If you've been to Paris, Rome, or New York, you might have been enchanted by a visit to a local pastry shop. Rows upon rows of delicate, beautiful confections are on display. When you finally choose your one delicious item, it is carefully boxed and secured with a bow.
Bachour Bakery + Bistro, which soft-opened this past Monday, captures the delight of a trip to a fine European pastry shop. Located in Brickell World Plaza (600 Brickell Ave.), the collaboration between beloved pastry chef Antonio Bachour and chef Henry Hané is a most welcome addition to the neighborhood.
During a recent lunch hour, the bakery was abuzz with patrons grabbing Nutella croissants and coffees to go, while every table was filled with office workers nibbling on tartines and sharing decadent delights.
The 70-seat space is decorated in neutral colors. Designed by Patricia Aballi, an interior designer who is also Hané’s mother, the restaurant features high ceilings and stone walls highlighted with bits of bright-green moss. A patio area will provide additional seating in the next few days. The setting makes Bachour's pastries pop. A rainbow of macarons, bonbons, and pastries makes it nearly impossible to choose just one. Chef Bachour was on hand to help in the decision-making process. "You have to try the cream brioche ($4). It's my favorite."
The brioche, along with a Nutella croissant and guava-and-cheese croissant ($3.50 each), arrived at the table. The croissants were properly buttery and flaky. The Nutella croissant was a throwback to a trip to Rome, where the hazelnut/chocolate spread is served with cornetti, the Italian breakfast pastry. Chef Bachour was right, however. The cream-filled brioche was a standout. Brioche can sometimes be heavy, but this was fluffy, filled with a thick cream that resembled custard.
Don't think, for a second, that this bistro is all about the sweet side of things. Chef Hané's menu meets Bachour's high standards. The lunch menu is filled with soups, salads, tartines, and sandwiches — all given as much thought in eye appeal as in taste.
A simple but beautiful bowl of gazpacho is presented with olive oil powder and edible flowers ($9). It's a lovely presentation and almost too pretty to eat. Dig in, though. The chilled vegan soup is creamy, slightly piquant, and a wonderful lunch that leaves some room for a trip to the dessert case. Hané's veggie bisque ($9) is also vegan, flavored with roasted onion creme.
Usually, slaws are reserved as a sandwich side. The bistro's house slaw ($14) is a main event. Julienned veggies are served over a carrot ginger dressing and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Though deceptively simple, it's an addictive dish perfect for Miami's warm afternoons. Other salad options include a Brussels sprout caesar ($14); a charred wedge with pork belly, radish, and blue cheese ($14); and a take on a Peruvian causa, with crab, shrimp, and anticucho aioli ($19). Various proteins can be added to any salad to make it heartier.
Tartines, French open-faced sandwiches, are made with Chef Bachour's bread, baked in-house daily. The smoked salmon ($17) is chef Hané's take on a lox and bagels. "I channeled my Jewish side, " he quips as he presents the dish. Smoked salmon is chopped and served with crisp capers, crème fraîche, and egg snow. The chef then adds salmon roe for an extra burst of brininess and color. "I just love working with the roe." Other tartines include avocado with chipotle/jalapeño creme ($15), spicy tuna ($18), and burrata with fresh and dried tomato ($14). The menu also lists sandwiches such as a braised oxtail with Swiss cheese ($18) and a falafel ($16).
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Leave room for one of Bachour's desserts. These gorgeous presentations are mini works of art. A key lime tart with raspberries ($6.50) and a strawberry pavlova are light endings to the meal.
For a wow factor, order the gianduja or the mojito ($7 each) or both. The gianduja is filled with passionfruit creme, and the mojito consists of mint cake with lime mousse topped with Bacardi rum gelée. Chef Bachour warns with a sparkle in his eye that the mojito is an adults-only indulgence. "The gelée is pure rum. A few of my chefs ate too much yesterday, and they got a little buzzed." The small amount on the pastry is fine for lunch, though. Bachour points out a bag of chocolate used in his baking. "It's $18 a pound. There are only quality ingredients in these items." Indeed, the pastries are of the quality found only in five-star establishments such as the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, where Bachour (a recent James Beard Award semifinalist) still serves as pastry chef.
Bachour Bakery + Bistro is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will host pop-up dinners in the coming months.