Friday, July 17, 2009

Guglhupf Bakery & Patisserie : Durham

This was my family's last meal in North Carolina before heading off to the airport to go our separate ways. It was somewhat unfortunate not being able to try out NC bbq and some of the other local restaurants that were supposed to be good, but then again the purpose of the trip was to help my brother move and settle in and logistics frequently constrained our dining choices.

It was also unfortunate that our last meal of pastries at Guglhupf was mediocre to put it kindly.

Guglhupf has a pretty nice space, with outdoor seating and two floors of seating space inside. They've got some pretty interesting large black & white photos on the wall (I suspect by a local photog?). And it most definitely appeals to the coffee-house yuppie looking for that slightly upscale/slighty manufactured quirky atmosphere.

Another way to be put it, as my brother pointed out, was that everyone had a Mac.

As for the pastries, they ranged from mediocre to uniquely bad.

I suppose they probably start off things on the wrong foot by messing up my two favorites: chocolate chip cookies and croissants.

Chocolate Chip Cookie - This is like cake with chocolate chips. Umm, no.

Croissant - Flaky on the outside, but in one of the more unusually disgusting methods possible, butter pools up your mouth on each chew. Oh man, how can people stand for this?

But the other pastries didn't hold up either...

Chocolate Coffee Cafe - Terribly dry.

Oatmeal Craisin - Insultingly moist like those packaged cookies in plastic baggies.

Apple Gratin - Not overly tart or sweet, but just not distinctive. The uniformly soggy texture left a lot to be desired as well.

Fruit Tart - This one in particular astounded me. How can you possibly mangle the fruits in a fruit tart? I've tasted versions where they veer more towards the natural taste of fruits, risking being overly tart if the fruits aren't ripe. And there's also the opposite, where the sugary sweetness overwhelms. But this was like let's cover up the fruit with a tasteless grok so that no flavor comes through.

At this point, I stopped taking individualized notes. But each pastry just seemed to assault common sense in what makes for a good pastry.

Double Chocolate Cookie


Chocolate Croissant

Omelette with mushrooms (I think?) and salsa - Average omelette. Not a fan of the salsa.

I had found out about Guglhupf via Chowhound, when it seemed to come up over and over again. From this experience, I really don't understand how Guglhupf could be so popular. Perhaps the lunches or dinners are different than their baked goods? Or perhaps more disenchantingly, that I strongly disagree with a lot of the local chowhounders' tastes?

In any case, I will note that there was one dissenting opinion on Guglhupf. If I were to have stayed longer, I would have wanted to try out their recommendation for Gourmandises de France.

2706 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Durham, NC 27707-2841 (Map)
(919) 401-2600
($Bakery, $North Carolina)

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