Thierry, Vancouver.

May 2013. (See also below) 

I’ve been going to this bakery for a long time. I have no idea what first led me into the place, it’s definitely affected with an air of false français, including French music and a very French name. But I’m extremely glad I found it, because it’s one of the two or three best bakeries I’ve discovered in the city.

A big fan of danishes, I tucked into an apricot rectangle founded on pastry, and couldn’t believe the wonderful butter and wheat flour taste, the perfect gentle custard and precisely-softened fruit. Incredible treat, I could eat six of them. Also there is a very thin glazed apple rectangle on butter pie pastry seductive with its sweetness and crust, but loaded with apple taste. The pear danish isn’t quite as good. The fruit maybe not be quite ripe enough. But still a universe superior to most of what you get in ordinary cafés.

In one corner there is display of macaroons which look dry. A friend suggested trying one, and I was really surprised at the beautiful moist filling, contrasting with flavored meringue. The one I liked was a salted caramel.

Coffee here is so-so, a little bitter. I’ve also had a small lunch smoked salmon sandwich which was good but not on the same level as the danishes. I’m a regular now. The phony music and slightly arrogant attitude are a small price to pay for being transported by the terrific baking. 8.4

August 2013. New product: onion brioche. This unassuming savoury invitation appears among the danishes and croissants, at 9 AM.  Restrain me: it’s transcendentally warm and soft! Then I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t completely levitated.  Because it wasn’t sweet?  But back on the sidewalk the aftertaste betrayed bitterness, like the onions had been over-caramelized.  Too bad, the thing is so nicely baked it’s close to perfect otherwise…

January 2014. All is forgiven. The “pink praline brioche”, eaten warm from the oven, hits a new high.  Don’t miss it. Make the score 8.8.

February 2022. With a surprising but I guess inevitable small deterioration in the quality of the danishes at Patisserie Lebeau, this place has replaced it as my favourite bakery in town. The selection and quality here just seems to continue to increase. It really is world-class. 9.3


About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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