Cronut mastermind Dominique Ansel is just days away from unveiling his new London bakery. Set to open September 30 in the West London neighborhood of Belgravia, the superstar pastry chef’s third outpost is considerably larger than its NYC and Tokyo counterparts, spanning two stories.
"I grew up in France, just a train ride away from London, but never had a chance to visit there until I was much older," Ansel tells Eater, explaining why he decided to open a new location in the city. "For each new city that we go to, it’s about choosing somewhere that both inspires and challenges us, and London does just that. We were also confident we could find a quality team with pastry talent throughout Europe, and access to ingredients from all across the country — that European butter! I've been waiting to work with it for so long."
Ansel fans will recognize the pastry chef’s signature offerings here, including the frozen s’mores, cookie shots, the DKA (his version of the kouign amann), and, of course, the Cronut®. But, about one-third of the menu items will be new and exclusive to London.
Ansel drew inspiration from traditional UK foods for the new creations: Welsh Rarebit croissants come stuffed with Guinness Worcestershire cheddar béchamel, fontina cheese, and whole-grain mustard, while banoffee pie gets flipped upside for a banoffee paella with caramelized bananas.
For his variation on the Eton Mess, Ansel says he was inspired by Korean lunchboxes: Mini meringues, strawberries made of mousse and jam, fresh basil, fromage blanc (think cream cheese, but lighter), and black pepper are artfully arranged in a clear box, and patrons are instructed to shake it up and "make a mess" before eating.
A variation on the classic French pastry the Paris-Brest, called the Paris-London, features Earl Grey mousse and an appropriately British garnish of a monocle and mustache, according to Bloomberg; a salted honey tart combines two types of local honey with almond frangipane and sea salt milk cream.
While Ansel is applying some Parisian influence to his London bakery, he doesn’t plan to expand to the City of Lights anytime soon. "It would be great to go back home to Paris one day," he says. "Right now we just want to focus on getting London up and running and really making it a home for us and for our team. I truly believe that it's about building a great team around you and growing mindfully and steadily, making sure not to overwhelm ourselves."
Like the NYC and Tokyo stores, DAB London will serve one Cronut® flavor per month; first up is Salted Butterscotch and Cocoa Nib. Expect long lines for said pastry when the bakery opens on Friday; in the meantime, scope out the full London menu below.