I've got to say, us Sydneysiders should consider ourselves spoilt when it comes to having a sizeable and vibrant Chinatown in the middle of our city, especially when you wander the streets in Londons Soho and discover the Chinatown there is comprised of just a few streets and city blocks. It's so small you could virtually fit it in your pocket, or as they say "blink and miss it."
Taking a wander down the main drag, Gerrard Street, on our morning visit I'm met with familiar sights. Delivery vans litter the street with boxes and bags of fresh produce as they're raced off to various restaurants in the neighbourhood. An old bloke hoses down the footpath from last nights rubbish and a young girl unpacks buns and dumplings in a restaurant window box, prepping for the lunch crowds. And who could miss the golden and glistening ducks and strips of pork at the few bbq's in the vicinity. It may be a small precinct but it's better than nothing.
After having a sensational coffee at Fernandez & Wells earlier that morning we were craving a little snack. Sadly nothing was open in Chinatown when we passed through it (aside from the odd grocery store) so as we blindly explored this part of town we came across Le Pain Quotidien. The name sounded familiar but I couldn't pinpoint where I'd heard it before. Little did I know (at that point in time) it was a chain of eateries spanning the world and Sydney is about to get its fourth.
The word of the moment at Le Pain is organic. Organic bread. Organic juice. Organic meats. Vegans and vego's are looked after as well. My charcuterie board (£10.8) had me content with its delicious shavings of prosciutto, salami, terrine, ham and olives, cornichon, sundried tomato and bread.
The tartine (£7.8) is another fine choice and is basically a couple of slices of bread topped with smoked chicken breast, herb mayo, tomato and spring onion. It's simple, light and I'm loving the ceramic tablet it's served on. These can even be bought from the giftware shelves as well as a bunch of the condiments and preserves used in the menu offerings.
The pastry cabinet had a great variety of goodies but the one that outshone the rest was the plum tart (£3.5). The tartness of the fresh and lightly baked wedges of plum were beautiful. A few snacks well enjoyed.
So that brings us to the end of my little London jaunt. The next leg of the holiday was about to begin, including a few of the inlaws - Mr K's mum, Sister (Miss K) and her partner Mr H.
Time for a family holiday. A 3am wakeup call and we're picked up by a cab, whisking us off to Gatwick Airport for my first ever easyJet flight ... Toulouse, here we come.Le Pain Quotidien18 Great Marlborough StreetSoho W1F 7HU020 7486 6154Mon-Fri 7.30am-10pmSat 8.30am-10pmSun 9am-7pmlepainquotidien.co.uk