“I’ve been waiting for you guys to open for so long,” says a beaming patron eyeing the buttery viennoiserie at the newly minted B. Patisserie cafe. Her remark echoes the sentiments of pretty much everyone who’s tried the treats of pastry chef Belinda Leong, a Gary Danko and Manresa veteran who gained a cult following with her Ferry Building pop-up. Now, we can all fulfill our longings for her French-style sweets at Leong’s California Street shop, redolent of freshly baked goods.
“There’s nothing worse than walking into a bakery with no smell,” says B. Patisserie partner Michel Suas, the founder of Thorough Bread and Pastry, who met Leong when she attended his pastry-making class at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Together, Leong and Suas make sure the store is aromatic of its offerings, crafting fresh pastries on a central butcher block throughout the day. “We wanted people to see the work behind the pastries,” Leong says.
And the rewards are certainly sweet. Leong’s now-famous kouign-amann (pronounced “queen amon”) are served upon a curvaceous Italian marble counter alongside such uncommon delicacies as passion fruit–almond bostock, cinnamon-sugar brioche feuilletée, and sugar-dusted kugeloph. Meanwhile, a custom-designed refrigerator helps maintain moisture in the grande macaron, two-layer lemon tart, and decadent chocolate caramel toffee mousse.
But hailing from a restaurant environ, Leong isn’t content with the status quo. “I like a lot of change,” she says. Hence her experiments with seasonally thematic flavors and a savory spin with “topless” (read: open-faced) tartines, made with Suas’ kamut bread. Change, as they say, is good.
2821 California St. @ Divisadero
This article was published in 7x7's April issue. Click here to subscribe