UPDATE: 13/06/2017 – Sadly, for reasons unknown by myself, this place has now closed. Such a shame as it was so nice to go to an independent, and authentic café, instead of the same old places you find in every high street.
Back in October Helen and I visited Boulangerie Victor Hugo in the High Street, Southampton which was an excellent choice for lunch for me, because the following week I would be off to France on a short cycling holiday. It got me in the mood.
It’s a short walk from West Quay shopping centre, where let’s face it, there aren’t many good eateries apart from the ubiquitous large restaurant chains, so it’s nice to go somewhere a little different.
On entering it really is as if you’ve stepped into a French tearoom. The first area has ironwork tables and chairs and is open at the front, enough to keep you dry (depending on which way the wind is blowing of course) and I suspect, quite a sunny spot in the summer. On the ceiling is a nice painting, not unlike the one in the Sistine Chapel 😉 Well ok, maybe not quite as good as that.
Inside is lovely. It has a very high ceiling, brown leather chairs and marble top tables. They even have their own bakery on the premises where you can watch the bakers busy at work through the window.
Lots of delicious looking cakes, pastries, fresh baguettes and croissants available of course. All sorts of lovely goodies you’ll find in any French patisserie. I do love how in every French village, no matter how tiny it is, there’s a patisserie, boulangerie, boucherie and even several hairdressers.
The waitress who served us was very friendly and helpful. She was the only member of staff who wasn’t French. We decided upon the lunch menu, which for £6.30 you could have a hot drink, a baguette/tart and a cake/pastry. Amazing value we thought.
We sat inside and I felt I was in France already. We each shared a roast vegetable tart and a vegetable & cheese baguette. The vegetable tart was delicious and contained lots of red peppers. It was served warm and was very fresh and light. The pastry base was tasty too.
The baguette was also served warm and again was very fresh. It was halved and topped with the roast vegetables along with melted cheese. I little like a pizza.
Of course it was very hard to choose which cake to have. There was of course, apple tart which looked very nice indeed.
We settled upon four. Two to eat there and two to take home.
The custard was quite firm but very tasty with a burnt glazed top. The pastry was good too. It wasn’t too sweet, just right in fact. Not like our custard tarts we have in the UK which I don’t actually like. Nor was it like the Portuguese tarts (pasteis de Nata) which I am very fond of.
Doesn’t this look beautiful? A sweet crisp pastry base, filled with custard and topped with sharp redcurrants and blackcurrants, finished with a shiny glaze.
We just had to take something home. Almond croissants. One to share and one to give to Geoff my husband. This was so fresh that even thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
Inside was light and bouncy and tasted delightful. There were a few large, whole cakes in the refrigerated cabinet too which looked incredible. Old French pop music played lightly in the background whilst we enjoyed our food and drank coffee and a chocolate chaud which was nice and thick and not too sweet. All of this cost us only £16. Ok, there were no frills such as a few salad leaves or crisps on the plate, but that was fine.
Boulangerie Victor Hugo opened only in March of this year. When I’m next in Southampton I shall definitely be paying them another visit.
Living life, loving cake