Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe – French Pastries/Desserts

Restaurant: Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe
Cuisine: Bakery/Desserts/Pastries
Last visited: January 23, 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC (Fairview)
Address: 2150 Fir Street
Transit: WB w Cloverleaf FS Granville St
Phone: (778) 689-4221
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 5 (based on this post and this post)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 3.5
Value: 3
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Owner/Home baker Jackie Ellis
  • Pastries/desserts
  • Made from scratch
  • High quality ingredients
  • Parisian baked goods
  • American baked goods
  • Limited premade savoury sandwiches
  • Local favourite
  • Popular items sell out
  • Casual/chic
  • Coffee/tea
  • Limited seating
  • Gifts to go
  • Eat in/Take out
  • Monday – Friday 7am-6pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 8am-6pm

**Recommendations: Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie, Marcona Almond Bar, Cheese Scone, Pain Au Chocolate, Pine Nut Croissant, Salted Caramel Eclair

Beaucoup Bakery  (10)“Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement t’oublier
Et puis je fume”
Lyrics from Je ne veux pas Travailler by Pink Martini

That’s the song that comes to mind every time I think about Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe. The translation is irrelevant but the song makes me happy much like this bakery. It is a good sign when I am presented a table full of baked goods and pastries and I can’t stop eating all of them. One bite turned into four and with every bite of “research” I realized I just wanted to devour the whole thing. Dessert is easily dinner here.

I have tried Beaucoup Bakery on a few occasions now, but it was my first visit to the cafe which opened December last year. I mentioned in my first post for Beaucoup Bakery (here), but the baker/owner is Jackie Ellis who has also become a friend now. Sure that means I have my biases, but Jackie is a perfectionist and she never lets me leave without asking for my honest opinion. We are both very detail oriented people and she is one tough cookie and doesn’t want things ‘sugar coated’.

She was inspired to open her bakery after traveling to France and enrolling in short-term pastry school in Paris. Opening the bakery was a long time dream for her and there is no way she is looking back after all the success and hype she has gotten. Word of mouth is spreading quickly and she has really made a stake in Vancouver’s pastry and baked goods scene.

Beaucoup Bakery  (9)I have pretty much said everything I’ve wanted to say in my first post, and nothing really changed except I went to the actual cafe this time. It was cute, quaint and charming with limited seating and you have to get there early because things sell out fast. I got there at around 4pm and many of the popular items were gone so Jackie just arranged my order with what was left. I must say “what was left” was not bad at all. I’d take “what was left” here any day… even if it fell on the floor! Just kidding… sort of. She has clean floors.

The only “con” is the pastries are on the small side and some items can be a bit pricey. The small scale labour and high quality of ingredients justify some of the prices, but as a consumer not everyone understands this and you may or may not see value. There may be inconsistencies here and there since she is still training staff so quality control might vary. There are minor kinks to be smoothed out, but the inconsistencies are not even noticeable to the vast majority. The minor flaws are likely only picked up at a more professional or more experienced level.

All in all Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe is killing it. It is hard to come across something mediocre here, and so far it is more or less a difference of good, great, excellent, and must try. I said in my last post “Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe will be a quickly rising local favourite and I’m cheering it on”, and now I can change that to Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe is already a local favourite and I’m still cheering it on.

On the table:

Beaucoup Bakery  (21)**Cheese Scone 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)

  • $3.50
  • I’m more likely to go for a sweet scone with devonshire or clotted cream before a savoury one, but people rave about her cheese scones.
  • I wanted to know if they lived up to the hype and they sure did!
  • These cheese scones are a freaking home run!
  • I suggested using them as a sandwich bun like at The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe! I liked their scones too – see here.
  • Ask for the scones to be warmed up and after one bite you’ll find it hard to put down.
  • They were a good size and it had a super crunchy exterior and it was no doubt cheesy.

Beaucoup Bakery  (25)

  • They were incredibly buttery and super moist and naturally a bit oily from the cheese, but not greasy.
  • I could taste the sharp white cheddar cheese and also a more pungent gruyère which gave it a salty nutty flavour easily mistaken for Parmesan.
  • It was not an ooey gooey cheesy scone, but she used enough to make it obvious without turning it into a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • It was savoury and not salty and I loved the contrasting crunch on the outside. It wasn’t necessarily flaky, but just ultra tender.
  • The crumb was very tender and soft and not bready at all and the gluten was barely developed so it just crumbled in my mouth.
  • It was not chewy and just super rich in flavour with a little bit of scallions.
  • Unlike a traditional English tea cake or biscuit, this scone required no additional butter and it did not require toasting because it was already crunchy.

Beaucoup Bakery  (24)Pain Aux Raisins4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • With rum soaked raisins $3.50
  • These were referred to as “unassuming” and I completely agree. It is one of Jackie’s pride and joys.
  • I like Pain Aux Raisins, but rarely would I order them because they often seem boring or too bready and dry.
  • This was a traditional Parisian style pain aux raisins which is made from pastry dough or croissant dough.
  • Some parts of Northern Europe and North America will use brioche dough instead of croissant dough which is comparing apples to oranges.
  • The brioche version is indulgent, fluffy and rich and almost raisin bread/cinnamon bun like whereas this one was croissant like.
  • I don’t have a preference, but the Parisian style is lighter.
  • This was crisp throughout so you can’t unravel it, and it has a rich buttery flavour and sweet glaze.
  • Pain Aux Raisins is a type of raisin bread and I would have liked more raisins so I could get some in each bite.
  • It intentionally doesn’t have much raisin, but I think it should just cause if I’m ordering this, chances are I love raisins.
  • I couldn’t taste the rum in the raisins which is cooked out, but I still wanted more of them in general.
  • The exterior was crispy and well caramelized with even colour and it was rolled with a layer or vanilla pastry cream and raisins.
  • The pastry cream actually had vanilla bean seeds in it and it wasn’t too sweet, but I would have liked a thicker layer of it.
  • A thick layer of pastry cream would hold better in a brioche style pain aux raisin, but this was still a bit shy of it.
  • I loved the laminated layers, but I prefer the pain aux raisin to have almost an equal ratio of rich and custardy layers of pastry cream and dough.
  • I really enjoyed this more than expected, but I just wanted more raisins and pastry cream and I found it small for the price.
  • Based on this I bet the plain croissant is a knock out.

Beaucoup Bakery  (23)**Pain Au Chocolat5/6 (Excellent)

  • $3.50
  • This is another one of Jackie’s pride and joys and it’s one of her personal favourites.
  • I would choose an almond croissant or any nut croissant over this, but this was an excellent pain au chocolat.
  • It was a very traditional Parisian style pain au chocolate with two bars of chocolate instead of a chocolate ganache filling.
  • You do not get chocolate in every bite for this reason, but that is the traditional recipe for pain au chocolat.
  • The quality of the chocolate was Valrhona so she’s using one of the most premium brands of commercial chocolate.
  • It was very light and crispy and incredibly flaky, but the pastry dough was slightly over poofed.
  • The exterior of the pain au chocolat was almost like phyllo dough and it was shattering before I picked it up.
  • I did love how it shattered with a distinct crunch when I bit down on it though.
  • It was intense with buttery flavour (high butter content), not too sweet and again the laminated dough was amazing.
  • It had great aeration and thin tender membranes and there was a nice chew after getting through the crisp exterior.
  • It was a bit on the small side and perhaps even slightly smaller than Viennoiseries standards.
  • If you just want to try it there is a Petit Pain Au Chocolat for $1.50, but I’m not sure if it will give the same effect. (Yes, size makes a difference… )

Beaucoup Bakery  (22)**Pine Nut Croissant6/6 (FMF Must Try!)

  • $4.50
  • This was something new! Ask for them warmed up!
  • Almond croissants are one of my favourite pastries ever, but instead of almond, Jackie is making pine nut! I hope she eventually makes pistachio.
  • I don’t think anyone can compete with Thomas Haas’ Double Baked Almond Croissants in Vancouver, so this was a smart move.
  • Pine nuts are way more expensive than almonds so I was sceptical on how much pine nut flavour I would get.
  • I could have used way more pine nuts on top, but that would likely double the price.
  • The most important thing is if it was obvious in pine nut flavour and I found it was.

Beaucoup Bakery  (22.6)The bottom of the croissant had excellent caramelization and it should be this colour all around – top and bottom! It should be almost a chestnut brown if it is keeping with traditional Parisian style and technique, and it was.

Beaucoup Bakery  (22.5)

  • Just look at that!!! That is what I mean by laminated dough.
  • Those layers were individual, thin, crisp and almost like sheets of phyllo dough. Beautiful.
  • It shattered as I bit down on it and the inside revealed tender membranes and a good amount of moist pine nut cream filling.
  • I could taste it was actual ground pine nuts to make the filling and not pine nut extract.
  • It was an ooey gooey croissant with a chewy nougat like centre and it was incredibly moist.
  • It had lots of pine nut cream filling and she also topped the croissant off with more pine nut cream.
  • It was sweet, but not overly sweet and the top was crunchy and it reminded me of the Mexican bun or Pineapple bun toppings on Chinese baked goods.
  • It was a buttery rich pastry especially with the pine nuts which are naturally buttery in flavour already, and these were too easy to finish on the spot.
  • I love nutty flavours so I knew I would love this.
  • I still like my almond croissant, but it is comparing apples and oranges and this was fantastic.
  • Any flavoured croissant is best made with day old croissants and it is how pastry chefs use up unsold croissants. Hard to imagine anything not selling here though.

Beaucoup Bakery  (11)Brioche Praline2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • $4.50
  • This was the only thing I wasn’t keen on and it was a bit dry and overbaked for me.
  • I don’t come across these often and when I do they usually have artificially dyed pink praline sprinkled over top, so I’m glad this didn’t.
  • I love brioche, but there are different styles of it.
  • Brioche is a very rich yeast bread made with lots of butter and eggs and it is on the sweeter side.
  • For a praline I was hoping to have lots more pralines (in this case candied hazelnuts) on top, but I think her style was to have one hazelnut.
  • I prefer more hazelnuts for flavour and texture especially when praline is in the menu name.

Beaucoup Bakery  (11.5)

  • The crust was a bit thick and the brioche crumb was really tight instead of being loose or fluffy.
  • I prefer my brioche to be fluffy like a bun, but this one was almost like a brioche loaf in style.
  • The butter flavour was excellent, but I prefer the brioche airy light, soft and tender.
  • It was filled with a good amount of Valrhona hazelnut praline paste which was creamy, smooth, rich, buttery and not too sweet.
  • It was not like Nutella because there was no chocolate.
  • It was more caramel like and very buttery in flavour with hazelnut flavour coming in the aftertaste.
  • I prefer a freshly ground hazelnut paste and this Valrhona one had 60% hazelnuts.
  • It wasn’t salted enough and it was supposed to be, and I found it too buttery and I think she could have made a better praline paste herself.
  • On that note, Valrhona is a premium brand and this was good but maybe not great, and I enjoy their chocolate products more.

Beaucoup Bakery  (14)**Caramel Éclair – 5/6 (Excellent)

  • With black sea salt $5.50
  • The last place to change the way I felt about éclairs was Dessert Club, ChikaLicious in New York.
  • I rarely get éclairs because too many bakeries make cheap versions of them with poor quality chocolate and whipped cream, but not here.
  • I’m a texture person so I loved the crunchy caramel candy shell on the top to contrast the creamy filling and tender choux pastry.
  • The crispy croustillant layer underneath was a bit underdeveloped, but the loss of texture was replaced with the caramel shell.

Beaucoup Bakery  (15.5)

  • The choux pastry was quite thin and it should be stuffed with a generous amount of pastry cream and it was.
  • The best word to describe the filling was “luscious”.
  • It was a beautiful, thick, rich and indulgent salted caramel like pudding that made me want to cry.
  • It was buttery smooth and more like pudding than pastry cream and I was brought back to memories of the epic Butterscotch Pudding I had in NOLA.
  • To achieve this texture you usually have to use cornstarch to give it that viscous and velvety quality and I could have eaten it by the spoonfuls.
  • It was not too sweet (which I often fear about caramel) and it had an obvious salted flavour which lasted in the after taste.
  • There was a very good sweet and salty balance and I do like vanilla beans in my salted caramel for added flavour, but this was still good.
  • It was a bit pricey, but I enjoyed it. I prefer this one over the chocolate éclair.

Beaucoup Bakery  (17)Chocolate Éclair – 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • $5.50
  • The chocolate éclairs are made upside down with the croustillant layer on the bottom which I found unusual.
  • The croustillant layer was again a bit under developed for me and it didn’t have the crispiness it was meant to achieve (that’s why it was on the bottom).
  • The chocolate icing didn’t make much of an impact and it was a bit “Long John” like so I would rather have an actual thin rectangular chocolate piece than ganache.
  • A chocolate piece would have given texture, but also made it quite expensive.
  • Again, I loved the generous amount of filling which was unexpectedly salty and more salty than the salted caramel.
  • Personally I would rather just the good quality chocolate flavour shine through and it didn’t need salt, although it was not bad.
  • This one tasted more like pastry cream mixed with chocolate and it didn’t have that luscious pudding texture like the caramel one did.
  • It was still a smooth and creamy filling, but the flavour was not as chocolatey and rich as I expected.
  • I wouldn’t have minded a little variation because it was chocolate icing and chocolate filling and caramel candy and caramel filling.
  • A switch up or some innovative twist or new flavour combination would be nice because the way it is now I wouldn’t have to order both.
  • As is, I wouldn’t have to order this chocolate éclair again, but it was still good!

Beaucoup Bakery  (35)Butter Tart4/6 (Very good)

  • $4.25
  • For a butter tart it is delicious and amazing, but there are other tarts/desserts I like more here. This is just personal tastes.
  • I could have used a crispier top layer and I love when the sugars and syrup come to the top and crystallize while being baked.
  • It was an ooey gooey moist maple flavoured sweet filling, but it did not ooze.
  • I liked how salty it was but it was a touch sweet for me, although a bit expected for a Butter Tart.
  • The filling was made with currants, maple syrup and coconut, but the coconut was almost undetectable.
  • I could see bits of it and feel its shredded texture, but I couldn’t taste coconut.
  • For me the best part was the almond pâte sablée crust which was crisp, thin, even and perfect.
  • The French style pie crust was super nutty, sweet, crunchy yet sandy in texture and I could eat it alone.
  • It was slightly small for the price, although enough because it’s decadent.
  • Personally I enjoy her lemon tart more, but it is apples and lemons.
  • The only “competing” Butter Tart in Vancouver I know of is at Tartine Bread & Pies (see their “World’s Best Butter Tart“), but that one is more American style.

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