Food review: La Petit Nicola
72 Heath Street, London, NW3 1DN
Telephone: 020 3602 5911
La Petit Nicola – map
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Rating: * (out of 5)
So like most people up on Heath Street, I came upon this shop by accident as I was walking by. The window – with all of its pastries, gateaux (ie cakes), croissants and pain au choclats – looks wonderful and the staff are very nice and polite (the manager even let me try a small macaron for free – they usually cost £1.50 each).
However, unfortunately, the prices are high and the quality of the pastries with all of their cream fillings and chocolate are disgusting – whether it is just chocolate on pastry or a cake or pastry with a filling (pistachio or mocha cream, vanilla or regular cream or chocolate mousse, or fruits and cream, etc). Shockingly, the selection I tried of charlottes and other gateaux was disgusting! The fillings were all sugary, heavy and not that fresh. You could not taste the subtle flavours of fruits, nuts, chocolate or vanilla in a delicate way that you can with some cakes or tartes that are created well. You could taste the sugar and a heavy, not fresh cream more than anything.
This shop tries hard but doesn’t achieve much. They make Patisserie Valerie seem like heaven.
In regards to croissants and pain au choclats, well these are ok but not that fresh or buttery. In my opinion the pastry of these two creations should be buttery and light – a little bit crispy on the outside but soft, mouthwatering and the ability to melt in the mouth (due to the formula of butter and other ingredients) on the inside. The pain au chocolats on offer were ok but not that fresh. They weren’t stale but you could tell they were not extremely fresh. I have had better croissant and pain au choclat at a British train station or unassuming cafe that sells them for, at most, a pound – and of course, in France.
The prices here, as well, unfortunately, were high (sometimes a single pastry or cake ran over £5!) although the way they boxed up what you purchased was well done. So that’s Petit Nicola for you. Admire the window display, but spend your money elsewhere. The best shops I have found in London, so far, for French pastries and cakes is, in the following order, either Harrods, Fortnum and Mason or Selfridges.
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