You can walk past a shop an endless number of times and know it’s supposed to be ‘great’, and yet never visit. Becasse Bakery is one of those places. It opened as part of the Westfield Sydney renovations some years ago. Owned by celebrity chef Justin North, it was widely hyped by foodies and food blogs after its opening. At the time, though, I was more interested in the newly opened gelato place at the other end of the food court. After the hype subsided, things went downhill for the place and I lost any interest as the cabinets never enticed all the times I walked past.
I was reminded of Becasse Bakery after seeing Justin North on Masterchef Australia 2015. Despite its earlier troubles, Becasse Bakery was still alive and kicking. They must be doing something right, right? So I paid it a couple of visits, finally, and the offering was much more promising.
This is the Rose and Lychee Mousse ($6.50) — a rose and lychee mousse surrounding a sponge on a biscuit base, enrobed in a rose flavoured white chocolate shell, and garnished with gold leaf.
This cake is more aptly called a rose mousse — while the flavours of rose were evident, and beautifully so, I detected no hint of lychee whatsoever, which was disappointing.
As a rose mousse though, this cake is right on the mark. The mousse is infused with rose, which is most evident upon the first bite. The tartness of the yoghurt-based mousse, though, overwhelms the subtlety of the rose flavours as you continue eating the mousse. That’s where the rose chocolate enrobing the mousse comes in — the sweetness of the rose chocolate happily ‘resets’ your palate between bites, so that you keep getting the initial hit of rose in the mousse with each bite. Even so, the mousse becomes a bit overwhelming mid way through. I’d have appreciated more than just a square of sponge for a change in textures and to cut through the heaviness of the mousse — perhaps a freeze dried lychee or a rose petal for garnish instead?
This is the Chocolate & Raspberry Kronut ($8.50), a cronut filled with chocolate creme patissiere, adorned with raspberry powder, raspberry icing, and a macaron with a raspberry centre.
The cronut was soft and flaky, with a shatter-crisp outside and tender inside and a hint of saltiness — all signs of a good croissant and I’d expected no less from Becasse. The raspberry squiggle and raspberry powder atop the cronut added a tartness to each bite, although I did find piping of the squiggle a bit crude, which deflected from its visual appearance. The chocolate creme patissiere was smooth, although it was a bit bland and could have been either a bit sweeter or darker to make it stand out against the buttery pastry and tart raspberry flavour.
The macaron was surprisingly too light — the cookie shell crumbled in my mouth — and not even the slightest bit chewy, which I’d come to expect from a good macaron. That said, the tartness of the raspberry came through against the sweetness of the macaron.
This is the Salted Caramel Kronut ($8.50), a cronut filled with salted caramel creme patissiere, adorned with salt crystals, chocolate icing and a salted caramel macaron.
This was the perfect croissant — the same soft and flaky textures of the one above — and cronut — the height was even through out. The sprinkling of salt crystals added pops of saltiness with each bite — not too salty, though, but just enough to make it clear that this was a salted caramel cronut. The piped squiggle was plain chocolate, though, which I found a little bit disappointing, but it works visually. The salted caramel creme patissiere was a very light caramel complemented well with the fluffy and tender layers of pastry. Overall, I found the flavours of this cronut more balanced and preferred it to the chocolate and raspberry.
The macaron was also too light like the raspberry macaron. But textures aside, the first bite into the biscuit hits you with a salty kick that mellows out once you reach the cream. It’s a very pleasant taste.
And then finally, I went back for their Lemon Curd Tart ($6.80).
N had praised the tangy and smooth curd in the passionfruit tart, so I had high hopes for this one. As one expects of a good tart base, it was thin and gave some good resistance to the blade of the knife/fork when cutting through. The lemon curd, though, lacked the custard like consistency I love. It was much too eggy, which gave the curd the consistency of pudding and the taste of egg, which interefered with the otherwise tangy lemon. The top of the tart also had a very thick (both in terms of consistency and thickness) glaze that had hardened and made the tart look irresistibly shiny, but did not complement the texture of lemon curd, eggy or otherwise.
There are hits and misses at Becasse Bakery, and I’ll be sure to be back to unearth more hits!
Becasse Bakery is located at Level 5 Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.