While in Seattle last weekend, my husband and I popped into Belle Epicurean, aka Belle’s Buns. As we were walking by, we saw this sign, and since two of my favorite things are fresh baked pastries and espresso, I knew instantly that I had to try something here. Thankfully, the husband agreed to have our breakfast here, and in we went.
Attached to the beautiful downtown Seattle Fairmont, Belle Epicurean is a little slice of Paris. Right when you walk in, you are hit with the amazing aroma of sweet buns and quality coffee. The decor is quaint, with a few small tables set up around the gleaming counter of bun goodness. For me, this is the best way to discover a new city - enjoy a leisurely cappuccino and watch the people stroll by (or in our case, watch the tourists try to figure out how to use the complicated parking meter system).
The girl who worked the counter was very friendly. While I knew the husband would want a pain au chocolate, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in the mood for. I was feeling anti-chocolate, so I asked her what her favorite, non-chocolate item was. She pointed out their bun of the month, a blackberry sticky bun. In addition, I ordered two cappuccinos - a large for the husband and a small for me.
(Note: the large was 12 oz and the small was 8 oz. Both came with two shots of espresso, so the difference was in the amount of foam. I suggest the small. While I love foam, the ratio is off with the large. If you are into milky lattes, though, I guess the large could be for you. Moi, I thought the 8 oz was perfect.)
Now, for the money shots. Here’s the pain au chocolate:
It was at once dense and flaky, buttery and chocolate-y. All around, quite enjoyable. Maybe not the best in the world, but that’s what Paris is for, right?
However, my blackberry sticky bun? Unbelievable. Here’s a shot that won’t do it much justice:
The bun was so soft and tender, and the sauce had the perfect balance between sticky sweetness and tart blackberry. My guess is that the sauce was made with a blackberry compote, as there were large blackberry pieces mixed into the sauce. While it was pretty sweet, it was the perfect compliment to my cappuccino:
Look at that foam! I absolutely loved this cappuccino. It reminded me of what Alton Brown once said: espresso is about the four M’s: the miscela, the maciazione, the macchina, and the mano. In other words, the blend of the beans, the grind of the beans, the machine, and the skilled hand of the barista. (Sounds better in Italian, no?) Well, Belle Epicurean had all four, and then some.
I have to say, this was a great place to spend some time eating, drinking, chatting, reading the paper, or just people watching. In addition to watching the tourists learn how to use the parking meter, I also saw a little girl completely delighted to find she was the same height as this little statue:
Seattle may be completely over run with Starbucks. It’s no exaggeration to say there’s one on every corner downtown. But, Seattle also has just as many small cafes, that are completely worth checking out, none more so than Belle Epicurean.
Belle Epicurean is located in Downtown Seattle at 1206 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 262-9404