Up-and-coming croissant shop translates passion into pastry

Food sandwish
Local bakery Croissant Wasat Al-Balad, located in Downtown Amman, offers a variety of sweet and savory croissants. (Photos: Croissant Wasat Al-Balad)
If you happen to be strolling through Downtown Amman on a morning walk, you will most likely be greeted with the wafting scent of buttery croissants. In that case, you can follow those delicious aromas straight to their source: a local shop called Croissant Wasat Al-Balad.اضافة اعلان

The bakery, which opened to the public in May, is nestled on Prince Ghazi Street, a side street close to the gold market downtown.

It all began when two former college friends, Hamzeh Khamees and Mohammed Abu Nasrah, teamed up to realize their dream of opening a Jordanian bakery that specializes in decadent and indulgent French pastry: a fusion of art, architecture, science, and “magic”.

“During our time in college, we majored in computer science. Mohammed always had the passion to start his own business, but I decided to give it a go in the IT industry,” Khamees told Jordan News. “I worked there for a year before deciding to leave since I didn’t feel fulfilled by this line of work and it didn’t make financial sense for me.”

The pure, unadulterated joy of taking that first bite, and the aromas of our croissants speak volumes about the passion we have and the efforts we pour into each one of them.

Ambitious tenacity
Eventually, the duo found themselves exploring entrepreneurship in the culinary field. “We considered which area of the food industry we wanted to enter, and we decided to dedicate our efforts to baking the best croissants in Jordan,” Khamees said.

They engaged a group of professionals, ranging from financial experts to pastry chefs, and conducted comprehensive research, feasibility studies, and market readiness analyses.

Success takes time, though, just like anything worthwhile. Initially, Khamees and Abu Nasrah encountered opposition. Critical questions were constantly thrown at them, such as: “How will you get your hands on enough capital?” However, the two friends persevered. They dug their heels in, took calculated risks, and went ahead with their plans.

They conquered hurdles typical of opening an establishment: rent, licensing, machinery maintenance, and selecting and purchasing ingredients, as well as customer-facing steps such as packaging and marketing.

Despite all the difficulties they faced, their team was the key that enabled them to overcome everything. “We truly worked as a team,” said Khamees. “Together, we toured Amman until we located the ideal place to house our business, with all the help we could muster from our friends.”

In the test kitchen
Developing a personalized recipe for the rich, flaky pastries was no mean feat. Through intensive experimentation and testing, Khamees and Abu Nashrah landed on their own foolproof method. Each croissant is made start to finish on a fully operational production line in the back room of the bakery.

The crescent-shaped pastry is formed of dough layered with butter, rolled, and folded numerous times in succession, then flattened into a thin sheet through a technique called laminating, Khamees explained. The water in the solid butter swiftly turns into steam while the pastries bake. This rapid change in the dough’s state achieves that optimal balance between flaky exterior and airy interior.

They had to get a public reaction, though, so the two entrepreneurs started testing focus groups and taking their feedback into consideration. Once satisfied, they opened their shop to the public. Initial customer turnout was not all that high, but as time went on, customers kept coming back, spreading the news to their friends and families. Eventually, Croissant Wasat Al-Balad developed a loyal customer base.

‘Pure joy’

“Customers not only liked the atmosphere of the place and the experience of eating a croissant, but also the quality of our baked goods,” said Khamees. “The pure, unadulterated joy of taking that first bite, and the aromas of our croissants speak volumes about the passion we have and the efforts we pour into each one of them.”

The shop’s menu includes plain croissants, sweet croissants — including custard, Nutella, pistachio, Lotus, and honey — and savory croissants with halloumi cheese, za’atar, and turkey. Customers can also purchase breakfast boxes and sweet mixed boxes covered in toppings and garnishes.

To expand their customer base and increase their order traffic, Croissant Wasat Al-Balad also joined Talabat, Jordan’s leading food delivery app. “If we can’t bring them in, we will go out for them,” Khamees said.

The shop’s target market includes locals who work nearby, shoppers who need a place to rest their feet after a long day out, and tourists who might want to grab a bite on-the-go.

“We do believe that this is the first rung of our success ladder, we have our eyes set on the top,” the entrepreneur said. “We are always on the look-out to expand and upgrade our services.”

“Who knows! With consistency, we might as well open other branches in a few years’ time,” he said.

When it comes to croissants, simplicity is key. Croissant Wasat Al-Balad truly exemplifies this principle, enchanting customers with a buttery, flaky pastry baked with passion.

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