Review: Patisserie Valerie
Our latest review was at Swindon Designer Outlet’s premier destination for beautiful hand-made French fancies; Patisserie Valerie. Much more than just tea and cake, Patisserie Valerie is a serious contender for one of The Outlet’s top eating destinations.
Patisserie Valerie is situated on the corner of the North and East Malls, near the Children’s Play Area. Which means you’re away from the hustle-and-bustle of the main Food Court, making the restaurant have more of a calm and relaxed atmosphere. My wife and I were shown to our table next to the amazing floor-to-ceiling glass wall, which has been installed in the latest round of exciting redevelopments at Swindon Designer Outlet. This really brought the evening sun inside, that coupled with the odd shopper happily walking past and the children playing in the distance really made you feel like you could be in a proper street-side bistro. The low, separating walls of the restaurant giving the perfect balance of inclusion and distance from the rest of the space.
The staff were very polite and attentive, keeping themselves busy and making sure the whole place stayed looking as neat and tidy as you’d expect from a place oozing with a high-end ‘joie de vivre’.
Once seated, we flicked through the menu. I was previously under the impression that Patisserie Valerie was just a tea-and-cake sort of establishment but I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by the offering of Speciality Sandwiches, All Day Breakfasts and Brunch, Grilled Snacks and their ‘Lunch Through to Dinner’ selection.
Having been tempted with the Croque Italienne – a grilled granary-bread sandwich filled with Italian meats, vegetables, herbs and cheese – I opted for the Valerie Club. I figured if it’s so good that they put their name to it, it must be a winner! A triple-decker sandwich with grilled chicken breast, gammon ham, lettuce, tomato and mayo on toasted granary bread. The dish itself was a fantastic example of something simple executed perfectly. The proportions were spot on, it was crisp to bite in to, but the chicken and ham were succulent and delicious. The lettuce and tomato added a freshness and crunch that made for a very satisfying mouthful. Here’s how good Patisserie Valerie is – even the side of crisps and freshly-cut salad were delicious!
My dining partner opted for the Chicken Caesar Salad. Again, something you might associate with being simple, the Patisserie Valerie incarnation of this light-bite favourite was impeccably presented and tasted incredible. The grilled chicken breast wasn’t just cut up and hidden beneath a mound of salad, the three generous fillets of chicken were cooked to perfection and presented on whole individual baby gem lettuce leaves all centred around the salad, dressing, crispy bacon and parmesan shavings. The standout addition to this dish however was the warm garlic bread. Normally Chicken Caesar Salad is just served with dry croutons, but by putting the warm, buttery garlic bread in the fold really lifted the dish. Again, simple, but executed brilliantly.
Now you can’t go to Patisserie Valerie and NOT have something sweet to finish on! This visit was no exception. I opted for the Mille Feuille and my wife had the Apple and Almond Franzipan. Translated in to English, ‘mille feuille’ means ‘a thousand leaves’, which perfectly describes the impossibly thin layers of pastry which sandwiches the delicious custard layers.
The Apple and Almond Franzipan was crisp and delicious as well with a great balance of both flavours. Both desserts were tasty and Moorish but defeated both of us. Our waiter was more than happy to box up our half-eaten patisseries and put them in a bag to go.
The one thing I took away from my visit to Swindon Designer Outlet’s Patisserie Valerie is that is it SO MUCH MORE than a tea-and-cake place. Don’t get me wrong, they do them very well, the patisseries we had were beautiful and I’ll make a point to pick some up to go on every visit to the Outlet, but when I need something a little more substantial, ‘Pat Val’ has certainly made it on to my short list of great places to grab a simple informal dinner, lunch or brunch. Discover it today, you certainly won’t be disappointed!