Treat time at Ladurée, Covent Garden
I have never been a big fan of macarons (GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!). That’s macarons, not macaroons. Yes, there is a difference between the two which I only found out after reading this article in The Guardian. Strange that I love most desserts from cakes to cookies to tarts but for some reason, macarons have just never rocked my world. I suppose it’s mainly because not many places do them well and the most famous specialists in London – Paul’s (£8 for a box of 12), Pierre Hermé (£14 for a box of 7) and Ladurée (£1.90 each), are to be treated strictly under my ‘treat only’ category of things to eat.
Well, one sunny Sunday a couple of weeks back was time for some ‘treat only’ macarons, when I met up with one of my girlfriends for a chat at Ladurée tea salon in Covent Garden. This branch of the famous French patisserie has been opened about a year. Located in Covent Garden Market and facing King Street, this venue used to house a pub for many years. Lunch is served in a seating area just outside the shop next to the cobbled piazza and afternoon tea upstairs on the first floor, indoors and out on a balcony.
The decor is very French chic, modelled on a bijou Parisian residence and even includes seating that resembles a romantic-looking French swing. The walls were painted in pretty pastel shades. It really is a perfect place for the ladies to have their tête-à-tête. We spent about 2 hours chatting away without anyone trying to shove us down the stairs and out the front doors. Service was courteous and attentive – our wine glasses were topped up at right intervals. I was asked twice in 15 minutes if I wanted a drink whilst waiting for my friend to arrive.
When she did, we chose a bottle of rosé wine to go with my order of Les mini macarons glacés (my choice of pistachio ice-cream and chef’s choice of three macarons – I had chocolate, raspberry and coconut) and my friend’s choice of a beautiful coupe ispahan with raspberry sorbet, rose petal ice cream, fresh raspberry, lychees, raspberry coulis and Chantilly cream. Both treats were absolutely delicious, light and perfect for a hot summer’s day, together with the chilled wine of course. I won’t say I’m a macaron convert (yet!) but I’d definitely enjoy some again the next time I’m at Ladurée – they had a firm texture, yet the cold cream and meringue just melted in my mouth. Impressive.
Plates and wine as above with a bottle of water and 12.5% service charge came to £48.88
Ladurée is located at 1, The Market Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RA