The signage in front of Cream Espresso Bar & Bakery severely undersells what you’ll find inside: “Acai bowl, pastries, gelato, coffee” hardly does justice to what is, I believe, the best selection of Armenian baked goods on Long Island.
Georgio Hambartsoumian opened the little shop in July 2019. He’s been running a pizzeria in Queens, but friends of his, who own Avli: the Little Greek Kitchen in the same shopping center, suggested a bakery might do well there.
Noting that his mother, Tereza, “is an amazing baker,” Hambartsoumian put her to work scaling up the Armenian recipes that had been passed down in the family for generations. His sister, Elisa, is the third leg of the bakery stool.
The queen among confections is the “bird’s milk cake.” Unlike American-style layer cakes, each half-inch layer is baked individually — not crosscut from a taller cake — so that it comprises both crumb and crust. Four layers are sandwiched with vanilla cream and topped with Belgian-chocolate glaze and cut, prettily, into diamonds.
Then there are the three-dimensional fruit cookies that look like marzipan because their sugared exteriors mimic the texture of peaches, pears and apricots. But take a bite and, instead of tooth-achingly-sweet almond paste, it’s a tender biscuit.
Tereza Hambartsoumian is a little nuts about nuts, conducting comparisons between pistachios from all over the world before deciding that it’s the French ones, a verdant green, that can go into her macarons — both filling and shell. All macaron shells here are made with ground almonds but, depending on the filling, she’ll cut the almonds with pistachios or hazelnuts.
On the savory side, you can accompany your morning coffee with adjaski, open-faced pizzas, very similar to Turkish pide, filled with cheese, eggs and more. The coffee, by the way, is supplied by up-and-coming roaster Four Five which supplies many upscale Greek establishments and also operates a cafe in Manhasset. Another of Hambartsoumian’s Greek connections is Mia’s Bakery in Brooklyn, which supplies Cream with individual wedges of elaborate (and delicious) layer cakes.
Everything else is made by Tereza and Elisa: doughnuts, éclairs, napoleons, brownies and cookies (regular and gluten free) and more.
If you are ordering an acai bowl here, you have missed the boat.
Cream opens every day at 9 a.m. and is open until 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, until 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m. on Thursday and until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Cream Espresso Bar & Bakery, 2455 Jerusalem Ave., North Bellmore, 516-636-5216