Ladurée is a delicious taste of France in the centre of London. This Parisian tea room, originally founded by Louis-Ernest Ladurée on the Rue Royale in 1862, has spread world wide and now tempts one and all with its iconic, multi-coloured, multi-flavoured, double-decker macaroons.
It is obvious to all that birthdays and confectionary are inseparable; Ladurée was therefore the ideal setting to celebrate my friend’s 22nd. The branch we opted for sits above Covent Garden piazza; however, London also hosts Ladurée in Harrods, the Burlington Arcade and Cornhill.
… the experience of dining in a dolls house …
Perfectly girly, Ladurée creates the experience of dining in a dolls house. With white walls, mirrors, lamps, chandeliers, clouds painted on the ceiling, birds floating across the walls, velvet sofas enclosed by canopies and absolutely everything in pastel- Ladurée is a haven for the girl that loves all things pretty.
Unable to pre-book, we were faced with the option of waiting twenty minutes for a table or being seated on the outdoor terrace. Although perfect for the summer, with unwelcoming temperatures and the prediction of snow we decided to wait for the warmth. This gave us plenty of time to admire the cakes as they were carried through by waiters smartly dressed in waistcoats and ties. Our only uncertainty about the ambience was the upbeat salsa and the swing version of Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ playing in the background!
… rose and ginger, blackcurrant and violet, caramel and chestnut …
Ladurée’s macaroons come in a multitude of flavours: rose and ginger, blackcurrant and violet, caramel and chestnut to name a few. However, the menu also boasts an assortment of deserts, which the waiter was insistent upon us pronouncing in our best French accents. I would highly recommend the Ispahan, a rose macaroon filled with rose petal cream, fresh raspberries and lychees, as well as the Religieuse Rose- a rose petal and raspberry choux pastry.
To accompany the deserts is a two page selection of flowery teas. I opted for the Mélange Spécial Ladurée, a mixture of orange, rose, vanilla and cinnamon. The Chocolat Chaud Ladurée is not to be missed by the chocolate lover, served in a pot and thick enough to be consumed with a spoon.
… oysters, scallops tartar and foie gras …
If you simply can’t chose, afternoon tea is available for £21 per person. This includes a selection of finger sandwiches, mini viennoiseries and pastries and was being enjoyed by a group next to us who had gone the extra mile and accompanied their afternoon with a glass of champagne. Alternatively, there is a savoury menu which includes oysters, scallops tartar and foie gras and looks equally as tempting.
If you don’t have time to stop and soak in Ladurée’s charm, the downstairs area displays the pastries and macaroons in a glass counter and these are available to take-away. One mini macaroon will set you back about £1.20, although there are deals depending on how many you purchase, and they do come in a gorgeous souvenir box, making them a perfect gift.
A trip to Ladurée is absolutely worth it and I would definitely like to lay my hands on a copy of the Ladurée cookbook!
Images courtesy of Hannalee Pervan and Ladurée London