French patisseries are a common sight in London. Many of the top names now have establishments dotted around the capital like vanilla seeds in a creme patissiere. Laduree is one such luxury boutique just inside Burlington Arcade in plush Piccadilly.
The window display here is enough to entice any owner of a sweet tooth through the door. Beautiful works of edible art are lined up with precision – these include Choux Buns, Macarons, Saint-Honore’s and Eclairs amongst others.
Laduree won’t be winning any awards for retail space. This is a tiny galley-like set up where you line up against the cakes with the cash desk just by the door, during peak times this can get a little claustro.
That said, since when was being so close to cakes a bad thing? The hardest part is making a choice. We visit fairly regularly when in London so we had very few cakes left that we hadn’t tried. This time around we settled on a two St Honore Gateaus – a crisp puff pastry base with almond praline cream, filled choux buns and crunchy caramel.
We managed to successfully navigate our way to the cash desk leaving behind a depleted shelf of cakes. “I wanted that one!” moaned one voice, too late now lady – it’s mine! For £13 these cakes are rather high end but the fancy bag and box do make up for it.
Walking through Burlington Arcade with the winter wonderland style decorations is truly special at this time of year. The festive feel had really hit the capital with Hyde Park Winter Wonderland also in full swing a few miles down the road.
A different park was on our mind. The Berkeley Square Gardens. This is a tranquil spot in buzzing Mayfair between Piccadilly and Oxford Circus where you can sit on a bench, eat some food and just let your mind wander. The city almost goes on around you while you’re in your own bubble. It’s the perfect place to relax.
Back to the subject of food, this was our opportunity to try the rather smart looking St Honore’s. It’s quite a feat to take a bite without covering either your lips or nose in cream, we were glad of the napkins provided. That crunch from the caramel and the rich praline cream though – a taste of heaven if ever there was one.
The surprising outcome from eating these cakes is that somehow they aren’t actually that heavy. At first glance you would expect this cream filled French centrepiece to put your cholesterol levels at an all time high leaving you in desperate need of a sit down. Somehow, that clever bunch at Laduree have done the seemingly impossible.
You do pay a premium for the products but this is not your average cake shop. This is high-end French patisserie at its finest. Sure you could seek out a more modest establishment but for a special treat Laduree really does deliver.
Opening Times: Monday-Friday 0800-2000
Nearest Tube Station: Green Park