If you want to treat yourself to some deliciously yummy cakes, you'll have to take yourself up to 28 Greek Street in Soho and visit London's oldest patisserie.
Maison Bertaux has been baking and selling cakes and pastries for 140 years (since 1871). The first M Bertaux was a Communard, who left Paris for London, and France's loss was our gain. He ran the business until 1909, when it was passed on to Mme Vignaud. In 1988 Maison Bertaux was taken over by Michel and Tania Wade, who are still in charge.
The three tea rooms are unusual and unpretentious. You can take your tea (which is loose leaf, served in a pot with extra hot water, and with a tea strainer) or coffee and cakes in the shop area, where the exquisite pastries are displayed, or you can eat and drink in the tea room next door. However you will have to go out into the street and into the shop next door, which is still part of Bertaux. Your third choice is to go upstairs and enjoy the modern art on the walls. The main shop area is very much the same as it was when the business first began. There is a French piano, topped with an accordion, and both are played from time to time. The staff are friendly and helpful and I was given a potted history of the business by Michele, who has worked there since she was a Saturday girl aged 14. Everything is baked and prepared in the kitchens above the shop, including wedding cakes and celebration cakes.
If you haven't got time to sit down and enjoy a Bertaux cake, you can always take your goodies home to eat. I'm sure you'll return after your first visit. If you're still not convinced, I'm sure the following photos will make your mouth water.
Someone trading for 140years and talking about good service, all business sense, really? Right, lets see how it matches up with my personal experience 21/08/12.
I called in to order a cake for my best friend knowing from their website that they actually do deliveries. The lady on the phone said we actually DONT do deliveries in london, please call patisserie valerie for delivery (what really- kidding right!) so I referenced their own website and she agreed to do it for a price. [With this plethora of ego, attitude whatever you want to call it, the business deal had already fallen - just she didn't knew about it]. I went along to give details where cake is to be delivered etc. etc. and to my surprise she asked for a cheque to be deposited (really this is 2012 - & sorry if I dont have cheque book as I have never used it - and more so the cheque would take forever to clear & my delivery is day after) but she said this is norm. After this she said the delivery will be through black cab & £20 would be charge(really in this tough times you have nerves to advertise about deliveries but dont even have dedicated service - I mean you might as well charter a flight to deliver cakes from now on, forget black cabs). Finally she said I'll call back after finalizing everything to which I'll wait and gracefully decline.
I'd chosen them after reading reviews but in my experience always expect the unexpected.