Well, part one at least, is officially over.
It feels wrong to leave my epic journey through Bristol croissants without a bit of a round-up. When I started the journey it was all for fun, I wasn’t that into it other than it gave me an excuse to eat a croissant every Sunday. But then, something changed. I began to feel more attached to Bristol, to their cafes, to their annoying opening hours and, yes, I even grew to feel affection for their sub-par pastry scene.
It’s sad, I know.
But, my goal was to find the BEST croissant in Bristol. You may be wondering which one it is. The answer, my friends, is not as straight forward as I thought it would be.
When I began, I expected to taste a variety of mediocre croissants and then, suddenly, find the one that was perfect for me and stop the search. I would be content to go there each and every Sunday sitting down in the cafe with a cappuccino—because my ideal croissant would undoubtably come from a place with a cafe that served a good cappuccino.
The results, however, weren’t that straightforward.
I found croissants that I liked in cafes, or lack thereof, that I hated. I found croissants that I felt lukewarm about in cafes that I loved. There was even one place with good coffee, a good cafe and a horrendous croissant.
So, instead of saying the best croissant, I will do my best to group them into three categories: the good, the bad and the I-can’t-decide.
Costa I may not be able to say the best croissant I had, but I do know the worst one. This one. I hate their coffee, so I’m not too sure why I thought this one would be palatable…
Cafe Retreat Ignoring the fact that this one had the faint taste of butter, it was overpriced and wrapped in cling film. Croissants should not be wrapped in cling film.
Pret-a-Manger There could not have been any butter in this. Flora, yes. Butter, no.
Patisserie Valerie Oh, how I wanted to like this one. But it was oversized, overly bready and just plain waxy tasting.
Clifton Cakes This one was so close to being good, but it lacked one crucial aspect: freshness
Browns It was underbaked and doughy, definitely not anything that a good croissant is. That is, of course, ignoring the layer of powder sugar on top, yuck!
Coffee #1 I went there twice and got two practically different croissants, definitely not anything good going on there.
Caffè Nero A sunken croissant. That’s really all I remember…
Bordeaux Quay This one was bread. Nicely risen bread, but bread nonetheless.
The Better Food Co. Yes, it was pretty bready, but it still had an undeniable butter taste and pleasing quality. I’ll eagerly have another, but this is never going to win a croissant contest.
Boston Tea Party The croissant could have been better, but towed the line finely enough between dough, bread and butter that I had a pleasant experience. I’ll eat this one again, but I wouldn’t run back.
Cafe Du Jour I’ve eaten this one twice. It’s not bad, it’s not fantastic, it’s fine. You’ll be pleased if you drop in, but not if you search for it.
Rosemarino Out of the good ones, this wasn’t the best (I hate powdered sugar), but it was nice. A touch too doughy, but with enough butter and layers to earn it a top spot.
Primrose Cafe I loved the cafe and the croissant was pretty good as well. A bit sunken and not exactly enough layers, but enough butter and flakiness to make it a top contender.
Chandos Deli One of the must-eat croissants in Bristol. There’s really nothing I can complain about, except for the fact that Chandos only has one cafe. Other than that, you’ll be getting your croissant for take away.
Boulangerie Fantastic, layers, buttery and crispy. I think they might be made in house. And they’re cheap, to boot. The only problem? Boulangerie doesn’t seem to be too consistent with their croissant production.
So, there you have it. I’m done with eating croissants in Bristol, in England, until September 2013. I’m eager to go back and see how the croissant scene has changed in my absence, until then…
io mangerò un cornetto!
Do you like croissants? Where was the best (or worst!) one you’ve ever had?