Let Them Eat Cake

Classy sweet treats at Fait Maison

Anyone who has been to Ravenscourt Park lately will know Fait Maison as the new leaseholders of the tea house there. But just around the corner, where Goldhawk Road meets Paddenswick, Fait Maison has a more established branch whose modest, brown exterior gives little indication of what is inside.

When you first enter Fait Maison, you are quite literally surrounded by food: in front of you is a large wooden table, laden with beautifully displayed dishes and decorated with vases of flowers, while more dishes are laid out on a counter on the left and in a chiller on the right.

On the day that we visited, we were immediately greeted by one of the eager waiting staff who told us that, as there was no menu, we should choose what we wanted and she would heat it up and bring it to us.

This was no easy task for us. The dishes included Middle Eastern dips such as humous and baba ganoug, salads of the lentil, chick pea and rice variety – as well as the intriguing-sounding aubergine and mango salad -, hot dishes such as beef tagine, lamb biryani, and vegetable and cheese gratin as well as more ordinary fare such as baked potatoes, plain rice and pasta.

We went for a lamb biryani, which was nice and spicy and was served with rice, but no vegetables. We also had a huge slice of tortilla, packed with potato as well as a tasty & crunchy mixed sprout salad with tomatoes. There’s no alcohol on sale at Fait Maison but instead, they offer a selection of organic juices, smoothies, bottled waters and fresh orange juice, squeezed in-house.

Fait Maison has got a completely open plan layout so that from the front door, you can see right through into to the chrome kitchen at the back. The interior is modern and smart, without being too formal, so you could just as easily come here for classy coffee and cakes, without feeling the need to buy a full meal.

There’s also an outside seating area at the front, but quite whether you would want to enjoy your beef tagine with a view of Allied Carpets and traffic thundering towards the double roundabouts is another question. Better to nip round to the Ravenscourt Park branch to get Fait Maison food - albeit without the same variety - in more pleasant surroundings.

Cakes are a big thing at Fait Maison: they sit proudly on display in the café window and there is even a 35-page cake slideshow on the company website. And, indeed, the cakes are impressive and look as though they have been made with all the love and care of a professional pastry chef. The downside – and this is my only real gripe about the place – is the price: £1.80 for a muffin, £1.95 for a meringue and £3.20 for a small lemon cake. We shared a slice of mixed fruit tart, also £3.20, and despite the price, it was superb.

Tucked away quietly in Fait Maison’s basement is a real gem: sofas, coffee tables, plants and a children’s play corner full of toys and books. Just like home, but cleaner and tidier and you get your coffee and cake brought to you. We were alone down there mid-week, but it is apparently quite full at weekends.

In total, we paid just over £22 for two main courses, one cake and soft drinks, so although Fait Maison is not the cheapest W12 eaterie, you can enjoy a light lunch there at a reasonable price.

The café also sells organic eggs, speciality jams, honey, mustard, olives and halva.

Fait Maison is open from 07:30am to 11:00pm every day and has an “authentic Egyptian grill” every evening from 6pm.

Yasmine Estaphanos

20 May 2008