A strawberry cake and smoothie. (Illustration by Emma Boersma)

Promising bakery leaves patrons with underwhelming results

Fellow freshman Miles Morrow and I went to 85°C Bakery Cafe (5591 Sky Parkway #411) due to its mix of Eastern and Western bakery styles.

85°C Bakery Cafe  has a wide variety of items, ranging from coffees and teas to savory bread and pastries. This bakery’s selection of pastries originates from all around the world, such as, Taiwan, Japan and Europe.

After exploring the bakery’s website, I had high hopes. According to its website, the bakery was founded “with the philosophy of five-star quality at affordable prices.” Yelp and the 85°C Bakery Cafe website were saturated with positive reviews. A reviewer on Yelp said that this was  “one of the best real bakeries in the area. Huge selection.”

This got me thinking that this was probably going to become one of my favorite bakeries.

In July 2017, they opened up their 1000th store in Houston, Texas, which is a great distance away from their first location in Taiwan.

After going to the bakery, however, I saw that statement differently, instead thinking they probably spread themselves too thin and should focus more on improving their food.

The vibe of  85°C Bakery Cafe was much more like that of a chain restaurant than of a five-star bakery, and the food was half decent at best.

When I think of a bakery, I imagine a calm and collected atmosphere where people can both contemplate and socialize but 85°C Bakery Cafe provided a loud and rushed experience that was almost like a supermarket. Based on how the customers were acting, the bakery seemed not like a  special treat but more like part of a boring routine, which ruins the aspect of a bakery. Also, everyone including the employers were very loud making it sometimes even hard to think.

One of the best things that we ordered was the Garlic Cheese ($2), which tasted like the average garlic bread with some cheese on top – pretty standard.

“The garlic bread had one similarity with all the other food we tried: the flavor was inconsistent throughout the bread” Miles said.
“Some bites were rather flavorful, while other tastes very bland, like plain bread”

One of our least favorite items was the Green Tea Choco Bun ($2), a green tea bun filled with chocolate and matcha cream. After reading the description of the bun, I was excited to try a great pastry, but I was very wrong.

Once again, the flavor was inconsistent throughout the bun, making some bites super sweet and others flavorless. Also, the cream did not complement the bread, thus turning the bun into more of a carrying device than an actual part of the pastry.

We also tried the ham, tuna and corn sandwich ($2.50), which had a unique flavor that was – surprisingly – one of the better items.

“I thought this was going to be really strange, but it is actually one of my favorites.” Miles said.

I was not very enthused about the sandwich, as tuna and corn usually don’t go together, but after trying it, I changed my mind. It wasn’t bad.

“The flavor really reminded me of Japan.”

We also tried the Deluxe Strawberry Cream ($3.20), which was listed as one of the “favorite dishes.”

It was a strawberry cake that had strawberry mousse, vanilla creme brulee and custard inside. I felt it was a reasonable price for the size of the slice.

The strawberry cake and the mousse were mediocre, but the creme brulee added a funky texture and flavor to the cake, taking away the creaminess of cake and mousse.

Lastly, we tried two different drinks: the Sea Salt Fruit Medley and the Mango Peach Smoothie, which were both $4.95.

The Sea Salt Fruit Medley followed the same trend as the rest of what we tasted at the bakery – second-rate. It tasted very artificial and unnatural. However, Miles’s drink – the Mango Peach Smoothie – was naturally fruity and refreshing, making it one of his favorite items, he said.
We didn’t have a choice in the size of our drinks, but the standard size was relatively large anyway, so no complaints here.

Overall, the 85°C Bakery Cafe did not live up to its online hype. Out of the six items we tried, only three were passable as good, and the ambiance didn’t fit what I like to see in bakeries.

—By Dylan Margolis

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