One of the best places in Hampstead to go for tea and cake… scratch that, one of the best places in LONDON, is Louis Patisserie. This Hungarian tea shop has been trading since 1963, and I would hazard a guess that the decor has not been updated since then.
The front shop is filled with cakes and pastries, and behind that is the dimly lit, wood panelled tea room. Often it is extremely crowded (last time we went it was filled with hungry Japanese students), but at other times the place is almost deserted, except for perhaps a single table of aged Hungarian gentlemen arguing over the papers. The place has an air of faded grandeur and is entirely unpretentious – underneath the railway-carriage-like panelling and 50s flower prints sit formica tables and vinyl banquette seating which has cracked and been niftily patched up with packing tape.
There are no menus. As you sit down and order tea, you will be asked if you would like cake. Say yes. The waitress will bring over a silver tray creaking with the weight of cakes decorated with fruit, cream, choclate curls, nuts and marzipan. Your difficult job will be to choose only one of these.
The tea comes out in a silver tea pot, with a separate pot of hot water for top-ups. The sugar is in lumps, the cups are in flowery bone china, the cake is eaten with a silver cake fork. And the cakes are truly astonishing. I would go into more detail, but don’t think I could do justice to them; anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk about food, so this is a compliment of the highest order.
Run, don’t walk (you will need to work off the cream).
32 Heath Street, Hampstead
London NW3 6TE
020 7435 9908