As much as I try and frequent new, independent places, occasionally a time and location will result in the need for speedy food and a chain might just happen to fit that bill. Such was the case this weekend when J and I needed breakfast en route to the Natural History Museum. Surprisingly few places were open along the main streets of Kensington on this bright, sunny Sunday morning and so it was that we found ourselves in Patisserie Valerie.
This is the kind of place that I imagine going to when the need for full on cake hits. Not Pret (love), Starbucks (hate) or Costa (total apathy) where coffee, tea and juices jostle with soups, sandwiches and salads with the odd sweet treat thrown in. I’m talking a full on slab of chocolate fudge cake with frosting thick enough to stand knee deep in…
…sorry. Was just having a moment.
It’s not the kind of place I’d have hugely high expectations of breakfast if I wanted anything more than a pastry and a chocolat chaud to take away but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
With most tables already full of happily scoffing families, the atmosphere said ‘this is a dependable bet for a decent breakfast’. And it actually was. Slightly twee but oh-so-pretty, Valerie gives the impression that you’re not so much sat in a cake shop as you are almost sat in a cake itself. Surrounded by pastries and confections bigger than me, the sound of steaming milk and whistling water filled the air and the scent of baking was delightfully gratifying.
Quick service on the hot drinks was appreciated and the shared almond croissant that was, in effect, our starter, was everything it should have been…flaky, warm, buttery and more-ish.
The Eggs Benedict – because I’m always interested to pit one place against another when it comes to these – were very well cooked and generous in portion size. Excellent hollandaise made the last few wipe-around-the-plate-forkfuls especially satisfying and although I may not rush back, it’s not for any reason other than there are too many places to continually return to the ones you know. Valerie proved to be a most trustworthy and agreeable start to our day.