Take It Away Review

Paul Rhodes Bakery,

37 King William Walk, Greenwich,

SE10 9HU

TARTS and Paris Brests may be headlines on the menu, but this is one sophisticated take-out.

In the heart of Maritime Greenwich, this chic bakery has a distinctly Parisian feel. Neatly-aproned staff warm your quiche, baguette or pastry choice in a stone-based oven while you people-watch in the classy, Hessian-coloured surroundings. You emerge revived, clutching a stylish mauve takeaway bag and inspired (in my case) to purchase some Chanel.

I chose the garlic pesto ciabatta with a layered tricolore of tomato slices, whole basil leaves and melted cheese (£3.95). The crispy ciabatta alone is something to rave about, with all goods freshly baked several streets away and overseen by Michellin-starred chef Paul Rhodes from Blackheath.

Greed took over from hunger, and I felt compelled to purchase a tomato, basil and goats cheese quiche (£2.35) - a delicious deep-filled, frilled pastry, with a kernel of goats cheese toasted on top. No soggy microwaved bases here - the artisan breads are a source of pride to entrepreneur Mr Rhodes.

My strawberry tart dessert (£3.10) had a flaky base with fresh strawberries heaped on delicate custard. I helped it all down with a capuccino (£2.00) where the bitter chocolate powder topping belied the rich, cocoa-tasting coffee beneath.

While the window of mouthwatering breads alone could send you into a frenzy, the inside counters hold a treasure trove of treats. Options ranging from savoury muffins, bagels, cheese straws, a selection of mini quiches and pastry squares left me quite overcome.

Be warned: if you popped in for a coffee, you will need steely determination to ignore the second counter of sweet treats.

I am not a fan of sickly, Chantilly-cream-style continental cakes, but the most determined Anglophile could not resist the mixed fruit tart or lemon tart with whipped meringue peaks. There are also jaunty Choux buns filled with hazelnut mouselline for £3.15, berry pavlova, and the featured Paris Brest of choux pastry and praline flavoured cream.

My indulgent order came to £11.40 but you can nip in for a poppyseed baton at £1 or cheese straw £1.15. You can also take away some fresh thinking with the "make and bake" selection of quality flours, such as organic spelt, to bake and enjoy at home.

 Food: **** Magnifique! Get ready to be excited by pastry

Service: *** Pleasant and smartly-dressed

Interior/Décor: **** Good to linger in while your order is warmed