A Guide to French Desserts in London

By Malika Dalamal  |  February 11, 2014

There's no denying the French know what they are doing when it comes to dessert. Put your sweet tooth in the hands of a French pastry chef, and you're sure to be delighted by all the fine chocolate, flaky pastry and buttery dough on offer. Don't know what you're missing? Read on to find out more about our favourite French pastries this side of the English Channel. Bon appétit!

  • Pain Perdu at La Petite Maison

    What: Created by Medieval European cooks who didn't want to waste anything left in the kitchen, pain perdu (translated as 'lost bread') is a sweet dish that sits somewhere between French toast and a bread pudding.

    USP: The crispy sugar-coated bread has a melt-in-your-mouth moist centre, so soft and doughy it's almost like cream. On the side is a delicately spiced ice cream that tastes just like Christmas.

    54 Brook's Mews, W1K 4EG; 020 7495 4774

  • Tarte Tatin at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

    What: An upside apple tart made with pastry baked over slices of caramelised apple. Rumour has it this dessert was created by mistake when French hotel owner Stéphanie Tatin was trying to bake a traditional apple pie and - during a failed attempt - had to add the pastry on top after she left the apples cooking in the butter and sugar for too long. She served the upside cake to hotel guests who loved it - and a classic was born.

    USP: There's nothing fancy about the tarte tatin at this French bistro - instead the huge slices piled with chunky pieces of apple and served with a dollop of chilled crème fraîche feel homemade and hearty.

    66 Baker St., W1U 7DJ; 020 7935 4007

  • Profiteroles at Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte

    What: A plate of choux pastry balls traditionally filled with whipped cream and topped with chocolate sauce.

    USP: Made with vanilla ice cream instead of cream at this French steakhouse, the contrast between the warm pastry and cold ice cream is perfect with a few toasted almonds thrown on top for good measure.

    Various locations

  • Gâteau Saint-Honoré at Casse-Croûte

    What: Named after the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs (yes, really!) this showstopper of a cake is made with a light pastry base filled with cream and topped with balls of choux pastry that are dipped in caramel and glued to the base.

    USP: Despite the layers of pastry and huge dollops of cream, this classic French dessert feels quite light and airy.

    109 Bermondsey St., SE1 3XB; 020 7407 2140

  • Créme Brûlée at Coq D'Argent

    What: Also known as 'Burnt Cream,' this custard-based dessert is traditionally vanilla-flavoured and topped with a layer of burnt caramel.

    USP: At this City favourite French restaurant, you'll find the classic French dessert perfectly caramelised on top and served with two mini-madeleines.

    1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ; 020 7395 5000