Sable D’or, Crouch End, London

In a word:  Reliable
Food:  Beautiful salads, pastries and good breakfasts
Service:  Warm welcome but table service is a bit hit and miss
Presentation:  Lovely window and deli counter display. Salvage-chic interiors!
Ambience:  Pretty chilled, verging on quiet for an early breakfast
Location:  Crouch End High Street, North London
Value for money:  A little further from central London = reasonable price tag
Worth a visit?:  The salads and English Breakfast are worth the trip ‘up north’

We were drawn to Sable D’or by the window display of freshly baked pastries and rather gorgeous looking salads, and it became one of our go-to places for breakfast when we wanted to get out of the big smoke and head north…on the 91 bus!

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Ottolenghi, Islington, London

In a word:  Original
Food:  Favourites are the salads (all of them) and breakfasts
Service:  Great service from familiar faces
Presentation:  Sleek, shiny and polished. Food.  Flowers.
Ambience:  Busy buzz of talk over the communal tables, avoid this with a breakfast visit
Location:  Our local is Islington, right in between Highbury & Islington and Angel tube stations.  Branches at Notting Hill, Spitalfields, Belgravia, and NOPI in the West End.
Value for money:  A personal fave: £18 for a large box of takeaway salad that easily fills two.  Breakfasts between £5 and £10. Coffee or tea £2 to £3.
Worth a visit?: Yes, this is a must visit foodie establishment.  Plus their almond croissants are our of this world amazing!

Ottolenghi is original, a much reproduced original, although very few manage to hit the high standards in the deliciousness stakes of Yotam Ottolenghi and his team.

Food-wise,  it’s a casual, European dining style with a couple of large communal tables with a few small tables along one side of the restaurant.  The menu is very much seasonally influenced with enduring favourites making a regular appearance.  Flavours are a mix of Mediterranean, Middle and Far Eastern and ingredients are sourced from the UK and Europe with a focus on small scale, artisan producers and growers.

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Le Pain Quotidien, Marina Mall, Dubai

In a word:  Homely
Food:  A nice selection of freshly prepared mainly European cafe-style dishes, mostly healthy (except the deliciously naughty looking tarts and pastries) to suite pretty much all palettes
Service:  Very well trained, although a little slow to deliver drinks and food at times
Presentation:  Just food on a plate, nothing too complicated
Ambience:  A European homely feel, especially nice if you’re not used to the real thing.
Location:  All the convenience of a mall location, and plenty of other branches across Dubai
Value for money:  Standard Dubai/London cafe prices
Worth a visit?:  A perfectly good option, especially if you’re in the mall and you fancy a healthy freshly prepared option, bar those aforementioned tarts!

Le Pain Quotidien has grown on me.  With an ethos around organics and sustainability, Le Pain Quotidien should have rated much higher on my radar, however, when we first moved to Dubai I had a few disappointing experiences there; portion size issues and serving soup in a bread bowl…yes, I know, soup in a bread bowl isn’t unique to Le Pain Quotidien, but it’s something that turns me off, big time.  These first unsatisfactory experiences left  bad taste and I boycott Le Pain Quotidien altogether.

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