Nvidia Cafe

on 2022-10-11

Where it all started

My story with Nvidia Cafe goes way back, before bakerycritic.com, before yeasty boy (nickname of our sourdough starter who is almost three years old now), before my acquired taste for good baked goods, even before my very first baking project. In fact, it is exactly from Nvidia cafe that I started my adventure into the baking world and now I consider myself as an amateur expert.

Back then bakery didn't ring a special bell as it does to me now. I paid little attention everyday walking by cafe's bakery corner. My impression of bakery at the time was cookies, cakes and other pretty looking treats. Once out of pure spontaneity, I got an oatmeal raisin cookie. It was an eye-opening moment. Up till now oatmeal raisin is still my favorite cookie and Nvidia cafe's version is still IMO the best. Yup, even better than all those famed bakeries like Levain. I like it so much that I tried reverse engineering at home in the hope of having unlimited supply of it. Unfortunately, or I should say fortunately, I was never able to reproduce the exact same chewy texture and nutty sweet flavor. At some point, I even wrote an email asking for recipe and the pastry chef even got back to me. With source code, I still didn't get the same result but rather developed a version of my own. It's in my nature to improvise and customize. In the process of trying batch after batch, I gained the very initial XP on baking. This first baking project sets me out to explore so much more.

Fast forward to now, I'm not only an avid baker but also an enthusiastic reviewer. It's an adventure to try new techniques and recipes. It's also an adventure to explore new bakeries and get inspired. Now that the office has reopened, I figure it's time to revisit where it all started.

Pastry Review

Normally I only keep the latest review to reflect the most up-to-date info. Here I keep the previous review to show changes. I'm really glad to see cafe team's positive attitude in receiving critiques and quick response in addressing them. As a result, there has been encouraging improvement in quality as documented below.


Plain Croissant - Surface pale blondie, not oily. Crust flaky and crispy, on the soft side. A big step up on lamination, distinctive honeycomb structure. The membranes are more tender than elastic. It suggests dough may lack gluten development. But it's not a big issue as you still have the laminated layering with plenty airiness. Nice buttery aroma. Could have a bit more salt. Simple and enjoyable.

Almond Croissant - Improved flavor on almond cream. More almondie while kept at lightly sweet. Ample almond slices on top that are not browned and lightly dusted with sugar. It's the option for a "special plain" day.


Cafe offers a short list of classic morning pastries. I was tempted to get one of each for review purposes. However, I found some pastries are clearly not at their peak (e.g. next-in-line chocolate croissant has outer layer peeled off probably due to some rough moving) and therefore skipped them last minute. The final reviewed items are:

Plain Croissant - Oily by touch on the bottom. A sign of not good lamination is that butter leaks out during baking. As can be seen from cross section, there are not too many layers and they are quite thick and doughy. It's again a sign of not good lamination that layers are squashed together instead of separated by steam when butter in between melted during baking. Crust is just lightly. It could do a bit more egg brush to enhance the final sheen as well as texture.

Almond Croissant - Croissant base has the same issue as the plain one. Almond cream is not too sweet and on the runny side. Not a complaint. Just a simple everyday almond cream that does the job. I like almond slices on top not overly browned.

Overall, lamination technique is not at the same level as professional bakeries reviewed in this blog. But it's understandable if cafe does not have the same commercial lamination machine. In terms of flavor, it's more like your everyday homemade kind rather than indulging once-a-while glory, which is not a bad thing given it serves as an everyday breakfast option.