World-famous Parisian patisserie chef Cedric Grolet will open a London boutique in the near future. Grolet, who is best known for his trompe-l’œil fruits which aim to both emulate their natural equivalents and go beyond them, posted a shot of him in the city to his 2 million followers on his Instagram page last Sunday 3 October, posing on a tube platform in front of a Hyde Park Corner London Underground sign. It’s the closest station to the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, with whose parent company Grolet has a long-running relationship, but it has not been confirmed that the opening will be there or indeed connected to the hotel. The Dorchester Collection is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, a nation which reintroduced the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality in April 2019. It has since said it will not enforce the law, but the law has not been repealed.
His two shop windows in Paris aptly reflect his balance between French tradition and more avant-garde patisserie. Where the Opera space has seating, dynamically transitions between breakfast, lunch, and snacking, and brings a haut-precise soft luxuriousness to traditional viennoiserie, his “Le Meurice” boutique on Rue de Castiglione — yards from the Tuileries — is an angular, minimalist showroom devoted nearly entirely to putting his fruits on a white marble pedestal.
Changing with the seasons, his boutique currently offers pine nuts, figs, cacao pods, quinces, and a young Thai coconut. Each is composed of various textures and forms of its imitation, raw and cooked, with the quince, for example, comprising a molten middle made from jellied quince stock, infused with the peels and seeds of the fruit; quince dice cooked in the quince stock, half of which have been candied; a quince marmalade made without sugar; and a mousse infused with quince paste. Grolet is known for using as little sugar as he can, up to the limits imposed by its role in leavening, retaining moisture, and stabilising mixes.
These photogenic patisserie — and his equally famous “Rubik’s cube” cake — are likely to wow Londoners. Where Grolet may find a challenge is in entering a city where paying as much as €17 for a single item is not even close to the norm, and the appreciation of patisserie tradition and innovation is not as embedded in the eating culture. But with Philippe Conticini having made his return, and both Grolet and Yann Couvreur on their way, perhaps that will begin to change.
Eater has contacted Cedric Grolet for further information on the opening. More soon.