Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Le Pain Quotidien Covent Garden

When in London with my flatmate a little while back now, we had had more than enough of shopping and were wandering around Covent Garden, waiting to go to the theatre. Not wanting to walk around for another couple of hours, we saw the delicious looking cakes in the window of Le Pain Quotidien. They were far too tempting to pass up so we headed in to see what we could have.

48 & 49 The Market
Covent Garden Piazza

I had never heard of Le Pain Quotidien before but they are a company who pride themselves on baking fresh breads and pastries every single day and they also do large orders of full size cakes. On the lower floor of Le Pain Quotidien are a few tables where you can sit in and eat although this part is mainly for take away orders. You can have a quick browse of the cakes available here before heading off upstairs to the bigger restaurant area. Well, I say bigger but the upstairs of the restaurant is absolutely tiny and there are as many tables as physically possible squashed into the space. This means that people cannot walk around easily and the waitresses had to wait for people to pass before being able to either take people their food or get people seated.

We had about a 10 minute wait before we did get a seat but this gave us a chance to have a look at the menu, which is more extensive than what you can order to take away. Le Pain Quotidien serves hot dishes such as Pot Pie, a range of salads, soup of the day as well as a good range of international platters. While we didn’t want a meal here, I was impressed with the size of the menu for such a small place.

After being seated at a tiny table squished into a corner, I ordered a slice of chocolate tart along with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice while Kate had homemade lemonade and a strawberry tart. There isn’t much space upstairs so if you have shopping/ bags with you, be prepared for a struggle. The table next to us was extremely close so we had to put our bags behind our table near the window. Anyway, for just 2 pieces of cake and 2 drinks, this cost us just under £10 each. Drinks were roughly £2.50 while the cakes were more at around £5 a slice. A service charge is added onto your bill which is why this small snack ended up costing so much.

While the cakes were absolutely wonderful, I’m not sure it was worth the money. They were well presented on white slabs – mine decorated with chocolate powder, and did look extremely nice upon arrival. However, I have had cakes just as nice from places such as Patisserie Valerie at much better prices. The drinks were just the same – very nice but not worth the money. Orange juice is orange juice in my eyes and although I did get a large glass, it wasn’t anything special.

The size of the restaurant also didn’t help me to have a good experience here. Being tucked away in a corner very close to another table meant we spent our whole time here listening to two really loud women talking about their boyfriends and burlesque in great detail. Kate and I could barely talk between ourselves without being spoken over by the table next to us. If this restaurant had a little bit more space, I think it would be a lovely place to go but considering how high the prices are, I would have rather gone somewhere else. 

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