Patisserie Valerie, Soho, London
Deservedly famous for fantastic, and diet-busting, cakes, Pâtisserie Valerie is a time travel machine to the 1950s. Formica tables, an old-fashioned pastry counter and, more to the point, a selection of classic French pâtisserie, such as éclairs, babas and mousse cakes.
If you're a carb-a-holic, you've found heaven. Many of the cakes are a little too sweet for most though, and if you don't suck on sugarcubes all day it's better to stay with the fruit and whipped cream wedges or tarts. The croissants are delicious.
While the cakes are all fantastic, the rest of the menu is less so. The problem isn't that the café can't make great food and coffee. It's that they can, but often can't seem to be bothered that day... and the same goes for the service. The upside is that you will certainly feel like you've stepped into touristical Paris! The salads and sandwiches are pretty safe bets though and are a good size.
The upstairs is airier than downstairs and you could find a window overlooking Old Compton Street.
Recommended, but with some reservations. More places to eat and drink in London.
44 Old Compton Street
Phone: +44 20 7437 3466
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