We went to Patisserie Valerie for a quick lunch one work day as it is close to our offices. We have visited on a numerous occasions for coffee and cake (see here) but have never really considered it as a place to have lunch and were surprised when our colleagues suggested it.
We walked in and it was absolutely packed, there was no room to swing a cat but miraculously a waiter rushing by and found us a seat from out of nowhere. We squeezed in and were given the menus by a harassed looking waiter who sat us on a two person table but managed to find a spare chair for our friend and plonked it down.
Ok this was squeezed between a dribbling and frankly naughty toddler who managed to conjure up a drum set, and the counter so that the waiters had to squeeze past us. But we were impressed at his resourcefulness and the fact that we did not have to wait in the non existent reception or even worse in the bitter London smog.
We opted for the Chicken Skewer Salad, Chicken Caesar salad and a Ham and Cheese Panini with red onion. Our orders were taken quickly and not written down; I am always impressed in bustling restaurants when waiters remember orders off by heart your order no matter how complicated, practicing this in less professional establishments shows off their skills, I am madly impressed.
As soon as that thought passed through my mind I was served a coke instead of a diet coke. Ok a one and only minor mistake but it just goes to show that it saves time to write things down in long run.
The food came out quickly and looked surprisingly homemade and delicious. I was preparing myself for a pre made, luke warm, standardized dish but these really looked like they had thought put into them despite the rush in the kitchen.
The chicken skewers came on a delicious bed of salad that included olives, peppers, rocket and onion. The chicken was juicy and generously served. The Caesar salad was huge, with two whole breasts served on toasted bread. The creamy sauce was nice and thick although personally a little too heavy for a lunch salad. The Panini which was customised to suit our colleagues taste with additional red onion and extra cheese which came out crispy yet gooey on the inside and was served with a simple side salad.
We have to admit that we were expecting the worst from a rammed chain restaurant full of tourists, shoppers and hungry workers but actually the kitchen staff took care with the food preparation, the staff realised the need for speed yet made the effort to be friendly and OK, the atmosphere was lacking being in a drab white restaurant that lacked all personality but hey we were in Spitalfields so could look over the top of the heads of the diners, past the drooling child and see the square.
Definitely worth a visit in the summer when you can sit outside where there is much more room but still the quality of food for the price is not half bad.
Food Atmosphere Service