The other day, after crossing off The Spotted Pig and the new Saturdays Surf from my ‘MUST TRY’ list, I added Bien Cuit to my croissant list. I like to keep my filofax updated with cafes and restaurants that I’ve been to so I can feel a magnificent sense of accomplishment when I realize that I’ve tried nearly half of the cafes on Oliver Strand’s must coffee NYC list (name made up by yours truly). There isn’t that list with restaurants and croissants, so I make my own.
The day after I added Bien Cuit to my list, I was able to try their croissant. I would say the pleasure of trying their croissant, but it was definitely not a pleasure. As I’ve gone around the city and figured out which croissants I prefer, my parents have asked me if croissant x or y is bready. Lucky for them, they have been able to evade the distinct English style of croissant that cannot be described by a word other than bready. Until now.
But that wasn’t just it.
I’ve looked online, researched the webpages and sussed out the reviews and I simply don’t understand it. The croissant that I ate from Bien Cuit could not have been described as anything other than the worst croissant I have ever ate. Worse than a croissant wrapped in cling film. Possibly worse than Costa’s.
The croissant wasn’t in a crescent shape, which always disappointments me. The crescent shape is so delightful, like a little smile. The outside was slightly shiny and uniform. There was no difference from one side to the other, as if someone put a sticker over the top of a croissant. Dull with a flavor to match.
I can’t even describe this croissant in terms of the texture, because I couldn’t have more than three bites. The taste was so insanely weird that I worried the eggs in the egg wash had gone bad or possibly the butter wasa rancid. After several sniffs, I realized the bad smell (and thus the bad taste) was coming disctintly from the top of the croissant. The bottom and middle didn’t smell great, but they didn’t have the freezer burn smell of the top.
What was it? I certainly have no idea. Maybe it was a bad egg, maybe they had been left to sit for so long, maybe you have to eat the croissant within 3.5 seconds of leaving the store. Whatever it was, it shocks me that a place could sell a croissant like this and still have the reputation they do. Was it possible I got the one bad pastry they’ve ever made? Not really. Even so, shouldn’t each croissant they make stand up to basic quality tests? Shouldn’t I be able to trust when I go in there that my pastry won’t taste like dirt? Where should quality begin and end for bakeries.
I don’t have an answer, but if anyone else got a croissant like I had, I’m sorry. It’s gross. There should be some sort of quality control that susses out if a croissant can be sold without eating the whole batch. Would I go back to try another one? Maybe. But in all honesty, there are other places on my list.
What’s the worst food item you’ve ever bought from a bakery?