20 June 2015

Maître Choux, Fantastical Éclairs & 'Fine' Street Art

Like most other Londoners, I love London. It's surprising I know, being a Londoner and all, or at least an ex-Londoner that still lives close enough to Central London to call myself one. Why do I denounce my county and pretend to be a Londoner? Three reasons really. One, London is such a vibrant city with different types of people, architecture and things to do (even the obscurest hobby has a home here). Being a girl who grew up in small communities (I won't go into my many homes, but the Falkland Islands for one) it's a big change but one I love. Two, there's always something going on and a lot of it is free. And three, the trends.

You might be thinking, 'Trends? You've never struck me as a fashion/beauty/gorgeous blogger.' And you'd be 100% right, I'm talking about food trends guys. The lobster roll, bao, the American diner, they've all come and some have stayed. For me, trying out those new trends is one of my favourite things to do. I don't hesitate to call up my friends and say, hey guys do you fancy going to this obscure, new-but-going-to-be-super-trendy place I've found, and most of the time they indulge me. Even though on one or two occasions I've let them down...

Really that's what happened when I first bought Janet and her boyfriend to Maître Choux. Maître Choux is a shop that exclusively sells éclairs, chouxs and chouquettes. But these aren't any old filled choux goodies, these are fantastical éclairs filled by the Mad Choux Scientist with blueberry and violet, lemon meringue, and tiramisu. Not only that but they're open till 8pm Monday-Friday and 7pm on weekends. That's right it's open seven days a week. How amazing is that! I'm so impressed with this new wave of late night bakeries that are going around, mostly because I can satisfy my sweet tooth any time I want...well till 8pm.
 Back to Janet, we'd walked all the way (it's really not that far) from Leicester Square to Maître Choux in Kensington to try these éclairs one Saturday. Knowing they'd be open till late, we got there at around 4pm and you know what happened? Zero éclairs. That's what happens when you rock up late on their opening week. We were devastated, luckily the owner quickly made us feel better by feeding us chouquettes, but it was a horrible experience that I never plan to relive again. So the next time I went, I planned to get there early. Real early.

Dan and I met Louie, my partner in crime if the crime is overeating, at 10am for éclairs and breakfast. This is early for me and the men moaned to no end because I refused to go for breakfast until we'd gone to Maître Choux. I was on a mission and was not going to be disappointed like last time (Janet, I'm so sorry for taunting you with these photos we'll go soon!). Despite their moaning, when they saw the shop they got very excited together, honestly I feel like a third wheel when we go out as a group, there's a lot of bro love.

The éclairs at Maître Choux were worth holding out on breakfast for and definitely worth a second trip after the disastrous first attempt. If you're looking for an enormous cream filled, chocolate coated log, Maître Choux is not for you. These are dainty adult éclairs with creative crème patisserie flavours that are wonderful and not too sweet. As always it was hard to narrow it down, but we decided on a box of four éclairs; velvety pistachio, sharp raspberry, a very elegant looking salted butter caramel, and a mellow blueberry and violet. I loved all of them, but my favourite had to be the pistachio because the filling was so creamy and delicious, and the flavour really shone through. Dan ate almost all of the salted butter caramel éclair, saying it was the best pastry he'd had in his life, and Louie shoved a Tahitian Vanilla éclair with pecans down his gob before he'd even paid. He's that kind of competitive eater. 

If you're wondering why we were umming and ahhing, trying to pick which ones to have, it's because these are some of the most expensive pastries you'll find in London. Maître Choux's éclairs are priced around £5 each, making a box of four, you guessed it, £20. Would I pay this much everyday? Hell no, but if you're eating these éclairs everyday you're ruining the magic of them. Then and there we labelled them Birthday éclairs, which quickly changed to special occasion éclairs and I'm sure will change again to it's Friday éclairs!

And anyway, I need to go back soon just to try the filled chouxs, with their pretty little chocolate discs and interesting fillings they're next on my patisserie adventure.

 Éclairs purchased and brunch demolished, we went to go and enjoy them down by the lake in Hyde Park. There were a lot of swans and geese after our treats, but I fought them off bare handed, taunting them with outstretched half eaten éclairs. I love Hyde Park, it was one of my first dates with Dan almost seven years ago. But apart from the odd music festival I haven't been there that often in the last couple of years so it was nice to stroll around. 

We lost Louie for a while as he tried to find the Norwegian War Memorial to no avail, so Dan and I made our way to the best pub in Mayfair to watch the French Open final. Despite being part Swiss, I was routing for Djokovic, something Dan did not take well. However, having spoken to my Grandma afterwards I know I made the right choice, there's only one Swiss tennis player for our family and he knows who he is. Swiss  F.

Bro love seemed to dissipate before the penultimate set when Louie also defected to the Djokovic camp. There were some heated words, but a couple of beers righted all. Though whether Dan will ever trust Louie's loyalty again remains to be seen. 

London was looking very pretty that Sunday, and whether it was this or because I was giddy from too much crème pat or the fact that there was art for sale piled up all the way to Green Park station I was feeling very laid back, very Parisian and moochy as we admired all the oil paintings on our walk from the pub.

I also stopped to snap this photo of a building which I have never noticed before, although I don't know how its escaped me when it's basically a giant bush. How gorgeous is all that foliage against the glass, I want councils to implement this nationwide on all tower blocks. I'm just saying, add a couple of buddleias and we could save the bees. And we all know once the bees go, humans go, or at least honey. Until there's a genetically modified honey.  

Overall a pretty perfect Sunday in the capital. 

If anyone has got any recommendations for places that do one thing really well drop me a comment below. Personally I think it's about time someone makes a posh strudel shop, but what do you guys want? Have a fab weekend!

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