Sunday 17 November 2019

BETA5 Cafe Opening Party including holiday flavour preview

BETA 5 Holiday Creampuffs: Christmas Tree | Rudolph's Nose | White Forest | Snowball
BETA5 is kicking off the holiday season with the opening of their very first BETA5 Cafe aka BETA5 2.0! The 900 square foot cafe can seat up to 16 patrons and is conveniently located adjacent to their current production. So if you are craving some BETA5 creations, you will still need to make the trek into the industrial neighbourhood near Science World, but rumours have been floating that a more central downtown location is also in the works. To celebrate their opening, BETA5 invited media and influencers (like me!!!) to preview their 2019 Holiday Collection.  

Co-owner and lead pastry chef, Adam Chandler, loves to experiment with new and unique flavour profiles and equally enjoys the newest technological developments. BETA5's Cafe has been outfitted with the latest chilled display. The L-shaped counter displays their chocolate as well as their signature cream puffs, but there are other non-cream puff desserts in the works. Fingers crossed for some cake! I am going to try my best to describe the refrigerated countertop in words, so bear with me. The more widely used chilled cases have a door that is kept shut, but this commonly leads to condensation to build up inside. The moisture from the condensation can affect the pastries. The new BETA5 showcase has been designed to be half-open so there will be no condensation problem. There are pictures at the bottom that give you a look at the case. 

In a few weeks' time, BETA5 will be dropping their 2019 Holiday flavours!!! Snowball is a swirl of raspberry mousse, blueberry compote and passionfruit curd with a cute white pavlova meringue as a garnish. Rudolph's Nose is filled with strawberry mousse and a red glazed milk tea mousse genoise sponge cake on top. Christmas Tree is the puff with the fun tree-shaped green matcha whipped ganache and is filled with a black sesame mousse with yuzu curd. 

Making a return for the holidays is the eclair and just for argument-sake, yes, both the "cream puff" and "eclair" are made with choux pastry and primary difference is the piping - eclair long line vs. the cream puff a dollop. So yes they essentially are the same type of dessert, but it is fun to see a new shape. 

The White Forest eclair is filled with a pineapple curd and has whipped coconut ganache peaks with a sprinkling of coconut crumble. The eclair was my favourite because the pineapple curd is a burst of bright tropical flavour and is exceptionally balanced with the whipped coconut ganache. It was a nice change from the mousses that BETA5 commonly uses in their cream puffs because the mousse tends to make the puffs dense and feel more calorically heavy. I really hope BETA5 will make their puffs smaller in size too and offer the mini size because then I can have multiple flavours. Their current cream puff size is pretty large and almost a meal on its own. 

Regular-sized Rose Lychee Cream Puff vs. the Mini Rudolph's Nose
Patrons will now be able to create "Bespoke" chocolate boxes aka select from the massive showcase filled with BETA5's hand-painted chocolates that glisten like jewels. Joining the puffs and chocolates is a brand new caffeinated and chocolate beverages program. The hot chocolates will be crafted using the same high-quality chocolate that BETA5 uses in all their edible creations. 

I am a massive fan of BETA5 desserts and their team has singlehandedly created hundreds of unique flavour combinations, so it pains me to type this next paragraph. The cafe's design does not evoke excitement within me. Considering how BETA5 is always at the forefront of flavour development in Vancouver, I had big expectations. One of the main aspects of cafe culture is fostering a sense of community and stimulating conversation. BETA5's cafe only offers wall-facing tables was a massive disappointment to me because ultimately, it forces patrons to sit side-by-side and stare at a wall. Imagine coming as a group of 4 or more....the current seating option makes sharing desserts pretty awkward. 

Despite the addition of the geometric pastel-toned mural on one wall and matching green and pink coloured stools, the cafe still managed to feel muted. Even the addition of Bocci light fixtures could not breathe life into the design. For those that are unfamiliar with Bocci's work, you just need to give Tacofino's Commissary a quick google to see the spectacular copper, glass and PLANTS installation from the ceiling! The weirdest design choice for me was the concrete cinderblock division smack dab in the middle of the cafe. I reckon it is to separate the line from the seating; however, for me, it, feels disruptive and takes away from the flow of the space. 
I am DYING - this comment was left on DailyHive's post on BETA5's Cafe Sneek Peek Post.
The funny thing is, I am NOT the only person who feels the cafe's space is being underutilized and is disappointed in the choice of seating. I honestly died when I saw this comment on DailyHive's post regarding the opening and cannot help myself in sharing it. 

I am curious to know how you feel about BETA5 Cafe's design. Do you think it is boring or do you love it? Either way, their flavours are always spot-on and I hope they will continue putting out delicious desserts for years to come! 


Picture courtesy of BETA5
Picture courtesy of BETA5 

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