Delicious Indulgence At Patisserie Valerie

But excellence comes at an extravagant price

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Chiswick patisserie valerie

319 Chiswick High Road, W4 5TA Tel: 0208 995 0234

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I could well be alone here, but don’t quite get what all the fuss over Patisserie Valerie is about. I had great expectations after hearing glowing reports from those who had visited to other branches, but Chiswick's ‘haven of indulgence’ doesn’t quite do it for me.

Indeed the delectable display of cakes, patisserie, croissants, ice cream, confectionery and Vienneoisserie does an excellent job of enticing you into the premises, but, I felt the café area does little to make you want to remain there to enjoy them. My lunch companions didn’t share my opinion, though neither did they agree with me that £2.20 was a ludicrous sum for a mince pie even if they were to heat it for you.

Anyway, after much griping from me about prices and a difficult conversation about parmesan batons with our waitress, things took a considerable turn for the better. Our food arrived and I began to realise why Patisserie Valerie is so highly regarded.

Huge portions, impeccably presented on platters were placed before us. My tricolore salad served with balsamic pesto dressing (£7.95) was a delight; the eggs florentine on toasted brioche (£7.50) was also excellent as was the toasted Valerie club (£7.50) washed down with a diet Pepsi each (£2.25). As good as the food was, we only managed one clean plate between us as there was far too much of it.

And of course we had to save some room for the main event, dessert. We chose a tarte aux citrons (£3.00) and the most decadent chocolate mousse we'd ever tasted though at £3.70 not quite the most expensive.

We finished with a round of lattes at £2.50 each which proved to be strong contenders for the higher echelons of Chiswick’s Coffee League Table. The bill came to £43.90 excluding service.

Would we return? My companions most definitely, though I was more hesitant. For coffee I certainly, but as for lunch I felt I was paying restaurant prices in a café environment.

Patisserie Valerie was originally conceived in Frith Street Soho in 1926 by Madam Valerie. She came to London on a mission to introduce fine Continental Patisserie to the English. It was an instant success.

During the Second World War the Frith Street premises were bombed by the Luftwaffe and Madam Valerie subsequently set up shop around the corner in Old Compton Street where her legacy continues to this day in their Soho branch.

Emma Brophy

December 28, 2008