by Marie-Anne, 10 Nov 2011
Last time I visited, in July 2007, the place had been lauded in TimeOut. The window shone with sparkling jewel-like desserts and the counter was full of piping hot pastries that would melt in your mouth. The indulgent chocolate eclairs were small and light in the French style.
The freshness and the Frenchness of this cafe always appealed to me and I'd plan a day getting there to enjoy it. This past Sunday I got up early and got there for opening at 9am. I ordered a cappucino and a croque monsieur.
Firstly, the coffee was served with longlife milk. I couldn't believe it but thought they'd misheard me, so I asked for another, this time requesting it with proper milk. "No, we don't serve it like that and we've never had any complaints". Alarm bells went off. Umm errr, I wasn't complaining. I asked for a black coffee instead.
Next the croque monsieur. These should be heart-attack-renderingly good. You know when the gruyere is so spot on, it snaps in your mouth? This particular version had processed ham and Tesco processed cheese. Great if you make it for the kids at home. Not so great in a French cafe.
So then I went on to pastries. I ordered a chocolate croissant and an almond croissant. In 2007 the pastry was butter light. It would dissolve in your mouth, it was that good. This time, the almond croissant had been painted with some sort of icing and the chocolate croissant was pretty heavy going. Both were one day or more old. The longed-for chocolate eclair was not very appealing; there were two in the glass fridge looking very sweaty.
I really wanted this place to be brilliant. I loved it so much when it opened but now it's completely altered. It's one thing to change a few things around, alter the menu and so on, but this was nothing short of a Tesco bakery but with triple the prices.
Why does this sort of thing happen? It got rave reviews that were totally deserved in 06/07 but like so many restaurants and cafes in London, as soon as a reputation is established, the quality and expensive ingredients are stripped out and the customer is left with an overpriced rip-off scam of a shell of what was there before.
Save yourself the bother and your well-earned pounds and go to a PAUL (yes, even that is better than this crime against).
by sonian, 03 Aug 2009
As for the quality, this place was rated best patisserie in London in 2006, and if Anonymous and Lukas cannot taste the three freshly-squeezed fruit juices which go in to each of the three layers of beautifully light mousse in some of the cakes, then I suggest that they might wish to pick up a Sara Lee Mississipi Mudpie from the freezer at the supermarket on the way home. I've eaten there twice now (I ended up eating two cakes last time) and am going there again this weekend.
by Jo2, 16 Apr 2008
by Lukas, 06 Nov 2007
They have a great selection of teas and little cakes, served on china your grandmother would have... all adding to the charm of the place.
I thought the cakes were lovely but it's not just about the cakes, it's about the ambience too and they've got that down. They could do with more seating space but it's definitely worth visiting and sitting over tea and cake and indulging your inner Marie Antoinette.
by Pretty Things, 01 Jun 2006
While I find it pleasing on the surface, it doesn't reach much further.
by foodie, 26 Apr 2006
by jenny80 (8 reviews), 08 Apr 2006
Have we missed a great baker in London? Let us know.