review

Fine Bakery: revisiting classic baked goods in inventive ways

© Saskia Vanderstichele

Hit by the pandemic just as it was taking off, Fine Bakery deserves recognition for its creativity. Good news: the savoury tarts to take away are fantastic.

There are not many bakeries and patisseries with the ability to reimagine the traditional. Usually, they repeat the same specialities again and again with more or less success. Fine Bakery stands out from the crowd, revisiting classic baked goods in inventive ways. The high point of this delightful little place in the Zavel/Sablon is the pastry, especially the puff pastry, which they have perfected.

The decor is classy and stripped-back, dominated by brick, marble, and pale wood. It's hard to know where to look, everything looks so delicious. Plump croissants and pains au chocolat catch the eye. There is also the “kouign-amann” from Brittany, which is to die for. Their version is slightly simpler but no less rich in butter.

The original creations are the most impressive. There is the “cruffin” (from €2.90 to €3.20), a hybrid pastry combination between a croissant and a muffin that we have seen elsewhere. To our knowledge at least, however, the praline brioche (€11.20) has never been tasted before in Brussels. It consists of a brioche made with the famous praline lyonnaise: almond or hazelnut coated with pink-coloured caramelised sugar. As well as being available in the form of a brioche, this little delight is also on offer in the form of a mouth-watering extra-thin tart (from €3.60 to €21.60), less than a centimetre thick and deliciously crunchy.

For the same price, Fine – a play on the English word “fine” and the French “fine” meaning “thin” or “slight” – also does a lemon tart that has been reinterpreted in the same fashion. At a time when people are racking their brains for alternatives to the usual take-aways, we cannot recommend the delicious savoury tarts highly enough. You can order an individual portion or a version for four to six people.

During our visit, we treated ourselves to a tarte provençale (€4.50). The oval-shaped tart, to be reheated in the oven for just ten minutes (at 150C). The result was crisp and delicious, with notes of mustard, tomatoes, and herbes de Provence that transported us to the south of France. It melted in the mouth, allowing the forbidden flavours to slowly sink in.

FINE BAKERY
Minimenstraat 7 rue des Minimes, Brussel/Bruxelles, 02-16.71.32, Instagram: @finebakery.bxl
wo/me/We > vr/ve/Fr & zo/di/Su 8 > 18.00, za/sa/Sa 8 > 19.00

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