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All it needed was the smell of a French cigarette

All it needed was the smell of a French cigarette

Chez Chantal, 220 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1UU

This was a find, a really good French cafe in north London. The coffee was excellent, as were the wonderful French pastries on display. My baguette (freshly baked on the premises) was filled with pate de compagne and cornichons and transported me back to my adolescence, and family holidays picnicking by the roadside in France. The rhubarb tart reminded me of trips to patisseries in Normandy with my father, who would lose his head at the sight of all those wonderful cakes and pastries and buy several of everything. At Chez Chantal there are delicious savoury pastries to choose from, too. And you can listen to cheesy French radio, courtesy of the internet, while you sip your coffee, infusion, freshly squeezed juice, take your pick. All it needed was a sniff of a Gauloise and the whole retro French experience would have been complete.

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