Revered Parisian pâtissier Phillipe Conticini is opening a massive new shop in Camden Market, three years after his two London stores — both called Pâtisserie des Rêves — shut down without warning in Marylebone and South Kensington.
The huge new space in Camden Market’s North Yard — home to the Cheese Bar — which reopened last autumn, is currently being given its final touches before opening, with a rose-strewn awning offering a tea room, “lab,” and extensive outdoor seating, as well as an oven specifically designed for baumkuchen — which Conticini brands as “roules de Philippe” and offers in chocolate, vanilla, and matcha — the cake made by brushing thin layers of batter on to a rotating tin that creates a tree trunk ring effect with a hollow middle.
Conticini’s previous two stores, which opened on the back of an initiative to “bring children back to pâtisserie,” shut down so suddenly that staff did not receive salaries and walked out of the stores. Co-founder Therry Teyssier said at the time that “the two London shops had been on a drip for months,” with the Marylebone store taking a week to make the money its Parisian counterpart made in a day. Conticini left the Pâtisserie des Rêves business and brand in 2016; returning to a city so marked with failure in such a big way, even over three years down the line and with a different proposition, is a significant commitment.
Conticini is best known for three key developments in pâtisserie: the use of the verrine, a vertical dessert presentation encased by glass, to present a new kind of eating experience and interaction of flavours in the 1990s; the bringing of “normal” ingredients and brands into the refined, rarefied pantheon of haute pâtisserie, including Coca-Cola and Nutella; and the “choux bar,” a mode of serving choux buns as an a la minute dessert, with a thinner than traditional shell piped just before serving. His Paris boutiques — opened before his more recent Gâteaux d’Emotions brand — also presented their desserts under cloches and glass, adding an exhibit-like reverence to the craft of pastry. He now has four locations in Paris, with two more in Japan.
The store and tea room will open seven days a week, 11a.m. — 6p.m. Contrary to Camden Market North Yard’s official handle announcing it as up and running on 10 February, Eater understands that it will in fact open in the next fortnight.