There are few pleasures as enjoyable as the pretty, dainty delicacies to be found on the counters of a French patisserie. Buttery croissants, bright macarons and berry-strewn tartlets — be still my beating heart.
If you too delight in all things sweet, I strongly recommend a trip to the new French patisserie in Rosebank, L’atelier Bakery.
Located on level one of the Trumpet Building on Keyes Avenue, the bakery officially opened its doors at the beginning of March only to have to shut them again when SA went into lockdown.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge for us because we’re not a known brand, but it’s been absolutely positive just from the reviews and people’s experience,” says Raylene van Wyk, L’atelier's business development manager.
Executive chef Nathan Jacobs, the former executive pastry chef at the renowned Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, churns out a daily spread of pastries, biscuits, mini cakes and tarts using fresh ingredients. They also bake breads — think everything from traditional baguettes and brioche to focaccia and vegan breads.
I was most impressed by their croissants: crispy, flaky, buttery layers of delicately crafted pastry. Perfect enough to be enjoyed just as is with a cup of coffee, which for me is the mark of a good croissant. If the stripped-down version is less appealing to you, their selection of fillings makes for a delicious lunch.
Other savouries on the menu include sandwiches and quiches.
There is no shame in going to L’atelier just for the desserts though. The rich cheesecake rests on a biscuit base that’s reminiscent of comforting Christmas spices. Their chausson aux pommes is perfection: thin layers of puff pastry, apples and vanilla custard with a touch of salt.
Highly recommended is their Paris brest — a light choux pastry filled with a generous serving of hazelnut crème. Personally, I would’ve preferred a touch more hazelnut but the technical skill that's gone into making them can’t be faulted.
L’atelier’s has the same owner as its neighbour Afrikoa Café, which is famed for its chocolate that's made using cocoa beans sourced directly from farmers in Tanzania. While Afrikoa remains closed and is managed entirely separately, it serves as the source of all the chocolate L’atelier uses in its bakery.
Though restaurants are allowed to open again, many people are still wary of venturing into public spaces. For this reason, L’atelier offers a kerbside delivery service as well as a conventional delivery service. They’re also on Uber Eats.
If you do decide to visit the shop, they have strict health and safety measures in place, including taking your temperature when you arrive. On the day I visited it was very quiet and I felt reasonably safe sitting down for a cup of coffee surrounded by only the staff in store.
• L’atelier is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm. To view their menu or get in touch, visit latelierbakery.com.