The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Patisserie Valerie, Marylebone

Patisserie Valerie
105 Marylebone High St
020 7935 6240

by Mack Muffin

Patisserie Valerie was formed in Soho’s Frith Street in 1926, by the pâtissière Madam Valerie – a formidable woman, by all accounts, on what the history books now describe as ‘a mission to introduce fine continental patisserie to the English’. How delightful. How impudent. How French.

Since moving to Old Compton Street in a va te faire foutre to the Luftwaffe, twenty or more franchises have sprung up in the capital alone – with only the one on Marylebone High Street, to my mind, maintaining the left-leaning, quasi-intellectual ambience of the original.

It was for this and other similarly pretentious reasoning that led me to spend every afternoon there while writing my first novel, a laptop being the only clue to my contemporariness. I was otherwise the picture of pre-War Rive Gauche chic; a twenty-first-century Hemingway, but with a northern accent.

Two hours was, happily enough for this workshy writer, the optimal time to type a bit and consume un café American, but what enticed me first to Patisserie Valerie – pre-novel, pre-pretention – was the breakfast.

Nevermind the anachronistic eastern European staff in 20s garb, or the fact that sitting outside renders any cooked meal too cold to eat halfway through – something about the breeze in Marylebone, perhaps change in the air – the scrambled eggs are divine. Buttery, creamy, sloppy; no word in the Earth language, ē sounding or otherwise, can do justice to the perfect marriage of taste and texture in those eggs.

Nevermind having to add the butter sur la table to triangulated toast – really, who does that? – or the redundant sprig garnish, or indeed the impossibly enormous plates that make for an amusing game of pass the parcel, shunting anything not immediately of use (sugar, par exemple) to adjacent diners. The eggs are divine.

I should say were, as my most recent trips to the chain – not to Marylebone, I might add – have dealt what can only be described as a crushing blow, far worse than anything those pesky Nazis could muster, to Madam Valerie’s ‘mission’. One can only hope that in Marylebone, at least, Madam’s legacy, and my atavistic artistique pretention, lives on.


Anonymous Sid said...

Not a surprise that your visits to other PV's have been consistently disappointing.

A waitress at their Knightsbridge branch told me their food is prepared at a central location in Shoreditch then shipped out to the stores - like a hub and spokes business model. The retail stores just do some end preparation and heating.

The one in Marble Arch doesn't even bother keeping the flies off its cakes in the summer.

3:46 PM, November 03, 2011  
Anonymous iamamro said...

Sadly PV has been not as good as it was since I started going there in the early 90s.

I think Luke Johnson owns it now - so I don't hold out much hope for the place.

If you're ever in Soho - do try Maison Bertaux - the best patisserie and still the haunt of left-leaning bohemians.

10:38 PM, November 03, 2011  
Anonymous Mack Muffin said...

Indeed, I daren't go back to PV Marylebone.

Maison Bertaux is charming. Do they do breakfast, I wonder...

12:22 PM, November 08, 2011  
Anonymous Raslebol said...

Well, if PV is trying to ape doughy goings-on over the other side of the Channel, the hub & spoke model is perfectly apposite: central distribution is hardly an unknown concept to boulangerie and patisserie owners across France.

7:32 PM, November 18, 2011  
Blogger Geek To Ski God said...

I have to admit, I used to love Patisserie Valerie but feel it went off around the same time that they stopped making cakes in the Old Compton Street shop...

12:25 PM, February 29, 2012  
Anonymous London Personal Trainer said...

The Old Compton Street branch in the 90s was - for a young and wet behind the ears diner - the epitome of Continental cafe culture. Fast forward to today and the Marshall Street branch has the look and feel of a Wimpy in Hounslow. Quelle horreur.

12:09 PM, March 08, 2012  
Anonymous gutscheine zum ausdrucken said...

guter Kommentar

3:09 PM, October 19, 2012  
Anonymous gutscheine zum ausdrucken said...

guter Kommentar

3:11 PM, October 19, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares