Le Pain Quotidien: A Taste of Rustic France
Rustic French cafe and bakery Le Pain Quotidien was established by Alain Coumont. He discovered the fine art of bread making as a small child by watching his grandmother bake bread every Sunday and subsequently embarked upon a career as a chef in Brussels. He couldn’t find the right bread for his restaurant and returned to his roots opening a small bakery called Le Pain Quotidien.
The wonderfully French-inspired restaurants in locations including various locations in France, internationally and London, makes a point of using organic ingredients where possible and uses reclaimed and recyled materials in it’s rustic decor. Bread is produced using only organic stone-ground flour, salt and water, many of the finely crafted delectable pastries are organic and their is warm, inviting feeling that leaves you reluctant to leave as you get an aura of French shores.
Their coffee is organic and triple-certified fair-trade and the company only uses organic milk. Served in a bowl rather than the conventional cup, their cappuccino is a more milky libation than I’m used to and the coffee less full-bodied, but a none-the-less enjoyable experience (15/20). I’m a huge fan of their almond croissant. A recent Italian native commented to me that outside of Italy he hasn’t found such a delicious almond croissant in the UK, and bar Ottolenghi there aren’t many better. It’s a little denser than a truly fine French almond croissant should be, but has a wonderful frangipane filling and is liberally scattered with toasted almonds and icing sugar. (15/20)
Their salads and tartines are also utterly delicious, simple fare that isn’t drowned in unnecessary dressings or over-worked. I really enjoy the classic Tuna Salad with mixed leaves, hard-boiled egg, wild capers and anchovies is light and not much is lost in its simplicity (12/20). The avocado tartine with white bean hummus is fabulous vegetarian option (13/20) with plenty of favour and great texture and I do like the smoked salmon with dill (13/20).
I did have a very rubbery scrambled egg at Le Pain Quotidien with extremely dry bread on one occasion, but apart from that I really enjoy their offerings and overall gives them the thumbs up!
Their banoffee tart and chocolate and nougat cookies are also worth a try. The tart is extremely sweet and decadent, so not for every occasion but those with a sweet-tooth will really enjoy (12/20). The nougat cookies and crisp and chewy with a fabulous texture and taste. Once of my favourite cookies (15/20).
Cost: Between £2.00 (for a simple croissant or pastry) and around £7-15 (for a main).
Telephone: 020 3657 6900
Address: Various locations throughout London.
Open: Monday - Friday: from 7am – 9pm, Saturday: from 8am – 9pm, Sunday: from 8am – 7pm.
For more information see www.lepainquotidien.co.uk.