This croissant was a trouble maker. Let me explain.
I tried to get a croissant from Caffè Nero once before, on a chilly day in late January. I was at the store bright and early, ten thirty, on a Sunday morning eager to get my cappuccino and pastry. Except they were all gone. I went to Costa, which wasn’t an experience that I wish to relive.
Afterwards, I forgot about Caffè Nero. I trusted that I would eventually make it over there, but I got preoccupied with different croissants from smaller cafes. Then a friend casually mentioned the pain au chocolat they got at Caffè Nero before one of their early morning library sessions. I remembered my mission, to try as many croissants in Bristol as possible. I would need to go to Caffè Nero, though I might skip the painfully early library stop.
So, the day before my 10k, I traded my Sunday croissant for a Saturday one. Obviously, butter, flour, sugar and yeast are the ideal fuel before running 6.25 miles.
The streets were blissfully quiet early in the morning.
That was until I reached the cafe and saw the mass of people outside of Wills Memorial building. It was eight thirty on a Saturday morning and there were about fifty people standing outside, waiting for the library to open so they had a chance at getting a seat. Excessive, no?
The very thought brings tears to my eyes.
I walked in and ordered my small cappuccino and plain croissant. The coffee at Caffè Nero is, in chain-store coffee terms, quite good. It’s deep and not bitter with a taste that could be full-bodied if there wasn’t a watery undertone. My favorite bit, however, is their small coffee. This is the perfect eight ounce size that they never expect anyone to order. I get one everytime.
I took my small coffee and croissant over to the beat up faux-leather chair in the window and sat down, observing the library-goers.
My croissant, unfortunately, was the least interesting part of my morning. It had already fallen in on itself when the barista put it on my plate. Deflating like a souffle leaving the oven. My fears were confirmed as soon as I ripped a bit off, doughy.
The outside looked partially brown and the big overleaf was pleasingly crispy and reminiscent of puff pastry. If you told me that this croissant was supposed to be a mid-way point between croissant and puff pastry, I would believe you without hesitation. The butter flavor was there—it was downright greasy at points—but the rise was not. There was no crisp and there were no layers, just dough that wanted to be liberated.
Caffè Nero? Meh, you can find worse—and I certainly have—but for £1.30 this croissant definitely falls into the category of too expensive. Save your money and head to Boulangerie next door. They do it right.
What’s the earliest you like to wake up on a Saturday? Do you enjoy working at the weekends?