A lot of travel shows and foodie blogs talk about "hidden gems" - so much so that the term almost loses all meaning. How can there be so many places that are off-the-beaten path, and more importantly, how can they all be any good?
With that said, I can't think of any better to way to describe Brown's Court Bakery on St. Philip Street. Clichè or not, it truly is a hidden gem.
The business is only a few months old and is located in a pretty quiet section of the peninsula. It is surrounded by homes and a couple empty buildings, so it's very easy to miss. These factors must be the reason Brown's Court Bakery isn't jam-packed throughout the day. It's the only explanation I can think of because this place rocks.
The building is a typical downtown Charleston-styled home, which means the front isn't very wide, but the body goes far back. This makes for a somewhat odd introduction to the bakery. The front counter, large menu, and an assortment of pastries and treats immediately greet you, but you may miss all the fresh-baked goods around the corner.
Thankfully, the staff on each of my visits was very helpful in pointing out all of the offerings. They were also eager to answer any questions I had and quick to give out recommendations.
The building had some nice, understated decor and a secluded upstairs seating area. It was a nice area to sit, relax, enjoy some tasty food and take advantage of their free wi-fi.
The real star of Brown's Court Bakery is, of course, the food. You can buy just about any type of baked good - bread, scones, muffins, cookies, croissants, cakes, sweet rolls, etc. - a variety of coffees and teas and other treats. Everything I got was delicious, so it seems you can't go wrong with whatever you order.
First, I had the sriracha croissant. The bread was buttery and warm and had a little bit of sriracha cooked into it. This adds just the slightest bit of heat to the pastry and somehow it works.
I also tried the Bacon Cheddar Scone which had pieces of pork belly cooked into it. Once again, the bakery had a winner. It wasn't too cheesy and the tiny bits of pork belly tasted just like bacon. It was like eating a bacon and cheese breakfast sandwich.
I don't normally get excited about bread, but after tasting these pastries, I knew I'd have to pick up a full loaf of their hamburger, challah, or french bread on my next visit.
I brought home some cookies and a muffin-top to enjoy later and I'm happy I did. Ms. Holy City Sinner loved the cookies as much as I did, especially since they are HUGE. Usually a large portion will sacrifice the taste but that was not the case. I recommend the Cookie's-N-Cream Cookie.
On each of my visits I bought an iced coffee, which was really good. I know it's a plain and boring drink but you'd be surprised how many places screw it up. Brown's was perfect.
The business is in its infancy but it's doing everything right so far. It's only a matter of time before this hidden gem because one of the city's hotspots.
Brown's Court Bakery
199 Saint Philip
Charleston, SC 29403
Open daily 7am-7pm