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Chic sweets: Review of Belle Epoque Patisserie, Islington

Local favourite Belle Epoque Patisserie brings an authentic taste of France to North London

What’s the background?

More than most in the capital, Belle Epoque evokes the feel of a classic Parisian patisserie. Originally a favourite neighbourhood spot in Stoke Newington, the popularity of its extensive range of classic cakes, viennoiserie and pastries has seen in expand out onto Islington’s Upper Street and, in recent weeks, Covent Garden, as well as supplying upmarket retailers such as Selfridges.

The space

On this occasion I visited the Upper Street boutique, where you can’t fail to be drawn in by the colourful display of one of the biggest assortment of petit gateaux I’ve seen offered in the capital. Certainly it fares well against stiff competition from other bakeries that line the high-end shopping street, including Ottolenghi’s famous window showcases piled high with meringues as big as your face. While appearing deceptively small, the shop has plenty of space inside to enjoy a full sit-down lunch, as well as a scattering of seating spilling out onto the pavement outside for the full continental experience.

What’s on offer?

Belle Epoque Patisserie’s range really does run the gamut of everything you could possibly want or expect from a classic French patisserie. Sweets change regularly, and as we head into summer the focus on seasonality comes into its own, as tempting tarts bursting with fresh red fruits take centre stage. There’s also slight spins on classics, and I was particularly taken with the chocolate eclair with interesting textures of marshmallow on top. It’s also a great place to pick up French confectionery, both high and low end, which may be harder to find this side of the channel. As you’d expect from a lunch spot the savouries are almost as much a draw, with a range of pastries and quiches, as well as seemingly being a popular place for locals picking up a fresh loaf on the way back from the school run – always a good sign.

Belle Epoque Patisserie, 262 Upper Street, London N1 2UQ; belleepoque.co.uk

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