Neighbor Bakehouse

on 2023-02-24

Overall grade: S+

# of visits: many

Solid lamination for all croissant variations. Flaky layers with good balance between gluten strength and buttery crispiness. No excess moisture or grease.

Excel at both technique foundation and flavor innovation.

All regular pastries are good choices. Go with what your heart of the day desires.

Seasonal pastries full of creativity and surprises. More intense in flavor and more substantial on topping / filling. Solid base as regular items. Just more indulging. Definitely go for them if flavors interest you. Might be the exact special for your liking.

Mindblowingly Good

It's a special category only for rare exceptions. It's the very few tastiest moments in my memory. My attention is undivided for the sensational tasting experience that I wish never ends. It takes some time to sink in all the pleasure. Dopamine stays high to cheer up the day.

Passion Fruit Meringue Bun (special) - It's Hartree tart (lemon meringue pie) in a croissant case. Hartree tart has an unshakable special position in our family (especially for A). Tart sweet is the best sweet because it cuts the sweet at the same time shines the sweet. Sounds contradictory but if you've had good lemon curds, you'd love the tart sweet punch even if sweet is not your thing. It's clear that the inspiration is from the classic lemon meringue combo with each component executed perfectly. Super airy well-layered croissant base. Tart sweet curd (passion fruit tastes very similar to lemon). Kudos to the torched meringue. Normally I'd opt for cream over meringue. Just because it's hard to get good meringue (cloud like texture and not overly sweet). But this meringue is so perfect that I'm convinced for the first time that lemon meringue is better than lemon cream. It's light marshmallowy and mildly sweet. Both texture and flavor are on point.

Chasiu Bun (special) - This is probably the best Shanghaiese-style braised pork belly I've had in the US. The pork pieces are deeply caramelized. They are rich, juicy and maximally flavored. Underneath pork is shredded cabbage soaked with pork juice. On top is fresh sliced scallion. All classic pairings perfectly prepared. Even with all the toppings, croissant base is still plenty flaky and airy.

Best of the best

Pistachio Berry Croissant - Impeccable. Airy layers. Nice filling. Crispy biscuit top with whole pistachios embedded. It's as good as the peak twice-baked croissant I've reviewed so far from Backhaus.

Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant - If you are a chocolate aficionado like me, this is for you. It's slightly sweeter than pistachio berry. The center filling includes both chocolate ganache and pastry cream. You can't beat the classic hazelnut chocolate combo. Same crispy biscuit top with whole hazelnuts embedded. The layers are slightly tighter than pistachio berry, probably due to the filling being more moist. So it's more easily to get soggy the next day.

Chocolate Croissant - Sometimes you just want something classic. Perfect croissant base with two sticks of dark chocolate. Nothing more but everything I want.

Ginger Pull-Apart - Brioche pull-apart shaped like a flower glazed with ginger caramel. Chewy crunchy crust. I'm normally not a big fan of sticky bun gooey caramel drizzle. This is a version of sticky bun that I very much enjoy the sweet sticky crust. The ginger kick in caramel is really nice. The caramel coating is not sticky but more baked into the crust with a sweet chew.

Savory Pull-Apart - Similar brioche base and flower shape as ginger. Dough base seasoned with everything bagel. Topped with roasted capsicum and embedded with ham (both small amount more for flavor). Cheesy crunchy crust. Just like the best edge bits of any cheese bake where cheese hits pan.

Kimchi Croissant - Flaky croissant cup filled with veggies and cheese. The base is like Pastéis de Nata which exhibits fine layers at the rim. Kimchi is a very interesting flavor that brings otherwise standard veggie fillings bright tang and spice.

Ham and Cheese Croissant - Seed covered crust and more embedded inside, adding more flavor and texture. Perfectly flaky and very airy croissant shell. Rosemary ham and cheese.

Brostock - It's a croissant slice soaked in syrup and twice baked. It's topped with almond cream baked to deeply caramelized and nicely crunchy. In addition, half sliced banana is embedded in almond cream, further deepening caramel flavor. There is no almond croissant on the menu. This is probably the closest. It's more concentrated substitute in terms of flavor intensity.

Amélie Croissant Bun (special) - A square croissant base topped with Crème Brûlée and filled with strawberry rhubarb jam. The croissant base is perfectly layered. I'm not a Crème Brûlée connoisseur. But as far as custard goes, I like tender pudding texture, mildly sweet flavor and Brûlée top. The jam is smooth and mild. Everything feels like a gentle kiss. Very elegant.

Passion Fruit Cream Bun (special) - Silky smooth passion fruit cream topped with passion fruit jam and coconut flakes. Tart passion fruit cuts through rich cream. Croissant base is flavored with nutty black sesame. A well-balanced flavor profile.

Honor Mention

Milk Chocolate Pecan Bun (special) - A square croissant base. Silky smooth milk chocolate mousse topped with candied pecan. It's very indulging and satisfying. However, it's a bit too rich and sweet to finish by oneself in one setting. On the criteria of how enjoyable finishing one item by oneself in one setting, the generous cream becomes the bane.

White Chocolate Lemon Bun (special) - Silky smooth passion fruit cream topped with passion fruit jam and coconut flakes. Similar as Milk Chocolate Mousse Bun, it's very special but a bit too overwhelming to finish in one setting and thus discounting the final rating.

Curry Potato Bourek - Puff pastry filled with curry potatoes. I like curry fillings. It's probably still their standard laminated croissant dough. But it feels to have less layers. Delicious and light nonetheless.

Everything Croissant - Square shaped croissant dough topped with seed mix and filled with a very light layer of cream cheese and everything seasoning. It's already a better version than most everything croissants that only have everything seasoning but no cream cheese. I leave it out of "best of the best" simply because there is a slightly better version at Yellow The Cafe which has more substantial cream cheese filling.