Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Francophiles Will Find Rewards at Redwood City's Pamplemousse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM

  • Trevor Felch

Like anyone who's spent time in Paris, I'm particularly vehement when discussing the nuances of French pastries -- whether Ladurée or Pierre makes the superior macarons (Hermé), the right amount of flakiness for a buttery croissant, and the correct custard softness of a cannelé's interior.

The promise of some of the Peninsula's premier macarons brought me to the eight-year-old Pamplemousse Patisserie & Café, a few blocks removed from the heart of downtown Redwood City. You won't hear much French spoken by the office workers dining inside the café, but the chef/owner Kelli Manukyan is from Québec so you know the place will take its baking seriously.

Immediately the display of artistic desserts and rows of colorful medium-sized macarons dominates your attention. Quality wavered from decent to flawless (well, not exactly Pierre Hermé masterpieces, but it's important to be reasonable here).

A salted caramel macaron ($1.95 each) had a beautiful filling, but its cookie portion was hollow and bordered on stale. Fortunately, a cinnamon-heavy Mayan chocolate macaron clicked on all components, as a Mexican hot chocolate transformed into a meltingly soft meringue-and-buttercream treat. Paris would not complain. Pamplemousse has 35 flavors in total, though choosing is slightly easier on site since only ten or so are available at a time.

I would've liked a little more buttery flakiness to the pain au chocolat ($3.20), but I did like the more-than-Parisian amount of frosting-like dark chocolate, which led to several bouts of embarrassing finger licking.

The powerhouse desserts are the elegant works of art (most are $6.25) including a beautiful combination of caramel, apple, and cheesecake that trumps any caramel apple by miles. For the Nutella addicts out there, the Noisette (hazelnut) cake is tops. A chocolate chiffon cake base is topped with a milk chocolate and hazelnut mousse, then coated with a dark chocolate glaze, all crowned with actual hazelnuts. For the holidays, that Pamplemousse is an excellent choice to order a celebratory bûche de noel log.

  • Trevor Felch

It's hard to look past the sweets, but the superb ham and gruyere quiche and the panini-like sandwiches on baked in-house baguette or wheat ciabatta are just as impressive, especially the beet and goat cheese one that gives the tired duo exciting life again. The quiche would be the must-order, with a good sturdy crust, a custard that isn't too cheesy or watery, and then the flourish of larger-than-usual slices of salty Serrano ham.

These are French café-portioned sandwiches, as in just the right size to finish lunch with some dessert. That's a good thing at Pamplemousse because c'est impossible to skip a macaron or canelé.

2401 Broadway St., Redwood City; (650) 599-9714.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Trevor Felch


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"