It is this time of the year again. I miss the freshness of the food, the soft bread with a crispy crust, and more generally the simple and tasty food of my childhood. I used to buy everything I needed on my way back home, after work. Well, it wouldn’t be possible here. In London, it is not unusual, when you buy a croissant, to be given something from the day before, and someone will microwave it for you. What a shame! Most of the so-called French Croissants (and, as you know, for bread and croissants I am a purist) are usually bought frozen and heated in the oven. This is why they all look and taste so similar: they come from the same place!
The bread at Aubaine – Real bread!
Urgent action was needed…and act I did! I have gone into a baking frenzy: baguette, croissants, pains au chocolat. I am also progressing on brioche. I am even trying to make a sourdough starter in my vault (don’t ask!). But this means that I wake up at the crack of dawn to bake various treats for breakfast. I feel ready to open my very own boulangerie. But I am also shattered. This baking frenzy simply isn’t sustainable.
A French boulangerie in the middle of London
I had to find some good addresses in London to enjoy fresh food and good bread, and also, accidentally, to be able to sleep more! I got lucky. After months of tweeting each other and commenting on each other’s posts, I finally met a fellow blogger, Nazima @Workinglonmummy (www.WorkingLondonMummy.com) at a restaurant called Aubaine (a French name, that’s a good start). I just loved it. The place looks a bit like an old boulangerie in a small French village. Ok, we were in the middle of WAG land, on Brompton Cross (for the definition of WAG please see here) but the service was really friendly (I have to break it to you: I am not a WAG!. For starters, I am much too fat to be one!) and I simply couldn’t resist the basket of fresh bread. I had finally found some good fresh bread. The main dishes were simple and tasty (I had some great scallops. No fancy sauces to cover up the taste, just the fresh scallops cooked to perfection). Finally, the desserts were presented on a tray. I wanted to eat the whole thing and couldn’t make up my mind. We had a great time and somehow I kept going back (I had wonderful eggs Florentine on a toasted brioche the other day…I am still dreaming of them!)…What a treat!
Another fantastic address is the bakery at Harrods (87-135 Brompton Road). You can find all sorts of bread there but it lacks a bit of charm. That said, I love to treat myself to a bouillabaisse in the seafood department. Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish dish. Mastering it is quite a challenge (the fishes need to be cooked for a few hours and each recipe is different). It is simply perfect, with different fresh fishes every day, cooked the traditional way, as if I were on my favourite restaurant in Ramatuelle. I swear, I could almost hear the sea!
I do realise that I sound a bit posh here, but again, good bread and good food are not a luxury where I come from. Maybe I am a bit homesick after all?
NB: This post in not sponsored, I am just sharing with you how difficult it can be to find good food in London…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London