It’s not easy to find Parisian baked goods; let alone VEGAN Parisian baked goods. I must have extreme luck, then, to have access to Clementine Bakery, a plant-based patisserie and provisions purveyor (check out my alliteration skillz, yo) in Clinton Hill.
Clementine didn’t start out as vegan, but I’m glad they now switched to an all-vegan menu! In addition to their delectable baked goodies, they also make a good variety of savory sandwiches and bowls.
Mostly though, I am fixated on their pastries (yes, I am a pastry ho) and my goal is to try every single one of them. Because they use Too Good To Go, a surplus food app. I basically get a randomized grab bag of pastries, so I think I am on my way to reaching that goal 🙃
Pronounced “KWEEN ah-MAHN” and dubbed “the fattiest pastry in all Europe” by the New York Times, I first became familiar with Kouign Amann because of The Great British Bake Off. Prior to turning veg, I never had tried one, so although that doesn’t make me an expert on this intricate, curlicued, cruffin-creation (before I looked it up I actually just thought it was a cruffin) , what I CAN say with confidence is that Clementine’s version was absolutely, indulgently delicious. The top of their laminated, wavy and flakey Kouign Amann is coated in a crunchy sugar glaze, so when you bite (or tear, really) through it, it’s liable to make you drool as you chew and revel in its sinfully plant-buttery mouthfeel of soft and hard textures. Out of all their pastries, this was my favorite: a classic pastry that has endured through time, rightfully so.
These sinfully sweet and chonky creations come in a variety of flavors; three of which I have had the privilege to inhale: strawberry banana, chocolate chip and berry jam so far! After a quick toasting in my air fryer, they pair perfectly with a cold glass of oat milk, coffee or tea. The “cheese” in the pastry is a bit like custard versus cheesecake consistency, and delightfully pudding-like runny. Enjoy while doom-scrolling!
Butterfly cheese, mushroom & potato Pastry
Savory pastries seem to get the butt-end of the vegan stick, so I’m really happy that Clementine has such a plethora of salty-type luxury carbs. This was my favorite of all of their savory choices (so far): a curled butterfly-style pastry with a generous tucking of mozzarella, roasted spiced potatoes and mushrooms. Once toasted, the outer layer is like a croissant while the inside is like… a fluffy upscale mushroom quiche. How is this possible?!! #witchcraft
Chocolate cinnabuns + cheesecake topped cinnabuns
These bunz don’t lie: toasty and iced with opaque sugar on the outside, pillow-like chocolate-infused carby goodness on the inside. I love ripping it apart and dipping in my choice of beverage (usually ice cold oatmilk!). They also have a version that is topped with a dollop of cheesecake icing, as if it wasn’t already irresistibly gluttonous!
Sesame cheese tarts
Spicy and speedy! This tart packs a flavorful punch: it’s chock-full of cheddar, roasted tomatoes, sausage, jalapeño peppers for a kick and topped with black sesame seeds. I love pairing it with my usual breakfast plate or a salad to *sorta* make me feel less guilty for eating so many carbs (still gonna do it lol). A solid pastry to take on-the-go: it’s like a really fancy vegan hot pocket!
I loved this croissant for its delicate flavor: the pistachio paste was subtly sweet, and the croissant itself had just the right amount of glassy sugar glaze on top. There was even more paste inside the croissant, yum yum! It’s a great alternative to the classic chocolate croissant when you feel like something less sweet.
Of course, nothing really beats the basic comfort of biting into a crisp chocolate croissant: Clementine’s version pretty much tastes just like a regular one (you really would never miss the butter!). I liked that they didn’t overwhelm the croissant with too much chocolate filling: it has just the right amount of choco paste to sweeten, a good croissant-to-chocolate ratio.
Raisin cheese swirl roll
Much like a cheesy raisin twists from those ubiquitous Chinese bakeries, this roll made me happy with nostalgia! It tasted almost exactly like those twists from my childhood, without the cruelty. It had a hint of lemon in the cheese and plump, juicy raisins. Unfortunately, I cut it in half and toasted it before I took the pic, but you get the idea ;)
Blueberry lemon cupcake
Clementine’s pastries are legendary, but their cupcakes are other-worldly (and as someone who isn’t particularly a cupcake lover, this is high praise!). I usually hate icing, unless it’s not overpowering, and this one struck the right balance of classic vanilla cupcake icing and sugar content. Not gonna lie, it was pretty damn sweet; but the refreshing bite of blueberries on top helped cut the fat + sugar a bit. The lemon zest was a nice touch; I love edible decorations that aren’t processed! The cake was lemon crumb; a bit like light lemon pound cake. I probably would not order this cupcake on its own, but I did enjoy it as a midday treat!
Chocolate mousse knot pastry
As the very first pastry I tried from Clementine, this little number has a special place in my heart. The chocolate mousse was the pièce de résistance of this pastry, which nonetheless was framed excellently by the perfect crispy, sugar-glazed and powdered crust. I also hadn’t had a maraschino cherry in a hot minute, so it was the perfect intro to the wonderful world of Clementine for me!
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of muffins, unless it’s of a certain type (I love corn, blueberry corn and coffee cake type muffins). The muffins at Clementine’s aren’t anything special, and the only one I really liked was a corn, pecan and chocolate chip one. Still, if you love muffins, they’re decent as far as vegan muffins go!