautiful and when you bit through the choux pastry there would be this light hazelnut cream that wasn’t as thick or rich as normal.
  • There was a hint of real vanilla bean seeds in the cream and it wasn’t too sweet and it carried a gentle flavour of hazelnut.
  • The sweetness actually came from the candied hazelnut crust rather than the pastry cream.
  • The pastry cream wasn’t greasy and overall it delivered all the flavours it promised.
  • I was hoping for the candied caramel syrup to be spun in spider web like strands around the entire tower like it traditionally would be, but this was still delicious as is.

Hazelnut Pithivier – 3/6

  • $4.95
  • Yes, I am a fan of hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios and all types of nuts in desserts.
  • I hear about Chocolate & Hazelnut Pithivier, but this was the first time I heard of just hazelnut. It made it more of a tea time pastry rather than a dessert which was nice too.
  • This is a substantial and dense pastry, but it’s very light in flavours and not that sweet at all.
  • The flakey sheets of puff pastry were nice and crispy around the edges and soft and tender in the middle from probably the moisture of the filling.
  • The texture was great but the pastry sheets needed a bit more sugar and salt because it was a bit bland with the exception of the shiny glazed top layer which was sweet.

  • For a hazelnut filling there actually was very little hazelnut and the flavour of it was a bit masked or muddled.
  • There were hazelnuts crumbs in it, but it was still more like a paste mixed with other ingredients which dominated it.
  • The filling came across as ground hazelnut crumbs mixed with butter, sugar and flour with maybe nutmeg or clove (?).
  • It kind of reminded me of a chestnut paste or even taro root paste and it had a bit of a mashed yam like texture. I strongly feel that there’s pureed chestnut in it.
  • The filling was lightly sweetened and soft, but it wasn’t that apparent as a hazelnut dessert.
  • Not very comparable, but I do get more satisfaction from an almond croissant if I’m going to have a tea time pastry.

Pistachio Chocolate Cake 3/6

  • Chocolate genoise and mousse + pistachio mousse $5.75
  • I was hoping for more pistachio in this. It would have been great if there were pistachios in the cake as well, although I know it’s expensive.
  • The edges of the chocolate cake had dried out.
  • They needed those plastic wrappers to go around the cake to keep it moist. I know it’s not environmental friendly, but if it’s going to sit pre-cut in the display case for some time, it needs insulation.
  • The bottom cake layer was actually very moist and almost wet and I think it was soaked with some orange liqueur, although it wasn’t strong and quite mild.
  • The chocolate cake was a light Italian sponge cake and it was made with bittersweet chocolate, but it was probably 65% chocolate so it wasn’t that dark.
  • The chocolate mousse was a bit floral and it had more of a dark chocolate flavour than the cake. It actually had more chocolate flavour than the cake overall.
  • The pistachio mousse was almost more like a whipped cream and it had a very faint pistachio flavour that was perhaps enhanced with some pistachio extract and maybe even some almond extract. I could taste a hint of pistachio, but it was mild and more aromatic than it was nutty.
  • The cake tasted quite basic with lots of chocolate flavour that overpowered the pistachio.
  • I was also hoping for more nutty, crispy or crunchy texture. It would help if the bottom cake layer had a crispy wafer crust.
  • Totally not comparable, but on the topic of pistachio cake, an amazing one is the Blueberry Pistachio Cake from Bakery Nouveau in Seattle.

Parisian Macarons3/6

  • $1.75
  • It’s probably the best deal in town for a macaron, but I’m still not keen on the composition of them. It was time for a retry.
  • I do like the quality of the fillings and the use of real fruits, but they are a bit intense with food colouring.
  • The Mecca of macarons, Ladurée and Pierre Hermes, use food colouring too, but a bit less wouldn’t hurt.
  • I wrote about them last time see here, and I thought I may have been a bit tough on them, but I actually enjoyed the flavours I had last time more than this time.
  • As mentioned in the intro, just for point of reference, I wrote a post called “The Perfect Parisian Macaron“, so you can see where I’m coming from.
  • In the end it’s always going to be a sugary sweet delicious cookie, but there are specific things I look for when enjoying a macaron.

Coconut Macaron2.5/6

  • $1.75
  • This was basically no longer a Parisian macaron. It was an American one.
  • The macaron cookies were almost made out of all ground coconut. It was delicious, moist and chewy and perhaps a bit too sweet from the added egg white and sugary meringue, but it wasn’t a macaron (French), but a macaroon (American).
  • It was filled very generously with a good quality dark chocolate ganache which was still quite sweet, and overall it was just like an American coconut macaroon dipped in chocolate, but this time sandwiched.
  • This was a bit sweeter than the others I’ve tried.
  • You can tell the cookies were a bit denser because a traditional Parisian macaron would be too delicate to be able to withstand the weight of even 3 coconut flakes. This one was covered with ground coconut.
  • It still tasted good, but it was just in a new category.

Pistachio & Apricot Macaron3.5/6

  • $1.75
  • I had this flavour last time, but it looked significantly different this time so I reordered it.
  • The colour was much darker and heavier with the food colouring.
  • It was still soft and cakey almost all the way through just like last time. I was hoping for a crisp shell as macarons should have, but it was still MIA.
  • There was still the fresh piece of apricot in the centre, which was nice, but only for that one bite, so a jam spread or fruit puree might have worked better.
  • I remember it having a stronger pistachio flavour last time and this time it was faint.
  • The white chocolate ganache was good quality and quite sweet, but I think there was more white chocolate than pistachio paste. I feel like last time it had more pistachio paste in the filling. Regardless the quality of the chocolate and texture of the ganache is great.

**Thierry Chocolates4.5/6

  • Thierry is a chocolatier, so these handmade artisan chocolates really shouldn’t be missed.
  • Along with these, my favourite chocolates in Vancouver are from Thomas Haas, Cocoa West Chocolatier, and Christophe Artisan Chocolatier.
  • These chocolates aren’t as intricate and detailed as some of the others I mentioned, but the quality of chocolate he’s using is amazing.

**Passion Fruit Ganache Chocolate5/6

  • $1.95
  • The passion fruit flavour was infused into the creamy smooth semi-sweet chocolate ganache filling. It was obvious, but not very strong.
  • There was a beautiful tang and fruity sweetness to the chocolate and the passion fruit flavour kicked in after the chocolate flavour, but it finished with a bitter accent of the high quality dark chocolate shell.
  • Personally I prefer the infusion method over the gelée, but if you want more passion fruit flavour, you might want a gelée version. Thomas Haas tends to make gelée versions with fruit flavoured chocolates.
  • I loved the one here, but on another note, XOXOLAT has a unique Passionfruit Matcha chocolate.

Pistachio Ganache4.5/6

  • $1.95
  • Compared to the pistachio white chocolate ganache in the pistachio macaron above, this one had more pistachio paste content.
  • It had a nuttier pastier texture and it wasn’t as sweet and I wonder if the ganache filling in the macaron was enhanced with a bit of pistachio extract.
  • The dark bittersweet chocolate shell was hard and crisp and it’s flavour was stronger than the sweeter more floral pistachio.
  • Th pistachio may have some almond extract and the quality of the chocolate was so high that it didn’t bother me that it was dominating.
  • A nice pistachio nut garnish on top would have been nice.
  • I also love the Pistachio Truffle from XOXOLAT.

Pistachio Marizipan Chocolate 2.5/6

  • $2.25
  • Yup! I love pistachio… but at $2.25 just because it has marzipan? It may have been house made marzipan (ground almond paste), but still.
  • This one was a bit too boozy for me. It had a bit of an acidic tang and bitterness that was resulting from the alcohol and not the bittersweet chocolate.
  • I think there may be amaretto in this. The texture was very pasty and grainy although moist.
  • The pistachio paste and marzipan almost made it extra granular and sugary in texture. I’m not really sure if either flavour really shined because I couldn’t get over the sharpness of the liqueur (if that’s what it was).
  • The chocolate was still great quality chocolate though.

Tea Ganache Chocolate4.5/6

  • $1.95
  • This one even smelled like tea. It had great aromatics.
  • I could taste the strong Earl Grey flavour immediately and the aromatic orangey notes matched the bittersweet chocolate.
  • The tea was infused so there were no actual tea leaves in it.
  • It was for any palate who appreciates the bitter side of chocolate. That’s me, and I loved it!

**Bouchette Feuillantine Chocolate6/6

  • $1.95
  • Sorry! It’s not the nicest picture, but it was really hard to cut this one.
  • It was a hard chocolate and the middle wasn’t a creamy ganache, but it was softer than the shell.
  • This was hands down my favourite choice.
  • It tasted like a gourmet bite sized version of a Crunch chocolate bar.
  • It had crispy wafers throughout which I love, giving it a nutty texture, but not flavour.
  • The wafers are actually Feuillantine which are thin sheets of phyllo like pastry dough. In this context they’re stacked upon one another so that it’s thicker resembling a wafer. I just loved the texture.
  • This was a winner.

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