It was the Monday that the Beast from the East had sidled its way into the British Isles and Nappy Valley was shivering under icy ... Read Feature
As we approached La Petite Bretagne on foot from the Abbeville Road direction, tummies were grumbling after a busy Saturday morning of activities/homework/housework/slight hangover. You know the feeling. Nerves of both old and young were fraying around the edges thanks to blood sugar levels dipping perilously low. Thankfully that mood was short-lived. As we walked in, we felt instantly far from the madding crowds and quickly took in our light, bright and airy surroundings of a modern take on a Brittany creperie. Tables are wooden but patterned with gingham and doily, on-trend lighting and exposed bulbs add to the fresh feel, and stylish plates, tins and posters adorn the walls while large windows let in great rafts of daylight.
Our two boys instantly skidded into the banquette seating and quickly grabbed the crayons to get colouring in and tackling the questions on the Children’s Menu (£9.95 to include a drink, a savoury and a sweet crepe).
Friendly and efficient service brought our drinks quickly (Oranginas all round – we’d fully embraced the French theme by this point) and took our ravenous orders, chosen from the broad and mouth-watering selection of savoury crepes. Think winter-warming and delicious cheese, ham and spinach – the Forestière – or remember that excess from the night before and go all out with the Alsacienne of bacon, fried egg, cheese and beyond. The savoury gluten and wheat free crepes, otherwise know as galettes, are made using French buckwheat flour. They were crispy, light and incredibly tasty and filling. Clean plates all round. It was also fun and made such a change to be presented with triangular plates and hot, just-made crepes, filled with various tasty, fresh ingredients.
Then for pudding. The choice of sweet crepes is as big as the savoury, if not bigger, and it was tough. Not wanting to be greedy, my husband and I agreed to share (dammit). The waitress diplomatically provided us with two plates so we could divide and conquer quickly and avoid any cutlery fighting over the last few mouthfuls. My eye was drawn by the Belle-Hélène, with pear, dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream, but we agreed on the Breton Treat, with apple, cinnamon and salted caramel. There are no words. I could have eaten a whole one on my own, and then another. The boys meanwhile, having gobbled their way through Classics (cheese & ham) for their mains, tucked happily into their Classic (sugar and lemon) and Nutella (needs no further explanation, to quote the menu) sweet crepes, before sitting back and exhaling, hands contentedly resting on tummies.
This place has space – plenty of room to manoeuvre pushchairs and for roaming toddlers – and a relaxed and fresh vibe, and I encourage you to go. At the back there’s a coffee shop where you can grab your morning coffee and croissant en route to work or Clapham Common, or treat yourself to a crepe à emporter and walk away with a warm handful of deliciousness as you go about your day. Downstairs there’s a great space for parties or a big get-together with family or friends.
As we headed back out into the chill autumn air, I decided happiness is… having a place like this on your doorstep. We’ll be back. If only for that Belle-Hélène – one each next time.
Managing Editor, Charlotte, visited with her family in October 2016.
La Petite Bretagne,
65 Clapham Park Road,