From bohemian beginnings in 1920s Soho, Patisserie Valerie’s unstoppable rise has seen the group grow to some 49 outlets & counting. The original Madame Valerie would doubtless be glad to see how far word has spread of her famous pastrywork (there are now branches in Cambridge, Leeds, Wolverhampton & beyond), though one suspects she might detect a dip in quality. Patisserie Valerie is good at recreating that all-important continental atmosphere (even in new builds), which makes it a pleasingly buzzy place for a croissant or brioche with morning coffee. Pastries & bigger breakfasts (eggs Benedict, full English et al) give way to casual lunches such as Greek salad, fishcakes or a tuna club melt, while the afternoon is best devoted to cream-filled gâteaux, sugary doughnuts & French tarts.
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