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One of the jewels of London
A particular favourite of London's cake cognescenti, this French-English-hybrid patisserie dating back to 1871 is the domain of charming and effusive actress Michelle Wade, who bought the business in the mid-1980s and added a theatrical touch [swathes of red, white and blue taffeta, painted mirrors, outdoor costumed and bare-breasted Bastille Day stagings etc.] to what remains a decidedly analog olde-worlde-ness. Sweet and savoury gems are in a category of their own, from morning Viennoiserie [French almond croissant, pain au raisin, plum Danish etc.] to midday snacks [quiche, dijon slice, ham/cheese croissant] to afternoon patisserie [mille feuille, Paris-Brest, almond and fruit tart, unusual and very light cheesecake, simple and yummy eclair, macaroon etc.]. And they know how to make tea here. Quality of Viennoiserie can vary according to house temperament, veering from A+ to very occasional misfires. Gets buzzy, but there are tables next door, out front and upstairs in a café room that doubles as an art gallery, which is run by Wade's sister Tania, who also looks after patisserie matters. A one-off for sure, and never without gay appeal. This was often the breakfast spot of gay artist/mentor/activist Derek Jarman (1992–94), who had a flat around the corner in Charing Cross Rd.