Laduree at Harrod’s
Chocolate Coconut Cream, Strawberries and Cream, Pure Chocolate, Pistachio, Peach, Salty Caramel, Lime and Basil, Coffee Macaron
Duck Foie Gras with redfruit macaron and toasted kugelhof
French Toast, Pure Maple Syrup
Savarin – Baba in dark rum, Chantilly Cream, Apricot Jelly
St. Honore Fraise Coco – Choux cream puff, coconut cream, strawberry compote, coconut Chantilly, fresh strawberries
With rainy weather dampening my day on grass at The All England Club after only a few matches plus a bowl of cream-clad berries it was back to London that I turned and without dinner reservations until late that evening a three o’clock lunch took place in the upstairs tea room of Laduree at Harrod’s. Fancifully decorated behind its 1862 “Maison Laduree” marquee and located just past a room of watches that left me an envious shade of green it was at a “Please wait to be Seated” sign that my afternoon began and with the lone host apparently encumbered by patrons who chose not to read it was with patience tested that I did wait, a total of twenty minutes and eight flawless cookies separating me from my eventual seat. Truly a divine room with thirty foot ceilings nearly met by shelves of scented candles, confections, teas, and sweets it was with an abrupt greeting that my arrival to the table was met and although wait times would later prove substantial an expedited order was placed, a total of four items progressing in three courses as my water glass languished and iced coffee tasted ‘instant’ at best. Obviously not known for their service given my previous experiences with the brand in Paris but generally making amends with the quality of the product it was without indecision that my meal began with a thick cut of foie gras and reportedly sourced from an independent farm in Southern France the results would wow, each creamy bite spread on toasty citrus kuglhof savored until the very last. Returning at this point to sweeter things it was with good fortune that this particular Laduree offered breakfast throughout the day and with wispy brioche surprisingly light despite its ample imbuement of butter I took great advantage of a bottle of pure maple syrup, the golden sponge eventually near-saturated and all the better for it. Rounding out the meal with desserts, admittedly the most difficult decision of the day, it was eventually in a duo that I partook and although the tender baba was quite good beneath a light veil of rum it was the seasonal St. Honore with textbook choux amidst bright berries and light cream that stole the show – a big step up from the tiny bowl at Wimbledon to say the least.
RECOMMENDED: Foie Gras, Macarons, St. Honore.
AVOID: Going during peak hours unless you only plan to order cookies, cakes, or confections to-go.
TIP: All pastry counter items served upstairs entail a £1 upcharge plus 12.5% service fee. Not a huge deal given overall prices but not particularly justified by the service, either.