Lillian Lu and her husband, Tim, are keeping the fires of Denver's French food revolution
burning with the recent debut of the bakery half of their restaurant Noisette, which opened in August at 3254 Navajo Street
The bakery has its own entrance and offers a warm invite to breakfast- and lunch-goers, while the restaurant is open for dinner only. Stepping into the elegant, airy space feels like entering a Parisian cafe, whether you're grabbing a quick croissant or staying for a jambon-beurre sandwich and a bonbon.
"We bake our baguettes fresh every morning. Everything is baked fresh daily," says Lu, who has a background in pastry arts and leads the Noisette bakery. During the evenings, the fresh bread is already a fan-favorite appetizer, served with a specialty butter. The partially browned cultured butter is available to buy from the bakery alongside the baguettes every morning, as is a selection of bonbons (a truffle-like confection made of tempered chocolate and a flavored filling, like salted caramel), miniature quiches and croissants. For something to sip, there are non-alcoholic beverages like Novo coffee, tea, kombucha and fancy sodas.
Lillian Lu shares her French-style pastries, like almond croissants, from the Noisette bakery counter.
The croissants at Noisette look a tad different than the gigantic, glossy brown pastries often found in local bakeries. "The French style is a very golden-brown bake. It's a little bit softer, so it's still flaky, but it doesn't shatter as much," Lu explains. The result is a lighter, more tender bite, with all the delicious butteriness you expect. Along with the traditional variety, Noisette offers chocolate, almond and raisin croissants, as well as a particularly delightful savory ham and Comté cheese option.
While the bakery debuted with just a few types of pastries, Lu is looking forward to ramping up the variety to include French staples such as vegetable tarts, pâté en croûte (finely ground meat baked in a pastry shell), macarons and custardy cannelés. You'll also be able to indulge in an éclair Noisette, filled with caramelized chocolate and hazelnut cream ("noisette" is French for hazelnut).
The Tarte Tropezienne, which is currently on offer at the restaurant as a dessert, may also be added to the bakery lineup in the coming weeks, Lu teases; the simple combination of a pearl sugar-topped brioche bun filled with vanilla cream was a standout when Noisette opened last month
In the morning, bakery visitors can find pastries like croissants and buns; in the afternoon, expect sandwiches, terrines and tarts.
No matter what you enjoy from the bakery, it's sure to be made from components that are sourced thoughtfully. "We want to put a lot of attention to detail in, and that starts with the ingredients we're using," Lu says. French Isigny Saint-Mère butter is the foundation for many of Noisette's signatures. Lu prefers Washington-based Cairnspring Mills stone-milled flour for the baguettes, while high-end Valrhona chocolate goes into the pain au chocolat. "To us, it all matters. The end product will taste a lot better if we put a lot of care into what goes into it in the beginning," she adds.
Along with sweet and savory pastries and breads, the bakery also has a vetted selection of French mustards, cheeses, Sparrow Lane vinegars and high-quality olive oil. Don't forget to grab a baguette, so you can spread and dip to your heart's content. Bon appétit!
Noisette Bakery is located at 3254 Navajo Street and is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit noisettedenver.com.