Laduree sits at the end of the opulent Burlington Arcade and whilst it adds to the splendour of Britain’s very first shopping arcade, it’s proximity to the less glamorous Piccadilly makes it feel somewhat between worlds.
Laduree is a tiny little shop face with no seating inside and a small smattering of chairs and tables outside, probably an indication that the venue is more somewhere to purchase the delicacies on offer as gifts, rather than to indulge. However, the seating is in keeping with the grandeur of the arcade, boasting classic gold design and plenty of room to view the extravagant interior of the shop itself.
The atmosphere is somewhat dictated by its location, seeing as the actual shop and its seated area are so small. Sitting facing one way, the luxurious feel of the excellent macaroons and the lavish shop front is only heightened by the view down the Burlington Arcade, where luxury shops policed by concierges welcome the well to do. However, the atmosphere is spoiled somewhat if forced to sit facing Piccadilly, where the riff raff walk close by, to the detriment of the kind of exclusivity they might like to boast.
Those not aware of exactly what Laduree offers might be a little shocked to be confronted by walls of immaculately presented macaroons, and nothing else. This is no bad thing however, as these little cakes are exquisite. For the uninitiated, the macaroons are small, round cakes that have a satisfyingly crisp exterior that gives way to a soft, almost chewy middle. The flavours are intense and with as huge a selection as this place offers, more than satisfying. Of particular note is the simple dark chocolate macaroon, that’s sickeningly sweet yet surprisingly accessible – like a gourmet cookie without the heaviness. For those looking to try something a little different, the perfumed taste of a rose macaroon is delicious, with a powerful flowery aroma that’s reminiscent of the very best Turkish delights. Perhaps the finest on offer however, is the passion fruit and chocolate macaroon that’s beautifully balanced and deliciously moreish.
There’s little beverage choice and disappointment is doubled when a perfectly adequate coffee is served in a takeaway cup. The coffee uses good beans, is well filtered and offers that nice little caffeine kick but the fact that you are then seated at an elegant gilded table with a cheap, cardboard cup merely reinforces the feeling that Laduree just hasn’t got it quite right. Which is a shame as those macaroons deserve better.
The Last Word
Although it serves up some delectable little cakes, Laduree just doesn’t quite cut it as a place to visit. You’re much better off grabbing takeaways or even better, heading to the Laduree at Harrods.