The Italians – Pucci, Prada, Gucci – you’ve got to love them. Now in London we have what is known in Italy as the “Armani of Bread”, Princi. Fittingly located within a short dash of both Selfridges and Liberty the new Princi cafe/bakery is just as stylish as you would expect. A huge counter runs along one wall showcasing a myriad of pastries, pizza and pasta. Along the other wall is a water feature. I’m not that keen on water features as they don’t seem to serve much purpose other than make you need to go to the toilet but the inclusion seemed to reflect a little of Alan Yau’s influence on Princi. There is seating along the length of the water feature and several waist high counters where you can stand to have your coffee and pastry Italian style.
You head to the counter to order in what is a very haphazard system, however the entire process is conducted with such charm that you don’t really mind. Princi seems to be staffed exclusively by Italians. I am not sure whether such an overt discrimination policy is legally allowed in hiring staff but it means that the coffee is good and everything is served with a friendly Prego. There is a very impressive wood fired oven at the front of the shop so I decided it was essential to order the pizza to test the oven out. The pizza was excellent, deliciously light with a smoky crisp base. My lemon and berry tart was equally good with clusters of juicy berries hidden underneath the lemon curd.
I was at Princi for lunch however it is open until 12pm at night and apparently there are plans for 24 hour opening as with Princi in Italy. It’s nice to know that some Italian sustenance is on hand whether for a shopping pit stop or a quick bite before heading out in Soho.