Sunday, October 10, 2010

New on Larchmont: Larchmont Bungalow

The commercial strip of Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly and First Street is known for many things such as roaming $1,000 strollers, overpriced crappy restaurants, and being the furthest point east within the city limits that many Hancock Park residents will go without a police escort. Now, there is a welcome new addition to the strip. Occupying a former antique furniture shop, Larchmont Bungalow is a homey place which smells warmly of the fresh coffee they roast in the front window. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a full pastry counter. I had brunch there a few weeks ago and have been doing my best to sample a wide variety of the pastries ever since.

The Bungalow has a large breakfast selection, available any time, including crepes, omelets, benedicts and more. I ordered the Latkes and Lox plate which is similar to Square One's salmon benedict, including lox and a poached egg over a potato latke. The latkes were a bit too crisp, really fried to the point of being tough, but the eggs were perfectly poached and I really enjoyed the wasabi creme fraiche.

The coffee is fine, but nothing special, which is too bad given the amount of effort they are putting into roasting their own. I had an espresso and a cappuccino, and wasn't impressed by the technical quality of either. The espresso was a bit thin and the cappuccino was too milky.

The Bungalow has a lovely pastry cabinet with a mixed bag inside. One of my favorite things was the strawberry muffin, a deeply pink muffin with a good strawberry flavor. I also enjoyed the chocolate cigar, a rolled chocolate croissant type pastry. The cupcakes were decent, but a number of the sweets, including both the lemon bars and the moon pies, were too sweet.

The cake selection looks very familiar if you have ever been to Sweet Lady Jane, the princess and berry cakes are almost identical to to popular versions at the Lady. I'm wondering if the Bungalow baker trained there or just "took her inspiration" from it. In any case, they are good copies. The princess cake's custard is rich and creamy with a distinctive egg/custard taste, but the cake is a bit dry. They also have a chocolate truffle cake, which is delightfully rich but a bit on the sweet side.

My favorite sweet was the chocolate bread pudding, a huge (though size varies) sort of muffin shaped creation. When warmed, the chocolate oozes over the bread in just the right way.

Not every dish is a star, but overall I really enjoyed the Larchmont Bungalow and it's a good addition to the neighborhood. I'm looking forward to more deeply exploring their menu.

Larchmont Bungalow
107 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 461-1528

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