Fringe Box



Maison Blanc, North Street

Published on: 5 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 10 Nov, 2012

Coffee Shop Review

A café which proclaims it will serve you “a little slice of France” must aim to offer chic décor, tempting tartlets and impeccable petits fours.  Maison Blanc, a long-standing fixture in North Street, did not disappoint. 

The window display is attractive and enticing with an abundance of glistening fruit and a dusting of sugar.  I’d not ventured inside before, assuming that such French fancies would come at a luxurious price.

How wrong.  Searching the board for a fail-safe Americano, I noted the price of a cappuccino – £2.35 – average for a coffee chain.  Also while scrutinising the board, it was refreshing to see coffee described in French (eg Café Crème) when most coffee served these days is Italian-described.

Tea, coffee (cafe noir) and an almond croissant ordered and brought to the table on another day

Don’t worry if you are used to ordering in Italian, the helpful staff translated my order without making me feel awkward about ordering ‘off-menu’.  While my companion pondered over the choice of cakes we were invited to take a seat and informed that our drinks would be brought to the table.  Very polite and quite unlike the slice of French manners I’ve experienced in Paris.

It was the table that let the café down though. The first one we chose had been cleared but not wiped.  Fortunately Maison Blanc was not full on a Saturday afternoon so we switch to the next one.  When the coffee arrived, in a white cup and saucer, the accompanying spoon was dirty.

Maison Blanc in North Street

Soaking up the relaxed atmosphere created by the pastel colour scheme and the gentle clinking of cups we noticed the new sandwich range which starts at £2.95.  We didn’t eat, apart from the free sample at the counter, but the choice is imaginative, including Halloween-inspired cakes.

Maison Blanc could tempt me again, as an alternative to Guildford’s Italian coffee chains with a wider lunch menu.

Subject Comments Score
Maison Blanc, North Street
Coffee £2.35 per cup Cappuccino, good sized smooth Americano. 4
Cakes French patisserie looked amazing. Almond croissant was delicious. 4.5
Menu range
Imaginative, e.g. avocado and quinoa salad and standard e.g. chicken club sandwich 4
Interior Very pretty pastels. Only ten tables so easily filled. Avoid the table by the door. 3
Atmosphere Gently clinking cups and low volume conversations 3
Access From raised North Street pavement but has automatic door and easily moved tables 3
Service Orders taken at counter but then brought to table. Staff were polite and helpful. 4
Information No wifi or papers 1
Value for money One tea, one coffee and one cakes for just under £7. Above average. 2
Opening hours Mon-Wed 8-5.30 Thur-Sat 8-6 Sun 9-5
Address 73a North Street, Guildford GU1 4AW Tel:01483 301187 Website:

What they say about themselves:

Maison Blanc is the authentic French Boulangerie and Pâtisserie originally created in 1981.

Today we bring a little slice of France to 14 locations in the South of England, serving a selection of freshly baked artisan breads, pastries, savouries, and of course our world famous cakes and pâtisserie – all hand finished to perfection and simply bursting with seasonal flavour.

Our seasonal café menu includes a delicious selection of light lunches from filled baguettes and sandwiches to crisp salads, soup and savouries. You’ll also find breakfast on the menu where you can start your day in continental style with the classic Le Parisien or choose from a more hearty selection to include free range boiled eggs or a Scottish smoked salmon platter.

Join us for a take away sandwich, a relaxed afternoon tea with friends or a lazy light lunch – It will be a pleasure to serve you!

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