I had the pleasure of partnering with Gregoire Michaud on a fun foodie project called Eat Your Words way back when he was still the pastry chef at the Four Seasons hotel (our dish, incidentally, won the competition, but that’s not surprising with this guy’s incredible talent!). After leaving the hotel industry, Gregoire set up Bread Elements, a huge bakery in Chai Wan, which supplied delicious bread to restaurants and hotels. After years of being promised a bakery where I could go and purchase Greg’s baked goods for myself, he has finally opened Bakehouse, a cute bakery and café in Wan Chai.
The day after Bakehouse opened its doors just last week, down a quieter street between Johnston Road and Queen’s Road East, I happened to have a stressful appointment at Immigration, which left me in rather a bad mood and I knew I needed something utterly delicious for lunch to make up for it. Having seen countless beautiful photos of flaky croissants on Gregoire’s Instagram, I followed my nose and arrived at Bakehouse.
The space, with covers two floors, is bright, airy and welcoming. The counter is lined with freshly baked baguettes, brioche, sourdough loaves, croissants, pain au chocolat and more, behind which you can see Chef Gregoire and his team happily creating magic in the kitchen.
To the left of where this magic happens, is the dining area, which is simply, yet elegantly decorated with tiled flooring, light woods, an exposed brick wall on one side, and a teal green wall at the back.
The lunch menu is concise, yet satisfying, with a daily soup and a small selection of sandwiches, or a soup, a sandwich and a drink for only $98. Gregoire assured me that this limited menu is only to get things started, and they plan to have an all-day menu, as well as afternoon tea options at a later stage.
I couldn’t resist the set menu, which began with a roasted pumpkin and garlic soup, with a slice of toasted garlic sourdough on the side. Firstly, the bowl of soup was just the perfect size for a starter; had there been any more I would have been in danger of filling up before my sandwich! I’m not a big soup person. Of course, there is a time and a place for soup, usually when feeling under the weather, but soup rarely excites me. This one, however, I could eat any day of the week. It had a wonderful, comforting flavour and came drizzled with olive oil that was clearly of a very high quality and fresh thyme leaves, which brought out the flavours of the roast pumpkin even more. The sourdough, brushed with chunks of roasted garlic, was also excellent and perfect for wiping the bowl clean.
I then chose the avocado, cheddar and bacon pretzel, as I could tell that this was the one Greg was most proud of – and quite rightly so. Within the soft, perfect pretzel, sprinkled with flakes of sea salt, was thick-cut bacon, gooey, melted cheddar cheese and smashed avocado with a hint of lemon and chilli flakes, creating a winning combination. Again, the sandwich was just the right size to be satisfying, without being overindulgent.
Although I ran out of time to eat dessert at Bakehouse, that didn’t stop me from getting some to take away! I seem to be obsessed with cookies at the moment, so naturally had to try the double chocolate chip cookie. I tried to wait until 4pm, which is when my chocolate craving usually kicks in, but my cookie was all gone by 2:30pm! Perfectly soft and chewy, with chunks of dark chocolate that were still almost molten, I can quite easily say that this is the best double chocolate cookie I have ever eaten in my life – and that’s quite a statement, as I have had my fair share of cookies!
I didn’t expect anything less from this world-class pastry chef, but I was very impressed by Bakehouse and will certainly be returning very soon. The service is also fantastic and I got the sense that everyone who works there genuinely loves what they do. Thank you, Gregoire, for finally making your amazing baked creations available for us all!
14 Tai Wong Street East