The London Review of Breakfasts

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

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Patisserie Valérie, Soho

Pâtisserie Valérie
44 Old Compton Street
020 7437 3466

by Blake Pudding

Accompanying me to Soho's famed Patisserie Valérie were the godfather of molecular gastronomy, Harold McGee, fresh from a whistle stop tour of Europe's culinary hot spots, and his esteemed editor, Richard Atkinson. McGee's tour had taken in the Fat Duck at Bray and El Bulli near Girona and after such experimental cookery, I thought where better to take him than somewhere classic and dependable like Pat Val (as my great aunt the Comtessa de Castiglione calls it- dreadful woman that she is).

We all ordered eggs benedict reasoning that it is always good to order something that you would not normally prepare for yourself. When Harold had mentioned that it was impossible to get properly poached eggs in the States, Richard and I had smiled smugly at each other. We should not have been so confident. The hollandaise was runny and tasteless and the eggs, which had no flavour at all, had been 'poached' in an egg 'poacher' rather than prepared properly in gently bubbling water. To mitigate, the coffee was excellent as was the service and the company. The eggs benedict was £6 with the coffees costing £2 so this was a premium though not extortionate breakfast.

The croissants and the cakes here are always excellent so perhaps the mistake was ours to entrust a Frenchman with a cooked breakfast. With these things one needs an Englishman or perhaps a Greek Cypriot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the cakes and croissants *really* very good? Je pense pas, Valerie. PV's has a reputation for excellence built entirely on the presentation of its cakes. The croissants are bready and bloated at best, and even the prettiest of the cakes have less bite than bark. Glad to see you taking the old place down a rung or two...

11:25 PM, February 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better try Maison Bertaux - 28 Greek Street, for school dinner chairs, accordian playing owner who looks half crazed. Cakes and tea scrummy, beware 'tourist london' prices.

12:41 PM, March 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree that the presentation of valeries cakes are amazing, To say that the Croissants are bready is hard to belive. as a regular customer for many years I have consistantly found them to be wonderful on the large size yes but far better than Maison bertaux. By the way since you included bertaux's address you wouldn't happen to be the owner would you?

8:25 PM, May 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello!! Unfortunately I had the opportunity to work in patisserie Valerie for a couple of years and I must tell you that all this "fabulous place" is a fairy tale. The staff is explored, the cakes are frozen and the chefs that cooks your "fantastic" meal have no experience in any kind of cousine being most of them the kitchen porters at the same time. As members of the staff we work 8 hours without any break, we are always short of staff and the payment is miserable considering the work that we have. Nobody have any kind of health and safety training and the managers spend all day in the office chatting and drinking coffee instead of giving the appropriate training and monitoring their staff. So now think twice before you fall in temptation and for people o drink skimmed milk don't even bother to ask it because there's no such thing in this place.

10:13 PM, March 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I visited on Friday 7th July. I, for one, was really disappointed. There was no atmosphere for one. They also brought my boyfriend the wrong drink - a strawberry ice cream drin rather than a choolate one. My breakfast - granary toast with scrambled eggs - was awful. The ggs were the wrong side of cooked - runny and soggy and the granary toast was almost solid and was cold. It was also only partially toasted! I had to send the dish back (for only the second time in my life - Im 27) and the second plate I was given of the same breakfast wasnt much better. Marginally warmer toast (but still quite tough and only a little toasted) and hotter, still runny, eggs. I ate as much as I could and made the best of it. Sending something back once is bad enough but twice would have been absolutely disgraceful.

5:43 PM, August 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that the coffee tastes like the unchanged sump oil of a 1976 Ford.

10:19 AM, March 04, 2011  

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