The other week, I finally had the opportunity to visit a bakery I’ve had my eye on for years, Jin Patisserie. With a beautiful sense of style, adventurous use of flavors and strong focus on tea, Jin Patisserie is a large source of inspiration for the work I do for my own bakery. Owner Kristy Choo grew up in Singapore and is heavily influenced by the Japanese style of cuisine. This asian influence comes across in the store, but is nicely merged with the laid back style that the Venice, California location is famous for.
Jin Patisserie is located on one of the main streets of Venice, filled with boutique stores and restaurants housed in buildings that look like private homes. When you enter through Jin Patisserie’s gate you will see an open garden area, filled with tables, trees and a flowing waterfall. You don’t see any products for sale, and unless you knew ahead of time what Jin Patisserie was about you would never guess gourmet chocolates and cookies are hiding in the house on the back of the lot.
I stopped by the store around lunchtime, and sat down in the garden next to trendy Angelinos discussing important topics like branding and essential oils. The lunch menu had several exotic cake options like Desire, a manjari chocolate mousse, and over 30 teas with interesting names like Fleur de Geisha, Aux fruits du Nepal, Des Concubines and Bai Mu Darie. The number of savory lunch options was limited, but since this is a “pastry boutique” I didn’t mind. I settled on the chicken salad sandwich, primarily because it came with a cake-of-the-day. I didn’t know what it would be, but I was happy to have the decision made for me since the cake selections on the rest of the menu looked to good to decide myself. I also ordered a Du Hammam tea (green tea with rose petals and orange water) since it was noted as a customer favorite.
The chicken sandwich was excellent, but I primarily saw it as a way to add substance to my lunch. I was really there for the dessert, and the cake-of-the-day turned out to be a tangerine-lemon jelly served in a bean shaped dish.
This was not exactly the cake I had in mind (it wasn’t actually a cake afterall), but I still had high hopes for it. After taking two bites I sat back and thought to myself it wasn’t worth the calories to finish. The citrus flavor was too strong for me, and it was topped with blueberries that were so stale I spent longer chewing them than I did the sandwich. The entire dessert experience wasn’t lost though, since the Du Hammam tea more than made up for the “cake”.
This tea is one of the best teas I have ever had in my life. The description on the menu called it “thirst quenching” and I don’t know of a better way to describe it myself. It has such a satisfying and calming effect I never wanted the pot of tea to end.
After finishing my lunch, I made my way into the shop in the house at the back. The store is so small you can barely fit four people at once, and it is hard to get a sense of all that is for sale. Customers waiting to pay for their orders blocked my view of chocolates for sale at the counter. They also have teas lining the back wall, but you have to enter the employee area to get a close look so I passed on examining those further (even though I was hoping to get a bag of loose leaf Du Hammam to go). I settled on two bags of miniature cookies sitting on the counter: one Green Tea, one Peanut Butter Sesame. The Green Tea cookies were more bitter than I prefer, but the Peanut Butter Sesame cookies were addicting. Perfectly crumbly and rich in flavor, I could eat the entire bag in one sitting.
With beautiful designs and a creative menu, Jin Patisserie still remains a source of inspiration for me. I now see it as a restaurant rather than a boutique, and realize it is better for sitting down in than browsing for gifts. Next time I’m in LA, chances are good you will find me relaxing in the garden, enjoying afternoon tea and cake (of my own choosing next time).
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291