I was excited when I heard about the opening of Victoria Gate – lots of fancy shops, shiny floors and, I assumed, a multitude of brand new places to dine out. I was right about the first two but the choice of eateries in Victoria Gate has been a bit of a let down so far. There’s a Pret, CAU (meat, meat, meat) and Le Pain Quotidien, a Belgian restaurant and bakery. I hear on the grapevine there’s going to be more openings however yet to see any details.
P and me were doing a spot of post Xmas shopping and needed a pitstop; wanting to put our feet up we decided against Pret and not in the mood for a slab of meat (CAU) we opted for Le Pain Quotidien instead. It sits above the shops of Victoria Gate so perfect for getting away from the chaos and people watching. The restaurant itself is pretty big with loads of covers so I’d hazard a guess you never really have to wait for a table. It’s decorated in I guess what Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen might call French country farmhouse shabby chic? Stripped wood furniture and a wall paint effect which Google tells me is called sponge painting. I wasn’t surprised to find out there are over 200 outlets, it has a fairly ‘done’ vibe to it.
We’d popped in around brunch time and were seated straight away by the window – in dire need of a coffee we ordered drinks immediately. A Flat White (£2.90) and an Immune Juice (£4.30) for me and a large Cappuccino (£3.60) and an Orange Juice (£3.50) for him. Drinks arrived swiftly and here came our first issue… the coffee is served the traditional French way in a bowl but P’s was scaldingly hot meaning he couldn’t pick it up. The coffee was good though, and juices also tasty. Mine was a mixture of carrot and apple with a healthy kick of ginger – much needed after a week living on crisps and chocolate. P’s orange juice was obviously freshly made so big tick there.
Foodwise I went for the Baked Eggs with Chorizo (£6.55) and a side of Avocado (£2.25) and P went for the Boulangers Petit Dejeuner (£7.45) again with a side of Avocado. Like the drinks, the food came quickly – probably not ideal if you wanted a lazy brunch but just right for our shopping break refuel. My eggs were really good, served in dinky cast iron skillets. They had runny yolks (perfect for dunking the bread) and the avocado was great for mopping up the chorizo oil. P was less impressed with his breakfast of a cheese scone, scrambled eggs, slow roasted tomato and prosciutto…the eggs tasted good but were on the cold side and he found the scone really dense and stodgy. He also said he’d prefer if the prosciutto had been more crispy so all in all he didn’t have the best breakfast experience.
It’s a shame really as I think I’d go back for the baked eggs (they also do a smoked salmon version) but it’s hard to know whether P was unlucky with his meal or I was lucky with mine! I hope the Victoria Gate does get some new places to eat, but for now I’d recommend nipping up the road to Ox Club if you do fancy a break from the shops.