Pretty Desserts Beckon at Kirkland's French Bakery
Category: Eat + Drink Articles
A gorgeous crimson strawberry, a pair of aubergine blueberries and two slices of kiwi sit prettily atop a thin layer of pastry cream and a shortbread-cookie-like crust in The French Bakery’s delicious petite fruit tart ($3.40). It’s one of a dozen or so alternating desserts that fill the display cases at this much-anticipated Kirkland bakery, opened in March by Frenchman Frederic Courteau (who also owns the Bellevue-based wholesale baked-goods company Sabaidi Foods) and his wife and pastry chef, Vanlee Palivan. That tart, along with a dense brownie ($3.40) wearing a swath of mildly tangy cream cheese and topped off with whole toasted walnuts, and a freshly baked, crusty baguette ($2.50), were the highlights of my recent visits. Unfortunately, the showy multilayer cakes—lemon and chocolate Grand Marnier among them ($3.40 per slice, $26 for whole cakes)—suffer from soggy, textureless crumb, the result of oversoaking the cake with liqueur or syrup. Pastries also lack finesse: Croissants ($2.50)—available filled with raspberry jam, chocolate, almond paste, et al.—are big, heavy, bready; the ethereal flakiness and sweet buttery essence of fine croissants missing. Open Mon.–Sat. Kirkland, 219 Kirkland Ave.; 425.898.4510.
Photo by Victoria Lahti