Friday, 13 November 1998

The Continuing Quest for a Perfect Lemon Tart

Rive Gauche - Warren Street, London W1

Situated at the North End of Fitzrovia, near the square, Rive Gauche is a decent lunch-time take-away eating spot.  I deliberately avoid the term sandwich bar, as it would not do justice to this eaterie that not only uses first class ingredients to transform mini-baguettes into cracking sarnies, but also has a fine array of flans, and (what we're really after), a handsome patisserie selection.  The pear tart looked mighty sumptuous, but my eye was transfixed on the King of all Patisseries, the lemon tart.

And a fine tarte au citron indeed.  The texture was suitably firm whilst remaining moist (this is without doubt the area that nearly everyone fails on, producing curd that is either way too runny or like rubber).  The flavour was fine, not to be faulted in fact.  It wasn't too sweet, though plenty good and sharp.  The pastry was passable (always a very tricky test I find), though a smidgen heavy and dry.  As you know of course, a thin slice of glazed lemon is often on top of the curd, a moderately desirable attribute, though its absence is not sufficiently important to gripe about.  With reference to the dimensions and proportions, I feel the depth of curd was perhaps a tad lacking, the ratio of filling to pastry being slightly on the low side.  I would gladly sacrifice a few sixteenths of an inch in diameter to gain a touch of depth, the overall weight of curd not being affected.  By the same measure, the crust was perhaps slightly thick.  However, minor points to be sure.

Overall, most impressive - 8/10.

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