Sunday, 1 February 2009

NOT: Princi, 135 Wardour Street, Soho W1F 0UT

Bringing the Milanese bakery Princi to London is the new project for master restauranteur Alan Yau, so it was immediately on my to-do list. The clientele seemed to consist of mainly Chinese and Italians, which is a reliable indicator that the cakes are good and the coffee is good. My nice, not great, but very photogenic profiteroles were little balls of choux pastry with an unexpected cream-cheese-like filling and a light flaky biscuit base. The service was smiling and friendly.

However, sadly this bakery gets an overall NOT. The uninspiring beige stone walls reminded me of the kind of decor you find in cafes at the bottom of office buildings. The Sunday crowds were stressful, all jostling at the counter, at the standing area, at the seats. It felt like there were a million people lumbering around with their coats, hats, scarves and shopping bags and bellowing loudly across the communal tables or the high benches facing a strange water feature -basically a row of taps pouring out constant flow of water into a trough. This made a drought-conscious water-saving Australian like me really nervous. For such a busy eatery, they had only three toilets - men, women and disabled (although I have no idea how anyone in a wheelchair would be able to navigate the scrum). I also don't think you'd have any luck trying to maintain your composure if you were lining up for the loos while watching and listening to that water feature.

So, I'd give Princi another go but only on the condition that it was on a weekday morning, and I'd try some of the hot food and sandwiches instead of the cakes. Maybe I'll do a comparison when I got to Milan.

1 comment:

Gourmet Chick said...

We have a disagreement because I really liked Princi (although I agree that the water feature just makes you need the toilet!). Let me know if you need a companion for anymore top 50 restaurants before departure date