Belinda Leong had a fantastic problem when her b. patisserie (2821 California) opened earlier this week on Feb. 12. Though her weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., every fresh-baked good was sold out by around 1 p.m. on the first day, forcing an early closure. By the time SFoodie arrived to survey the scene, all that remained were signs.
The pastry cases start the day filled with giant macarons in comforting candy flavors, millefeuilles bound with thick caramel laminate, and Leong's signature puff pastry-esque kouign amann. There is also light savory fare such as tartines and gougères and Four Barrel coffee. There's no scrimping on butter and sugar here; Leong is definitely one of the Bay Area's masters of pastry indulgence.
There are special Valentine's themed items available today through Feb. 16. Highlights include a vanilla macaron with rose creme mousseline, raspberries, and lychee; chocolate hazelnut cake; a raspberry vanilla mascarpone tart with vanilla ganache, raspberries, and vanilla marscapone; and a "bleeding heart" kouign amann with cassis, blackberry, pomegranate, and raspberries that serves two.
An employee surprised by the run on inventory on the first day surmised that the shop probably won't run out of goodies once all the baking is done on the premises; at the moment, it's being done at the San Francisco Baking Institute, which is owned by Leong's business partner, Michel Suas, who is also considered a leading authority on bread and pastries.
Leong herself has spent time elevating the sweet parts of the dining programs at acclaimed fine restaurants such as Manresa and Gary Danko. The b. patisserie brand got started in earnest in 2011 via a series of pop-up bake sales. Those events tended to sell out quickly and built Leong's following, which might also go some ways toward explaining the opening rush in an area that doesn't have excessive foot traffic.
The transition from occasional pop-up shop to permanent patisserie is off to a successful start. Sugar still rules the city.