La Pastisseria, Classic Pastry, Eixample

La PastisseriaLook at this cake vitrine.  It’s gorgeous right? And those pastries, look at the shine on them. It’s the best rated restaurant in Barcelona on Tripadvisor: 65 reviews of 5 out of 5 stars.  Impressive.  All those reviewers can’t be wrong?

Well that depends on what you go for.  If you are taken in by bells and whistles – this place is for you.  Similarly, if you think the pulled sugar sculptures in Kings of Pastry were awesome and you would display most of them in your living room, well then, this is also for you.  If on the other hand you (as I) are more enamoured by the dogged loaf cake, be it a slice of Madeira cake embellished with a few glacé cherries or a slice of Matcha green tea cake with some chocolate chips running through it – then you might find La Pastisseria isn’t the best thing since sliced bread. Read more of this post

La Fromagerie, Cheese Shop and Deli, Marylebone

If money were no object what would you spend it on?I would eat lunch and do a lot of my shopping at La Fromagerie. (And have round the clock hired help for the twins and buy the Saarinen oval table in white marble – since I’m making a list and all…).

Of the robust deli brigade in London, La Fromagerie is easily my favourite.  They don’t pile it high nor do they have the colour range of somewhere like Ottolenghi (Oh! Do you know Ottolenghi’s new book, Jerusalem is out?).  What they do is put out a selection, say 3 salads and a tart out at midday, which they only leave out for a few hours.  This ensures that you aren’t served up  a green bean puckered with age or a wedge of beetroot that has lost the glossy veneer of dressing. There are warm mains, things like a melanzane or tomato soup.What they serve is always at its best.  The San Danielle ham I had was balanced at just the right pitch of saltiness.  The ribbons of white fat were starting to be just that little bit translucent around the edges from being at room temperature – it melted on my tongue.  The figs were soft and ripe, which is the only way they are edible, an immature fig is just gritty and thin in the mouth.  That was one dish of many like that.  The charcuterie plates with stocky cornichons vinegary enough to cut through the rich homemade rillettes.  The cheese plates with a small stack of crackers and a few wedges of apple, composed with the austerity of a Baugin still life.  Chocolate cake with a spoonful of cream. Read more of this post

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