Having your cake and eating it.

The curry laksa isn't the only thing that's great about Hare & Tortoise - the fact that it's got a patisserie right beside it is a huge plus as well. Nestled in one of the corners of Brunswick Corner, Patisserie Valerie is one of those places you can't help but feel drawn to with its window displays of pretty cakes and pastries.

Patisserie Valerie
9 Brunswick Centre
Tel: 020 7833 4906

There's always the temptation to walk in as you leave Hare & Tortoise and on this particular Saturday afternoon, Sapna and I, who had already caved in to our craving for curry laksa decided to go the distance. It was buzzing with activity, the little patisserie, with the tea-time crowd - tables of people enjoying lazy afternoon conversations over cups of tea and slices of cake.

Sapna knew what she wanted almost right away - a black forest slice. Cream and berries sandwiched between light chocolate sponge, the cake was wonderfully light.

My gateaux slice came recommended by the waitress (as always, I couldn't decide) - the mille-feuilles. With no expectation of what was to come, I was very pleasantly surprised. Three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of custard cream, it was something new. I thought that the glazed icing complemented the pastry perfectly. I happened to overhear the woman seated at the table right beside us order a strawberry version of this - something I'll have to try the next time I'm there.

What Sapna and I really liked about the cakes and pastries at Patisserie Valerie is how light everything is (which really makes you feel a lot less guilty about indulging!). The atmosphere is a cosy one and there's that delicious aroma of coffee going around as well.

The best part about an afternoon dessert with one of your closest friends is however, is the fact that everything is up for sharing and at this place, you'd definitely want to have your cake, eat it and have someone else's too!

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