I came across a tweet two days ago that made my ears perk up. It was regarding mini cinnamon buns at the very newly opened Area Four in the Technology Square section of Cambridge, right next to Kendall Square. Monday was its opening date. A new cafe/bakery? I couldn’t try it out soon enough.
The space is modern with industrial accents, unsurprising for a place whose address is Technology Square. The ceilings are high and natural light floods in from floor to ceiling windows on two walls of the rectangular space.
The sleek black counter provided a strong contrast to the homey breakfast pastries piled atop it: cherry coffee cake, carrot walnut loaf, blackberry corn muffins. While decided what to order, I tasted samples of deliciously light and tender cranberry orange scone. I don’t often find scones that wow me, and this one was flat out delightful. We decided to start off with an almond croissant and a cinnamon bun.
If I didn’t already have an affinity for almond croissants, Area Four’s would certainly have sold me by appearance alone. It had that perfectly light and crispy golden brown crust. The two corners of the crescent were extra dark and crunchy, just the way I like it. Beneath that golden outside, things got interesting. A typical almond croissant has a thick ribbon of sweetened almond paste surrounded by flakey layers of pastry. Here however, the almond paste and the croissant dough morphed into one; there was no clear distinction between where pastry ended and almond paste began. I don’t even know how one achieves that sort of structure, but it was delicious, as well as incredibly sweet and rich. When I initially spotted the croissants on the counter, I thought they looked a tad the small side. Halfway through one of these, I was fortunate that it was not any larger.
The cinnamon buns, while smaller than the standard size, are a satisfying miniature treat and, like the croissant, will not seem so small once you start eating it. The outer edge had a nice brown crust, while the inside was a soft and tender golden yellow. Covering the top was the nice layer of thick and creamy frosting with the perfect amount of sweetness. Not too thin and sticky to be called a glaze, it held its shape and did not drip off of the bun.
After our first round, we decided to sample one more breakfast pastry. The most unique item was the Craquelin, brioche with orange rind and sugar cubes baked inside. This was a massive piece of yeasty and eggy sweet bread with subtle hinds of orange. The top was a glossy golden brown. You break it open to find pockets where the sugar cube caramelized and partially melted into the dough. Beware biting fully into one of these pockets or be prepared for sugar overload. A wiser method would be to strategically tear it so that each bite has a little bit of the caramelized sugar.
As we were getting ready to leave, pastry chef Katie Kimble was just beginning to set out some of the afternoon pastries, starting with a platter of large chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and ginger cookies. I had heard rumors of whoopie pies and she assured me that those would be coming out shortly as well. I was quite full of breakfast pastry, and so I decided to leave the whoopie pies and cookies for another visit, which I foresee happening very soon. I also plan to try out their lunch fare, which includes sandwiches, soups, and salads. And this all is just from the cafe and bakery. Work is still being done on the restaurant and bar right next door. For now, I am content to work my way through the offerings at the bakery. Katie Kimble has put on an impressive showing at the bakery and I look forward to seeing what she turns out at the restaurant.
500 Technology Square