If you have yet to saunter into Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter on Walton in Gold Coast, your “foodie” life hasn’t yet begun. Opened in 2010 by partners Chef Renaud and Dominique—who happen to be two of the most lovely and warm people I have ever met—this authentic Belgian bakery is filled with an amazing collection of patisserie and savory breads and tarts. The buttery aroma gently envelops your senses while your eyes catch glimpses of the perfectly crafted yet approachable offerings that are made in small batches and personally brought to the front by maître pâtissier Renaud.
Renaud’s love affair with bread started at the age of 14. He says “at the end of the day in my little boarding school we were given a piece of bread with a chunk of dark chocolate. That bread was the best I had ever tasted. But it was never to be found again as it seemed to be the artisanal work of the baker in that little village and thus not to be found elsewhere. The only way I was ever going to find that delicious bread would be to make it myself! So I worked days on end until my 'memories' were finally satisfied with the result. I had found my bread! But in my haste, I had forgotten to write down the proportion of each ingredient. So I started again until I had it and this time I wrote my recipe down. Now I make that bread every day with these ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt.” That bread is his signature Belgian Country Bread which measures almost eighteen inches across!
Now, Chef Renaud towers over most of us, yet has the mobility of a crane—sleek, silent, and mesmerizing. He works with passion in his eyes which clearly becomes deliciously tangible. He moves about the small kitchen with purpose and knows exactly what step is next. Watching him pipe luxurious chocolate mousse into individual serving cups was captivating and inspiring. Chef Renaud is truly a master craftsman. His partner Dominique is the definition of chic. Wearing a white t-shirt, layered necklaces, and a nude-colored blazer she effortlessly handles the steady flow of eager clients streaming through the front door. With her charm and enchanting accent she is the quintessential hostess, greeting each and every guest, instantly making them feel at home
Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter is simple in design, painted in black and orange, without fuss and fluff, and offers seating at clean-lined modern tables. The music in the background helps to evoke the feeling of a bakery plucked right from the cobblestone streets of Belgium. The breads, croissants, and tarts are effortlessly and proudly piled high on a sideboard in full view while a tall refrigerated case is filled with pastries and cakes. It’s truly a delicious sight to be seen!
The next time you are strolling around the shops and streets of Gold Coast make sure Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter is on your list of places to stop for a sweet treat, savory croissant, or fresh bread to take home for dinner that evening! I hope you are as captivated as I was (and still am!).
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