After emerging from Tiger Tiger, the music blasting behind us as we left, we decided that to finish off our evening we needed a decent dessert. I could almost hear an angelic choir break into song as we looked straight ahead of us and across the road and the most impressive patisserie I have ever seen, glowing and basking in light that streamed from its windows. We headed towards it, as awed as if it was a cake Mecca, the huge glass fronted building edged in gold and beige, with an elegantly swirled inscription, Caffe Concerto, above the doors. Peeking into the display windows only confirmed our suspicions that we really would have to go in, as our eyes hungrily devoured the tantalising array of soft sponges and mounted tarts sitting pretty among coloured macaroons and chubby éclairs.
My first impressions as I walked in, was that it reminded me of an incredibly swanky hotel lobby. The ones with the beige and grey marbled flooring, a polished wooden bar protecting a wall covered in gleaming glasses of every shape and size. Suited and booted staff showed us to a table in the corner, the massively huge windows acting like glass walls, making it an excellent spot for people watching. Crystal chandeliers dripped their pearls of reflective light from the high up ceiling, the overall effect incredibly glamorous and almost regal.
Flicking past the lunches and dinners section of the menu, we hit upon our desired list – the patisserie, where we were confounded by the amazing array of sweets on offer. Not having dessert in Tiger Tiger meant that we still had suitable space for a rather large treat, so my eye was instantly caught by the gateaux part. I went for a chocolate sponge slice, with a layer of custard like crème patisserie, a layer of cream, and then a layer of fresh mixed fruit, alternated between the fluffy dark chocolate sponge housed in a thin sheet of chocolate. Sometimes I find chocolate cakes too rich, and I can rarely devour a whole slice myself, but I had no trouble at all with this one. The flavour was perfect, not too sickly or rich but not a pale imitation of chocolate either. The various layers mixed up the texture and meant every mouthful was slightly different. What I also liked was that the fruit in the final layer was mainly kiwi – not something you encounter normally in cake making, but it worked so well. Absolutely divine. Jess went for a Mixed Berry Tart, a mountain of cream and crème patisserie dressed in strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, sat on a chocolate pastry tart base. They hit the spot perfectly.
To accompany our cake, we went for a Bailey’s coffee, and when it arrived at our table, I was delighted by its presentation with a flick of cream curled on top, decorated with a couple of crisp coffee beans for added crunch. Granted, the coffee was very strong and I had to add three sweetener sachets to get it to my taste, but I loved the creamy hit of Baileys that hit after the tart coffee, and to be honest, the coffee almost felt like a dessert in itself! It was really excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the decadent feel of the menu and atmosphere.
After chatting for a while, we decided that more alcohol was needed, and that’s normally where cocktails come in. With a very classic cocktail selection, we were both able to pick one of our favourites – a Sex on the Beach for me, and a Cosmo for Jess. The Sex on the Beach came in a fantastically feminine glass full of curves, with the grenadine gradient of colour streaking down the hue of orange at the top. The Cosmo’s rosy pink was delivered in a traditional Martini glass complete with scaled down straw for simple sipping. Both were full of flavour and just the right level of boozy-ness which we loved.
Considering we were disappointed by Tiger Tiger, Caffe Concerto provided a fantastic finish to our evening. The background music was quiet, the general feel was incredibly peaceful and we honestly could have nattered away in there until dawn. It was such a comfortable yet opulent space that really fit our mood. And oh my gosh – every day I fall a little more in love with patisseries. What amazing places!