Well, I know you guys hate my photo reviews, but I discovered Sweet Thyme Bakery right next to Depot Square, on Mass Ave in Lexington Center. (Next door to the popular Via Lago.) I'm gunna give you the scoop, no doubt, in words too this time however.
If you like Cafe Japonaise, and have an idea of how serious and to what heights Japan takes parisian style baked goods in Japan, this is not to be missed! I walked in not expecting much, maybe a Chinatown style coffeeshop. Soon as we saw the display case, I was blown away. Roulades, exotic flavored cheesecakes, mini cream puffs, tarts, butter cookies, all pretty much to Japanese standards. Japanese (err English) style breads too. That's not even half of it. The section is not quite as large as CJ, (no savory items, not her thing) but it's pretty impressive for 6 months in.
The owner started talking to us and I was pretty sure she was Taiwanese. I was right. There is just no way any other Chinese could get to this level. She did in fact confirm that many of her clientele is Japanese. She's super charming and super talented, she just has some gift. It's her first place and basically she was a home baker before and her husband an office worker. They are Cindy and Chris, and I urge you to support them, as first-time businesses are often dicey. (Frankly they are charging half of what they should, so buy it up!) They don't speak fluent english (there was a funny moment when we asked for "wi-fi" or "internet", we gave up trying to ask, she simply didn't understand either word! But man she bakes fierce, and she's cute! Move over Joanne Chang!
The cafe is very serene and easily the best place to chill out in Lexington. In contrast, CJ in Brookline is such a dump, as a Japanese I'm totally embarrassed how low-rent Hiroko keeps that place. (However, many years ago, Hiroko had my favorite sushi place in Boston, on Beacon St, technically Brookline. The sidewalk belongs to Boston however.)
So in my mind, Sweet Thyme is bit more Japanese than the Japanese competition around here, and that is saying a lot. The reality is that Cindy's products are representative of Taiwan's diversity in cuisine, and then it's her own interests on top of that. Very eclectic indeed.
The iced jasmine tea had a pretty explosive bouquet and just the right amount of sweetness. She gave us a free sample. She also laid a free pastry on my friend, it's not even on the menu and I can't remember it.
Also, this would be my first choice in Boston-area for a birthday cake. The quality is undoubtably there and the prices, OMG. It's just underpriced for now, I think their inexperience shows in this regard. Your gain!
Ya gotta go. I don't even like sweets, but, ya gotta go.
Time to get my photo on bitches!
1032 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215