Patisserie Valerie

June 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Cafe | Leave a comment
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Coffee and cake brunch? It can only mean one thing: a bank holiday!

Located in the heart of Sheffield city centre (Barker’s Pool, to be precise) I’ve wandered past Patisserie Valerie a couple of times, and have always had my head turned by its calorie-ific window display of glazed fruit tarts; profiteroles topped with twists of chocolate and sculptured cream; and every variety of chocolate cake under the sun. Unable to fight it any longer, we were outside the shop waiting for it to open at 10am over the bank holiday weekend, like a right old bunch of cake-addicts.

Despite being slap bang in the city centre, Patisserie Valerie boasts a small outdoor seating area. As the morning hadn’t properly warmed up yet, we settled on a table indoors.

Beyond Patisserie Valerie’s work-of-art window display, the cafe has the same Parisian theme as Café Rouge. The seating is a trendy mix of dark wood and red leather, with plenty of Parisian artwork thrown in for good measure.

It’s a very chic setting for your morning cuppa and despite being the first through the door, Patisserie Valerie soon filled up. This is clearly a popular cafe, particularly for families with young children.

In addition to cakes and coffees, Patisserie Valerie serves a range of breakfast items, salads and sandwiches. Be warned though, the food is pricey – we spotted what was essentially a posh tuna club melt for £8.50, and a chicken caesar salad priced at £9.00. As it was still early, we decided to stick to coffee and cake, and ordered a selection of coffees: a latte (£2.80) cappuccino (£2.80) and americano (£2.70) which were all reasonably priced.

The coffees arrived in the no-frills white mugs you can find in any coffee chain, which was a bit of a disappointment considering our swanky surroundings, but we were all happy with the size of our coffees. Patisserie Valerie serves a decent tasting cup of coffee, similar to a Starbucks or a Caffe Nero cuppa, just in a nicer location.

But what we were really looking forward to was the cake. To offset our guilt, we ordered something that would provide us with one of our five a day (in addition to a wodge of calories and saturated fats) a round of Belgium Apple Tarts (£3.35). Heavily glazed and loaded with slices of apple arranged like flower petals, it certainly looked the part. More importantly, it tasted the part, too. The apple slices were sweet and had the tanginess of just-baked cooking apples, and the baker hadn’t skimped on the cinnamon. Spicy, juicy and sweet with a base of crumbly pastry, we were all in agreement that at just over £3, these posh apple tarts were well worth the money.

With a string of cafes all over the UK, Patisserie Valerie clearly work hard to maintain their ‘local cafe’ atmosphere. The boutique decor and lavish window displays create an independent vibe that makes this a far more pleasant venue than the coffee shops of other nationwide coffee chains. Although the coffee tastes similar to Starbucks and Caffe Nero’s, the decor, relaxed atmosphere and friendliness of the staff makes this a much more pleasant venue to while away a morning, and when it comes to cakes Patisserie Valerie excels – there isn’t a pre-packed muffin or cellophane-wrapped cookie in sight.

A decent cup of coffee, a fantastic range of fresh cakes and characterful surroundings – Patisserie Valerie is a nationwide coffee chain done right.

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