Croissants have a special place in my family life, a little French flair for my wife and two children, all of whom are fluently bilingual.
My French is only comme ci comme ça, but I do speak the language of flaky pastry very well. And we’re not talking about those folded butter sticks they label croissants and cram into plastic packs in the grocery store. We’re fans of fluffy, flaky goodness, that delicate combination of lightness and richness that you can’t find in the bread aisle.
Croissant connoisseurs in West Vancouver now have a flaky new option with the opening of Angus T bakery on Park Royal's Main Street in a light-filled corner spot that formerly housed Faubourg Cafe. This is the second Angus T location, following the opening of the original location in Yaletown, and it follows the flagship’s unabashed mission of crafting decadent handmade pastries.
The bakeries are “quality driven, niche, and unapologetic” in this pursuit, according to their website. Some of their key ingredients are imported from France, they say, so they do seem serious about this business.
Hearing about the Angus T location on the North Shore – they opened in late September – my family decided we needed to try it.
We came home with a box – no plastic packaging in sight – containing six croissant creations. On the savoury side we had a Ham & Gruyere and a traditional butter croissant, while on the sweet side we opted for Double Baked Almond, Pistachio and Raspberry, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, and a classic Pain au Chocolate.
We started with savoury, cutting the classic butter croissant up to share. In doing so, we were able to take a peek at the croissant in cross section and enjoy the lovely layers of light pastry weaving inside the flaky outer shell. The Ham & Gruyère was well done too, boasting the same flaky shell and filled nicely with the savoury ingredients – enough to give you a proper taste, but not so much as to make the croissant overly bloated.
On the sweet side, the Pain au Chocolat was a tasty treat, following the traditional design as more of a roll than the classic crescent-shape – croissant translated to English is "crescent," after all. The Chocolate Raspberry croissant boasted an intriguing design, half-dipped in chocolate and topped with a solitary berry.
For me, the two show-stoppers were the nutty offerings. The Pistachio and Raspberry featured a healthy dollop of pistachio cream on top, which combined with the raspberry filling to provide an eye-opening sweet and savoury mix (well weighted towards the sweet side though).
My favourite of the bunch, however, was likely the Double Baked Almond, filled with an almond paste and topped with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. It was decadent, rich and delish.
The evidence of our enjoyment – and the skill of the baker – was left all over our countertop, where messy flakes of croissant goodness were scattered in a wide swath of contentment.
Before you head over there to buy a baker’s dozen, though, know that these are special treats, with price tags to match the flavour. Our box of croissants came to a little more than $32, and that was after the bakery took 10 per cent off because we bought six.
If you are looking for something quick and cheap to fill your flaky pastry quotient, feel free to grab the grocery store plastic. But if you want a croissant crafted with care, give Angus T a try.
The Park Royal location, at 794 Main St. in West Vancouver, is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday and holidays.
This food review was conducted anonymously, with the order paid for by the North Shore News.