Friday, 1 April 2011

Maison Blanc review Hampstead High Street - a let down in some ways


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Address: 76 Hampstead High Street
London NW3 1QX
Tel: 020 7443 9722
Nearest Tube station: Hampstead

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £10pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: **
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
“Should I get it?” Wife wondered out loud. With the sun out, it was a perfect day to be out at Hampstead Heath. And by ‘it’, Wife was referring to the crepe from La Creperie de Hampstead, which I think serve the best crepe in London. Apparently, I am not the only one who think that. A pal of mine who flies regularly into London from Singapore forwarded me a list of “restaurants/food to try in London” circulated widely among his colleagues and La Creperie de Hampstead is one of the names up there.

If you have to know, we didn’t join the queue this time round. After a tiring walk up Hampstead Heath, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to stand out in the open facing the increasingly chilly winds. We turned instead to the Maison Blanc, the French patisserie beside it.

Other than the occasional takeaway hot chocolate (which is divine by the way) to keep our hands warm when queuing up at La Creperie de Hampstead, we have never ventured into Maison Blanc. For our cake fix, we turn to its Hungarian counterpart just round the bend, Louis Patisserie instead.

We noticed two things immediately when we stepped in. The interior is smaller than it looked and the prices differ by quite a bit between takeaway and dining in. Determined not to regain the calories burnt the trek up Hampstead Heath go in waste, we went for something light.

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Tenptation (£4.30), not a misspelling, looked suspiciously like an opera. Other than a soft chocolate multilayered with cream, there was this fruity taste to it, which I find it somewhat discomforting. I was beginning to regret not heading to Louis Patisserie instead.

The pain au chocolate (£1.70) wasn’t quite up to the mark as well. While Maison Blanc was generous with the chocolate bits, the pastry was tough bordering on overdone and tasted flat.

I’m not sure whether Maison Blanc is worth a special visit despite the raving online reviews. They seem to have some issues when it comes to payment as well; it took the staff some fumbling with the cash register every single time they issue a bill. That said, Maison Blanc does boost a sizable outdoor seating area perfect for catching some sunrays when it’s bright. Otherwise, stick to the good o’ crepe instead.

Maison Blanc on Urbanspoon

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