How we brunched:
For this week’s review, we have to travel back in time to the week Amy and I spent in Barcelona, eating fried fish, fried sausage, fried everything. For about a week afterwards, I still felt like I might be sweating paprika. All food felt too rich, too salty, too yellow and red for me to stand.
It was the Sunday after our return, there was no food in the kitchen, and we needed brunch. We had no reservations. So we went to the nearby branch of Le Pain Quotidien.
There are branches of Le Pain Quotidien all around London and also worldwide. It’s a Belgian restaurant. Everything is organic. Most things come with side salad. Its name means “The Daily Bread”, and that is the essence of its philosophy – sustenance and simplicity.
When you enter LPQ, the first thing you smell is freshly baked bread. You see rough wooden tables without cloths. There are blackboards with chalked menus. We sat down, and I ordered a chai tea. There was already sugar, jam and honey on the table. The menu has nothing fried on it. Everything is freshly baked.
I ordered two boiled eggs, and an almond croissant. The eggs came with a bread basket with white, brown and fruit bread on. The yolks were runny. There was plenty of white, European butter. The croissant was filled with the softest, sweetest almond filling you could ask for. My tea was fragrant, spiced and comforting.
I felt nourished. I felt warm. I scraped the last bit off egg white from its shell, spread the fruit bread with the thick butter. I felt full in a way that didn’t make my chest slightly tight or my stomach churn with acid. It wasn’t necessarily a healthy breakfast, but it was a good breakfast.
Ah, remember Barcelona? When we spent our days reading great books by the pool, eating amazing food, and falling in love with tour guides with green ombre hair like an actual mermaid. What a time to be alive!
And then we came home perpetually hungover, desperate for bed, and a little bit sick of the sight of each other. (Love you, Hatster xxx)
Enter Le Pain Quotidien, aka the most wholesome place in the entire world probably. Now, I was a little bit confused, because somehow in my head I’d got Le Pain Quotidien – a beautiful, simple restaurant committed to organic food and living – confused with Le Petit Four, a French-style café which mostly seems to exist in food courts and motorway stations around the Midlands.
What can I say? I’m a Leicester gal with a poor memory and all French sounds kind of the same (despite the AS French qualification which really ought to prove otherwise).
So I was expecting food court levels of brunch, and was a little bit confused about why Hattie thought this was such a good idea. Just imagine my excitement when I stepped into such a simple, elegant, well-lit restaurant with its own bakery attached, big wooden tables, and a delicious smell of bread and pastry.
I ordered boiled egg and soldiers, and a ham and cheese croissant. I’d never had a filled croissant before, but I was inspired by the Bake Off (remember, this was late September) and if you’re going to try experimenting with croissants, it should probably be somewhere a bit French.
Luckily, they didn’t disappoint. It was warm and flaky and so satisfying, and the egg and soldiers was near-perfect in its simplicity.
Brunch is a fantastic meal when it’s done a little differently, when the chef creates something with a whimsical twist which somehow also makes perfect sense – you know we love all that. But sometimes you just need a really good boiled egg.
5/5 – I genuinely couldn’t fault the meal I had.
5/5 – Nope, can’t think of anything I didn’t like.
3.5/5 – It has very few of the “brunch classics”, but a full range of pastries and breads. (I hear they just launched a new special brunch menu).
3/5 – Yeah, it’s a very specific type of brunch. But that new menu is a game changer.
4/5 – No cocktails, but juice, coffee and any kind of tea you could ask for.
4.5/5 – I had a great hot chocolate, it was thick and warm and lovely.
5/5 – A fantastic range and my croissant was pitch perfect.
4.5/5 – That bakery!
4.5/5 – It feels calm and not chain-y at all, very similar to The Lockhart though more European than American trendy.
4.5/5 – Pretty much perfect.
5/5 – I think this is restaurant food at Café prices.
5/5 – Agreed.
2/5 – I think they’re slightly understaffed – it’s hard to get someone’s attention and things we ordered were forgotten.
2/5 – Not that great, but we got there in the end.
– Social Media
3.5/5 – Great twitter full of food pictures, though very little in the way of personal interaction.
3/5 – Not the worst, but could try harder.
Organic-healthy-feelgood vibes: 5/5
Fancy condiments: 4/5