Friday, 15 January 2010

Princi review - finding sanctuary in an Italian bakery in London Soho


Address: 135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UF
Tel: 020 7478 8888
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: **
Ambience: **
Suitable for: a quick afternoon tea
Coming from an island where it's hot and humid all year round, I do welcome the seasonal changes in weather. I guess a miserable winter just makes you welcome spring and a sweltering hot summer makes you look forward to a cool autumn.

However, one issue that I have with winters is that the glutton in me tends to manifest itself during cold weather - the freezing temperature doesn't exactly encourage exercises to burn off the extra calories either.

Princi+review+Wardour+Street+London+Soho+Italian+bakery+London+Chow
The inviting display will be the first thing that catches your eye

The temperature was barely above zero when we trudged along Wardour Street heading towards Kingly Court over the weekend. The gust of wind that came from nowhere broke the camel's back and we sought refuge at Princi.

The heater installed just above the entrance was a lifesaver as we dragged our sorry selves in. "Hello!", a staff who was standing behind the counter nearest to the door greeted us with a wide grin. Afterwards, I suspected she was planted there for that sole purpose as the rest of the staff seemed sullen beyond words.

Princi+review+Wardour+Street+London+Soho+Italian+bakery+London+Chow
Pastries galore

But what really caught my attention were the rows and rows of pastries behind a long counter, which spanned the length of the store. Colourful pastries that came in various shapes and sizes with some customers pouring over them through the glass display while the rest nursing cups of hot beverage busy chatting among themselves just seemed so surreal compared to the miserable weather outside.

Princi+review+Wardour+Street+London+Soho+Italian+bakery+London+Chow
Bins doubling up as standing tables as well

The entire place was packed to the till and some even had to stand and eat off vertical blocks that served as tastefully designed trash bins. We did get some seats after some time and I was immediately off to the hot food counter placed right at the back.

Princi+review+Wardour+Street+London+Soho+Italian+bakery+London+Chow
Nothing staves off the cold like a hot cup of tea

A grand total of four pasta were on display with no clear display of prices. With my stomach growling, I pointed to one that looked like something that I would like. It turned out to be a spinach lasagne, which turned out quite alright. My only grouse was that at £7 per serving (approximately 4 inches by 4 inches), the price seemed a bit steep.

That said, I must add that the pastries were fabulous. We got some Rustichi Spinach (3 for £1.50) for takeaway. The only grumble that I had was that the pastries weren't heated up if you dine in (and they cost much more). It didn't do the otherwise delicious bite size delights any justice as we found out later that they tasted way better after two minutes in the oven at 150 C.

Princi was a welcome addition to Wardour Street. Its minimalist layout with top to bottom glass façade literally lit up the vicinity, which, in my opinion, needed some sprucing up. I would definitely to get some pastries for takeaway the next time I'm in the area, but only for takeaway - I like my pastries served warm.

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3 comments:

Bibimbap Soho said...

Come and give bibimbap soho a try, you can find us on facebook.com/bibimbap.soho

London Lady said...

Love Princi. My only gripe is that it is so difficult to find seating. With such great pastries, they would be an awesome place to linger all morning with the paper and coffee.

C K said...

@London Lady,
Hmm, the turnaround times were pretty fast the couple of times we were there. Not sure whether it would be a good place to hang out. Pity, I know.