Walking into Champagne Poetry Pâtisserie is guaranteed to draw a smile out of even the most stubborn curmudgeon: The new bakery on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard is a pink wonderland of fluffy cakes, airbrushed tarts and airy soufflé pancakes.
Named after the first track on Drake’s 2021 album Certified Lover Boy, there’s a definite feeling of trendiness infused into the bakery’s bright purple ube buns and lavender rose swirl macarons, meant to be photographed in front of an entire wall filled with pastel roses and a pair of neon angel wings.
But as Drake samples the 1965 Beatles song “Michelle” heavily in “Champagne Poetry,” chef-owner Dan Bian also draws on classic influences for her confections. That is to say, everything about Champagne Poetry is actually dead serious, dedicated to infusing those French staples with everything from yuzu to guava to ube.
Bian, who founded La Rose Pâtisserie in Beaverton, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, training with renowned pastry chefs Cedric Grolet and Johan Martin. La Rose is no longer under Bian’s ownership, and she has turned her focus to opening this foot traffic-heavy spot on Hawthorne this spring.
Weekends already boast a solid line of people out the door, often sets of femme friends who stand back for a while, unable to decide which treat from the technicolor array they’ll order. To save yourself some time, start with the soufflé pancakes ($18), an eggy, aerated Japanese twist on the breakfast staple that requires its own special machines to make. They’ll take at least 20 minutes to arrive, so grab some sustenance to tide you over.
There’s a whole mess of rosé to choose from, including several sparkling options, as well as espresso, boba tea, and one of the most balanced Italian raspberry cream sodas I’ve had in years—the drinkable cloud has an ideal ratio of treacly syrup, rich cream and fizzy soda.
Champagne Poetry’s baked goods skew heavily sweet, but there are a few savory options, including a spinach feta croissant ($4.99), with a creamy filling inside a crispy and appropriately crumbly buttery dough. Mochi cookies ($4.99), both in standard chocolate chip and matcha with white chocolate, wrap cookie dough around soft, chewy mochi—a textural delight for anyone who prefers their cookies on the gooey side.
The macaron ($3-$3.50) selection is truly impressive, with options from classic vanilla and pistachio to lychee and yuzu, but the results vary depending primarily on how freshly they’ve been baked.
The real stars, however, are the cakes. My favorite is the Mango Tango ($8.99), Bian’s tribute to Grolet, who is famous for his hyperrealistic bakes. Airbrushed to look like the real tropical fruit, your fork shatters the illusion, revealing a super-silky mango mousse with a layer of passion fruit and banana purée that provides a burst of tartness. Similarly, a dark chocolate mousse cake ($7.99) arrives looking to all the world like the perfect Homer Simpson doughnut: shiny, bright pink and topped with sprinkles.
Cheesecakes ($6.99) are given a slight brûlée effect, and Champagne Poetry’s version is less dense and less sugary than a traditional New York-style slice. The matcha version provides a touch of bitterness for even more balance.
The Cloud 9 buns ($3.99-$4.50) may seem flamboyant, standing 6 inches high with layers of cream cheese frosting and a dusting of milk powder. However, there is restraint in the salty-sweet flavor and bready texture, which makes for a good morning bun that won’t send you into hyperglycemic shock.
Particularly with the forthcoming loss of Pix Pâtisserie, Champagne Poetry launched at just the right time, filling what would’ve been a void: a pleasant place to have a drink and something divine to snack on before wandering on to continued adventures. I only wish it were open late every day, at least during the summer; I’d be in post-dinner at least once a week.
EAT: Champagne Poetry Pâtisserie, 3343 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-265-8834, champagnepoetry.biz. 9:30 am-7 pm Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 9:30 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday.