Faubourg

Restaurant: Faubourg
Cuisine: French/Bakery/Desserts/Cafe
Last visited: October 19, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Kerrisdale)
Address: 2156 W 41st Ave
Price Range: $10 or less, $16 afternoon tea

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

Food: 3.5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Authentic Parisian pastries
  • Some modern style pastries
  • Gourmet baked goods
  • Freshly baked bread
  • Sweet & savoury items
  • Afternoon tea
  • Local favourite
  • Modern atmosphere

Opening hours

  • Coffee Shop All days 7:00 – 19:00
  • Bistro – Breakfast Monday – Friday 8:00 – 11:00
  • Bistro – Lunch Monday – Friday 11:30 – 14:00
  • Bistro – Afternoon Tea Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 17:00
  • Bistro – Brunch Saturday & Sunday 9:00 – 15:00

**Recommendations: Lemon Tart

I’ve been wanting to try Faubourg for so long now! I’m rarely in the area and it’s not that dessert doesn’t always call my name, but a lot of food calls my name. However this time, it heard me calling its name and it came to me! Well that is with the generosity of my lovely friend. She brought them over so we could eat them while watching the sweet pudding and pies episode of Recipe to Riches. I didn’t win in my category, but these sure made the night more enjoyable.

Faubourg specializes in authentic Parisian baked goods and desserts and it’s supposed to be on the same caliber as Vancouver’s beloved Thomas Haas. Thomas Haas is one of my favourites, so I was really looking forward to this. Faubourg is more of a restaurant though and they do offer a cafe and bistro serving savoury foods as well as a popular afternoon tea. It’s not a specialty cake or chocolate shop and it’s more about the baked good and pastries, which I probably prefer anyways.

I think visiting the actual location would have made a difference because the atmosphere is supposed to be part of the experience here. However being taken out of the context, it kind of helps me really focus on the food, which is essentially what you’re buying anyways.

Our dessert and pastry scene in Vancouver kind of struggles, so I’m always waiting for the next best thing. This isn’t the newest thing, but it does belong in the same caliber as places like Thomas Haas, Giovane Cafe, and the most recently opened Thierry.

Generally I did enjoy the things I tried, but my expectations were set higher. My biggest bias is that I had it on the same pedestal as Thomas Haas before even trying it. Most of it was executed and presented professionally, but I did find it hit or miss. If I knew nothing about the name, I wouldn’t really have guessed it was from what was supposed to be one of the best pastry shops in town.

On the table:

**Lemon Tart6/6 (FMF Must Try!)

  • Our best seller! Rich, smooth and tangy lemon curd atop vanilla milk foam in our flaky buttery tart shell and finished with pearl sugar for an unexpected crunch $5.50
  • The item with the stamp of “Faubourg” approval is usually the hit! And it was!
  • This possibly was the best in town! This lemon tart is the signature dessert and must try item!
  • This isn’t just any lemon tart, this is a very unique lemon tart.
  • It was almost like eating a lemon tart with an airy light marshmallow (but better) and there were great textures and unique components.
  • I’m not even a lemon tart obsessed person, but this made me into a huge fan of them and it’s not something most people could do at home.

  • It wasn’t even a fluid creamy lemon curd. The curd was almost gelatin like and it cut clean without the usual creaminess of a lemon curd.
  • It was a light curd, that wasn’t too sweet and it had the brightness and zing of fresh lemon.
  • It wasn’t sour and it still melted in my mouth despite being a stiffer curd.
  • The texture of the curd was light and it didn’t seem rich at all like the description suggested.
  • It’s not a flaky tart shell like the description said either.
  • It’s a very thin, crisp, and even shortbread tart that was lightly sweetened and even flavoured with real vanilla beans. I loved that detail and it was enjoyable alone.
  • My favourite part was the vanilla milk foam, which was such a surprise since I wasn’t expecting it!
  • I didn’t have the description, and I thought it was a very light and moist marshmallow-meringue like layer.
  • It’s not starchy, sugary or heavy at all, but it’s stiffer than a liquid foam and it is lightly sweetened.
  • The foam was airy light like egg whites, but you could cut through it. It’s very spongy and very moist and I haven’t had anything like it.
  • I couldn’t tell it was flavoured with vanilla though and it would have been great to see some vanilla bean seeds in it.
  • The pearl sugar edge almost added a pop rock like texture and this lemon tart was definitely worth remembering.
  • I would no doubt come back for this and highly recommend it. They sell out early sometimes too, so call ahead to secure your order!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart4/6 (Very good)

  • A butter-rich shortbread pastry shell filled with a smooth, creamy dark chocolate & raspberry ganache $5
  • This was done very professionally and it had the pretty factor, but it would be great to see the top decorated with more fresh raspberries.
  • I’m not huge on raspberry and chocolate, or chocolate tarts, because it’s a lot of one thing, so I do like more textures and components if I have them.

  • The tart shell was very thin, crisp, lightly sweetened and well flavoured again and I loved that.
  • I liked the addition of an almond praline edge which gave this very rich and indulgent tart more texture.
  • There was a lot of good quality dark chocolate infused with raspberry puree, and it was nice and smooth, but very rich.
  • It was bittersweet chocolate, not very sweet at all, and it had earthy and bitter notes with a subtle raspberry tang at the end.
  • In between the chocolate ganache and the tart shell was a thin layer of fresh raspberry puree with the seeds and all. It enhanced that fruity tartness required to break things up.
  • Without the raspberry puree layer, the chocolate was very faint with raspberry flavour.
  • For a chocolate and raspberry tart, it was very good, but if I have this combination I prefer it in cake like versions – see Mini Ganache Chocolate, Raspberry Bavarian Cream from Giovane Cafe and Chocolate Raspberry from Miku Restaurant.
Spiced Hazelnut Apple Cake3.5/6 (Good-Very good)
  • Our gingerbread cake and delicious hazelnut frangipane complemented by the tartness of Granny Smith apples brings this warm dessert together $4.50
  • It helps that I didn’t have the description because I wanted to see if I could guess what it was without it.
  • I thought it was a gingerbread apple spice cake with an almond marzipan cookie like layer.

  • The ginger bread cake was done well and it was quite moist and dense with a tighter crumb like a loaf rather than a muffin or a cake.
  • It wasn’t buttery, ultra moist, or a very sweet gingerbread, but it had a strong flavour of spices like nutmeg, cloves and ground ginger.
  • In the middle would be random slices of crunchy tart apples and the apples weren’t spiced because the bread was.
  • I did like having the apples throughout and not only on top and it would have been great to have hazelnuts in the bread part too.
  • There was so much gingerbread that the hazelnut frangipane topping didn’t seem to make much of a difference in flavour or texture though.
  • There was very little hazelnut crumbs it in and I thought it was an almond marzipan crumble (which is more or less frangipane). It was heavier with butter, flour and sugar than it was nuts, but it wasn’t that sweet or very nutty, and just floury.
  • The gingerbread was good, but there weren’t enough hazelnuts to called it a “Spiced Hazelnut Apple Cake”.

Almond Croissant2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Consisting of our famous Croissant, we fill them with frangipane and once baked, we decorate them with sliced almonds and icing sugar $2.95
  • Almond croissants are one of my all time favourite pastries so I have high expectations for them, and I was really let down by this one.
  • The croissant could have been more baked and more caramelized and it didn’t have that crunch when you bite down on it.
  • It’s natural to immediately compare it to the famous Thomas Haas almond croissants where the top is crusted with an overwhelming amount of almonds and it has that desired crunch.

  • The croissant dough looked good, but it delivered only half way.
  • It wasn’t that oily or greasy, which is good, but it wasn’t that buttery in flavour, even though that’s the main ingredient.
  • The exterior was very flaky and the middle was airy light, but it wasn’t that moist and almost bordering on a bit dry. It wasn’t stretchy, soft of chewy, but it looked good.
  • I think I was most sad with the lack of almond filling, or frangipane, in the middle.
  • Usually there’s a good amount of frangipane made from ground almonds and sugar in the middle and this one barely had any.
  • The frangipane was brown which is rare because it is usually yellow.
  • Regardless, the frangipane didn’t carry nutty or sweet flavour again and I wanted much more of it.
  • The croissant is definitely not as sweet as most, but when you have an almond croissant you do want it to be sweeter and caramelized.

Dark Chocolate and Pear Turnover2/6 (Okay)

  • This is Faubourg’s newest Viennoiserie item –  a puff pastry turnover that is filled with dark chocolate pastry cream and sweetened slices of Bartlett pear. About $3
  • This is the only one I actually really didn’t care for.
  • It kind of seemed like one of those “made with remaining ingredients” pastries, which is fine (no waste), but it just showcased more than it should here.
  • The croissant dough looked great again, but the flavour was quite subtle. It was light, crispy and flaky with many layers, but it was a bit dry and not really sweet or buttery in flavour. Maybe it just needed more salt?
  • It was filled with what I thought was a milk chocolate pudding. Well I said that it was lighter than a pudding, but stiffer than a mousse, but I didn’t guess it was a chocolate pastry cream.
  • I probably would have liked the chocolate a bit darker and almost more fluid.
  • The pears were just regular, cooked, semi-crunchy pears and I thought there could have been more done with this.
  • Something like this Chocolate Danish from The Loaf would have been excellent! It’s not in Vancouver, but it isn’t something that couldn’t be done here.

Dark Chocolate & Banana Croissant Pudding4/6 (Very good)

  • Chef selection of fruit and complementary ingredients with our homemade vanilla custard are used in creating a twist to this classic warm dessert $4.50
  • I really like bread pudding and I like these ingredients, so I liked this.
  • It was better when it was warmed up a bit though… and even better when I had it with ice cream.
  • This was a bread pudding made with croissant dough and that’s exactly what I called it without knowing what it was supposed to be.
  • It was quite dense and the top was a bit dry but the rest was very moist.
  • I couldn’t taste any vanilla custard and I just thought it was a solidified bread pudding since there was no creaminess.
  • There were however creamy chunks of banana and pieces of semi-melted soft dark chocolate chunks throughout which was great.
  • I did enjoy this, but knowing that there was supposed to be vanilla custard in it, I could have used more of that. I think that part just baked into the croissant.
  • There was a white chocolate drizzle on top, and this one actually felt like a dessert because it was sweeter than the other croissant based pastries I had.

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8 Comments

  • Glo McNeill says:

    Oh Mijune, I am drooling……I want that spicy gingerbread/apple/marzipan recipe! Yesterday I made one of our family favourite desserts, Reine de Saba, which is a dense almost flourless chocolate torte with lots of homemade marzipan in the batter, topped with a chocolate rum ganache, served with rum whipped cream….. but I adore good almond croissants.
    I make a killer moist gingerbread and am going to try it with a marzipan layer next..
    No really good bakeries here, but in Halifax El Mercato makes a killer chocolate caramel tart, which we have with their homemade cinnamon gelato..

  • Mijune says:

    @Glo – Oh Glo I’m sure you’d be able to make that gingerbread! Ohhh that Reine de Saba sounds like a chocolate version of your lemon pudding which I JUST ate!! Yummy! It was very light and I understand what you meant by the layers now! I’m still going to have the to make the actual recipe which I’m sure is even better! 🙂 Yes this lemon tart was a very different style than your lemon pudding, but both unique in their own ways. I’m going to have to visit you in Halifax one day so you can teach me how to bake!

  • Linda says:

    mmmm that lemon tart looks divine 🙂

    i’m not too much a fan of desserts but i do like pastries – i like the flakiness of crusts and the the buttery goodness of croissants so i think faubourg and i will get along fine 🙂 the lemon tart looks great and nothing like i’ve seen before – just for the dome aspect anyway lol i like that the curd wasn’t too sour – i find that so many places try to get the freshness and zing of the lemon but it ends up making my lips purse up! this definitely looks delish 🙂

    i LOVE almond croissants too but where’s the filling in this one?!?!?!??!?!?!?!? almost just looks like a regular croissant with a few almond slivers on top 🙁

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – If you like lemon tart, you probably haven’t had one like this for sure! The foam makes a different! The croissant wasn’t great here… well maybe the regular ones were better? The almond one made me sooo sad!

  • Angela says:

    Hey Mijune, awesome review 🙂 I especially love the pain chocolat at Faubourg, which seems to have the same dough as the croissant. It was always incredibly crunchy and caramelized on the surface though, perhaps without the travel time it would have been better?

    The lemon tart wasn’t that good when I tried it some time ago, I couldn’t really taste the vanilla layer. Maybe they improved the recipe – thanks for giving me the motivation to go try it again haha.

  • Mijune says:

    @Angela – aww thank you for the comment!

    I took travel into consideration and I did wait a few hours before having it, but even so the croissants should be much darker and the bottom should show visible caramelization… so I still question it, although I see what you’re saying. Travel could partially be responsible lol.

    aww! Yes! Try the lemon tart again, but I did write that I couldn’t taste any vanilla in the foam.. I could overlook it though because it’s still very good and unique! Yay!

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