The Bakery at Republique
Biscuit with Honey and Butter
Hazelnut Paris Brest
Sticky Bun Doughnut
Crème Brulee and Raspberry Jam Bombolini
Reinventing the old Campanile space as an all-day French-infused eatery, complete with imported ovens from France and rotisserie from Italy, there is little doubt that Walter Manzke went ‘all-in’ on Republique, and as much as I’d have liked to visit for dinner despite luke-warm reviews from people I trust the timing simply didn’t work – a breakfast audition featuring the work of Margarita Manzke instead offering some of the best pastries in Los Angeles and plenty of impetus to return during my next trip west. Truly a beautiful building, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light lending an open and airy feeling to several unique seating options, entry to Republique intentionally sets the visitor face to face to Margarita’s goods and with friendly service both at the counter and within the restaurant confines the only question becomes what not to order as nearly two dozen pastries gleam like jewels behind glass. Additionally offering a limited menu of breakfast favorites as both the open-bakery and bustling kitchen worked diligently in plain sight it was entirely in options from the bakery side that I devoted my order and although admittedly a gluttonous order of seven the results were universally worthwhile, my first bites of the seemingly expensive $4 buttermilk biscuit immediately reconceptualizing my ‘best ever’ list as softly separating layers melted in my mouth beneath a smear of French butter. Trying my best to progress from more subtle options to those more sweet it was next in the Canele that I partook and with a sturdy shell that tasted precisely of burnt sugar atop a creamy, custard center I again swooned – the Kouign Amann only slightly less successful in that it was a touch less crisp than others I’ve experienced, a case of splitting hairs as it was still a shattering buttery experience better than most. Moving onward to heavier flavors it was next in a still-warm brioche doughnut that I indulged and with a sticky lacquer studded with pecans each bite was light and lovely, a true hybrid of the two items from which it was imagined. A bit underwhelmed by a Paris Brest that likely would have been better off with a few more minutes of baking despite hazelnut cream that was airy yet rich my final bites of Ms. Manzke’s wares came in the form of two delicate Italian styled donuts and although the house-made jam was quite lovely it was the lightly burnt sugar overlying sweet custard that shined brightest, the flavors textures of crunch and cream both bidding for top billing with the soft and yeasty vessel.
RECOMMENDED: Buttermilk Biscuit, Bombolini, Canele, Sticky Bun Doughnut.
AVOID: If you want to be nitpicky, the choux on the Hazelnut Brest was just a touch softer than would be ideal while the concept seemed cribbed from Dominique Ansel’s Paris-New York pastry…but even then, this item was still quite good.
TIP: With a selection that rotates not only daily, but throughout the day, those looking for a specific item would be best served to call in advance…or just show up and hope it is there, and if not, order something else with relative assurance that it will be quite good.