44 Old Compton Street, W1 020 7437 3466 www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk Open 7:3oam-8:3opm Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm Sat, 9am-7pm Sun A Soho legend, the original Patisserie Valerie opened in neighbouring Frith Street in i926 and moved to Old Compton Street after World War II. The cramped interior is a 1950s Parisian time warp, with a cake-stuffed glass counter at the front, a high ceiling, Formica tables and Toulouse-Lautrec cartoons on the walls; there’s also a brighter, airier 50-seat first-floor cafe. Snacks, light meals and a fine breakfast are served, but it’s the sweet stuff that’s the main draw. Resistance is useless against the likes of pear william franzipan tart, mixed berry mousse, fresh fruit flan, and chocolate, strawberry and banana gateaux – not to mention the handmade truffles. Such indulgences and Valerie’s unique atmosphere draw in a mixed crowd of local office workers, students, tourists and the few remaining louche Soho habitues.
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