Maison Blanc has been in South Street, Chichester for as long as I can remember and have always had delicious looking French style cakes in the window. Years ago the seating area was at the rear which was dingy and the lino worn. We didn’t visit any longer although I would sometimes pop in there for a florentine as a treat to take home with me. But now it has been transformed into a very pleasant café with tables in the front part of the shop, fresh decor, friendly service and has a very French café feel to it, still with the fancy cakes on display in the window. Helen and I decided to give it a try as the place along the street we arranged to eat at and review was closed on a Sunday – silly people as it was a new place and it was a lovely sunny day in the bustling Chichester shopping centre and it was the Bank holiday weekend so lots of people around.
Well, what to choose? We spent quite a while up at the counter looking at all the cakes although it was table service. After eventually deciding we sat down and Helen picked up the menu and found something else that caught her eye so she quickly changed her order. I wasn’t feeling too adventurous so I opted for good old pain au raisin, this was nice and fresh with plenty of raisins. The edges were quite crispy and tasted almost like custard. Very nice.
Helen chose toasted artisan bread – which they had lots of displayed in the window and they looked really nice – served with cinnamon & sultana butter. There was plenty of butter and it was served on the side in a little pot and looked very brown. I don’t like cinnamon much, unlike Helen who loves it, but it was one of those things where you just had to keep dipping your finger into it to taste it, for me anyway. Even though neither us really liked it for it was far too oily, we presume that cinnamon powder was added to the French unsalted butter as it was rather grainy and not smooth. So, yes, Helen was rather disappointed with her butter. She asked for some plain butter – which was the French unsalted butter which I love and Helen doesn’t – and I had a taste of that on some toast and it was really nice.
There were plenty of things to choose from on the menu, breakfasts, sandwiches, Croque Monsieur, soups, salads, crêpes and of course lots of lovely cakes. Maison Blanc have 14 branches in the south so take a look at their website to see if they have one near you. They have won 7 gold Great Taste awards this year over five different products! They also make wedding cakes and have a list of products on sale in the shop like honey, olive oils, chocolate truffles etc.., and they also have wedding and celebration cakes available to order.
We’ll definitely be making a return visit and next time I shall have a fancy cake.
Chichester has lots of coffee shops and restaurants to choose from nowadays including one of my favourites, Bill’s. Have a look at our review here, I have had the same main meal on each visit and it’s very consistent.
Living life, loving cake
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