Le Pain Quotidien

January 29, 2012

Today I’m going to take you to a place that I quite enjoy in London: Le Pain Quotidien. That Belgian restaurant chain is more than a bakery. There you can buy good bread, but also enjoy a nice meal such as soups, tartines and delicious desserts.

I strongly recommend you to go to your nearest Pain Quotidien for breakfast! Before 12:00 I love ordering a bread basket to share served with loads of jams and spreads – feel free to ask as many as you want, they’re all good! I think my favourite chocolate spread is Brunette – yummmmy can’t get enough of it. The bread basket is a selection of various breads such as wheat, baguette, walnut etc., but sometimes I ask for a basket of baguette only when I miss my French lifestyle too much 😀
If you’re more into savoury, go for an organic soft boiled egg (or two), served with a piece of baguette and butter or salmon & scrambled eggs – their salmon is quite tasty.
So for breakfast, I enjoy going to the Tottenham Court Road branch as it’s quite relax and the staff is very friendly – note the place is shared with the Aveda Institute, in case you’d like to continue your treat with a good massage 🙂

But let’s get back to the one we visited with my dear colleagues last week for our usual team lunch.
The restaurant is part of Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. The furniture is similar to other branches: wooden tables and chairs, a large counter full of amazing cakes and pastries, but also a small area outside for warm sunny days. Let’s not forget the communal table which is part of the concept of Pain Quotidien where friends and strangers seat altogether around the table for the time of a meal. This is where we were sitting and I quite enjoyed that layout. I like this branch for its high ceilings and nice staff. I’ve been there a couple of times for lunch with friends or on my own and have always been given a nice welcome.

Fork side, you’ve got plenty of choice. Tartines are buttered wholewheat organic bread triangles with stuff of your choice on top. I’ve tested most of them, and to me the roasted vegetables tartine as well as the smoked chicken breast one are probably the best. The roast-beef one doesn’t look good, but it’s alright. However if you’re very hungry, maybe go for something else as you’ll perhaps feel you pay for half a meal.
They also offer salads and pies, but I’d rather go for the dish of the day. They always have at least a tartine, a soup and a hot dish on the daily blackboard. Last time, three of us went for the tartiflette of the day and I’ve got to say it was definitely A GOOD CHOICE. Filling and tasty – that’s the first time I see tartiflette filled with mushrooms and it’s surprisingly good.

As a side, we ordered babaganoush which came in a small bowl with a piece of bread. It was alright – but you can find much better for sure. Same for hummus.
Edit 06.02.2012: As Aimee commented, I forgot to mention the roast vegetable soup (see the opposite pic) served with a baguette slice and butter. Hum they could have brought some more bread, definitely not enough for this big bowl.

Finally… the best part… desserts! Sometimes I go to Pain Quotidien only for a dessert, my favourite being the apple tart – actually when I have one I usually fancy many more!

Two of my colleagues went for the pavlova, that huge meringue topped with heavy cream and berries – you can’t resist it. If you’re starving, go for it BUT be sure your liver is resistant, that pavlova is over-sweet!
Otherwise, their cookies, strawberry tart, tarte tatin and granolat parfait are well recommended. Special mention for the flour free chocolate brownie that is very light, you could eat as many as you want and still feel as light as a feather 🙂

> Verdict: Overall Le Pain Quotidien (“pain quot'” for regulars) is a good address for a meal with some friends, but can also be nice if you’re on your own and need a quiet place. I used to go to the Tottenham Court Road one to study – always easier with a freshly squeezed orange juice and a delicious cake.
Depending on what you get, you might find it quite pricy. My bill is usually not below £15 if I don’t restrict myself. The tartiflette was around £13! Baguette £1.50, squeezed orange juice £3.80, tartines around £8.

> Tips:

  • Wifi available in most of their branches
  • Go preferably for breakfast
  • Try their hazelnut flute (take away) with some bresaola, yummy!
  • If you’re waiting for your train in St Pancras, wait at Pain Quot’!

> Other tested branches:

  • Tottenham Court Road – my local
  • St Pancras – get a sandwich from there instead of the usual M&S
  • South Kensington
  • Soho – nice location
  • Notting Hill Gate – first floor quite nice
  • South Bank – large room in the back. Also some tables outside, very nice on sunny days
  • Covent Garden – unpleasant staff, makes you understand you have to leave as soon as you’ve paid

Infos: Le Pain Quotidien – Unit 1053A, Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, London, W12 7GB – 020 7486 6154 – Shepherd’s Bush or Wood Lane stations – open 7.30am-10pm Monday to Friday, 09.00am-22pm Saturday, 09.00-09pm Sunday


  1. Ah, i have also been to the one on South Bank and found that room at the back very pleasant. I’ve sat there knitting while waiting for friends! 🙂

    You forgot to mention my roast vegetable soup, and the Baba Ganoush. Very nice vegan and organic options! 🙂

  2. The pavlova was amazing here. One of the best deserts I’ve ever had!

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