If you’ve caught my latest blog series on London’s Best Breakfast Spots, you’ll know over the next few months I’ll be telling you about all the great places to brunch in the city and in each area. Yes, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day but if you know me (and read this blog regularly, especially this) you’ll know I have a real sweet tooth. I also have a serious love for finding a cosy bakery to sit down of a morning or afternoon, by myself or with a friend and enjoy a croissant, a doughnut or take away a freshly made loaf of bread. We’re very lucky in London to have some brilliantly creative and independent bakeries and if you’re like me and *live* for that 2 pm coffee or cake, here are 18 great bakeries to discover in central London.
Ole & Steen are a Danish bakery that has opened up various locations around Central London. The windows and shelves of the cafe are adorned with tons of Scandinavian pastries, cakes and loaves of rye bread but what you’ll see most people scoffing is their famous cinnamon social . Their cafes have an industrial inspired interior and are pretty spacious. A nice, easy destination with something to please everyone.
Why go? For lots of choice and the cinnamon social
56 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RN, oleandsteen.co.uk
WA Cafe are home to perfectly delicate Japanese cakes and breads made daily by highly skilled Japanese bakers. They are a small patisserie that started it’s life in Ealing, West London but due to it’s popularity have opened a second store in Central London. Cakes are unbelievably soft, light and so perfectly made you could mistake them for not being real. A great choice to experience an authentic taste of Japan and if you want something very different.
Why go? For a unique experience
Fabrique Bakery originated from Stockholm and now have 4 shops around London. Their bakeries are usually small, cosy and designed with that rustic, feminine charm the Scandinavian are known for. Guaranteed to make any interior design lovers giddy with joy. Pop in for a coffee, a sugared vanilla bun and a loaf of freshly baked rye bread to take away.
Why go? For some Swedish Hygge
8 Earlham St, London WC2H 9RY, fabrique.co.uk
Jacob The Angel is a chic little coffee house and bakery in Neal Yard. Everything they sell is made from scratch each morning so you know your almond croissant or a slice of salted buttered banana bread is the freshest it could possibly be! They get *very* busy so go early if you can. A lovely cafe in a unique spot.
Why go? For great coffee and nice surroundings
16A Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP, www.jacobtheangel.co.uk
Crumbs and Doilies is a pretty pastel coloured bakery that creates some of the most beautiful little cupcakes you’ll ever lay eyes on. The counter is full of fun and creative flavours to choose from including jammy dodger, lemon meringue pie and rainbow unicorn. Find them in a little foodie courtyard called Kingly Court. A few window seats available or a bench outside. Otherwise, they will box it up to take away.
Why go? For the prettiest cupcakes
1 Kingly St, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW, www.crumbsanddoilies.co.uk
Don’t go to Chin Chin Labs for your average cake and cookie because ‘simple’ really isn’t in their vocabulary. They are most famous for their ice-cream made with liquid nitrogen but what a lot of people don’t know is they make and bake a whole load of cakes, cookies and pies downstairs in their in-house bakery. Find things like their naughty titty cakes, party cakes and hot cherry pies. Don’t forget about their famous marshmallow hot chocolate to order with your bake. See what the fuss is about here.
Why go? For some crazy bakes!
54 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 3DS, www.chinchinicecream.com
Maison Bertaux has been baking in Soho since 1871. Yes really, over 140 years. They are an authentic Parisian tea shop that makes all of their extravagant cakes, pastries and patisserie fresh every day in their in-house bakery. Overseen by Michelle Wade who has worked at the cafe since she was 16! A quirky and eccentric place to visit that’s open until 10:30 pm!
Why go? For a cake with lots of history
28 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 5DQ, www.maisonbertaux.com
Hummingbird was one of the first American style bakeries to come to London bringing colourful, decadent cakes and brownies to the people of the UK. They first opened in West London but have since popped up all around the city. They’re most famous for the 6 layered rainbow cake and their red velvet cupcakes with their signature cream cheese swirl. A little birdie tells me if you mention ‘treat a friend Friday’ at the checkout and you can buy one and get one free for your friend.
Why go? If you want something colourful and fun.
155a Wardour St, Soho, London W1F 8WG, hummingbirdbakery.com
Cutter and Squidge is every little girl’s fantasy. It’s pretty, it’s pink and the cakes and treats are equally as gorgeous to eat as well as look at. Their famous for their ‘biskie’ creations which are a cross between a cake and a cookie sandwiched with cream or chocolate. If you prefer you can go for one of their perfectly presented cakes by the slice. My favourite is the raspberry ripple! A good amount of seating inside the cafe to enjoy a treat and a cup of tea with a friend.
Why go? To try their signature biskies
20 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0SJ, www.cutterandsquidge.com
The sign of a good bakery is when you can smell it before you see it and that’s true for Bageriet. Follow the linger of sugar and cinnamon and you’ll find yourself at this little Swedish bakery hidden down a small, unsuspecting alleyway near Covent Garden. They do things like traditional Prinsesstarta (Princess Cake) Sockerkringlor (Sugar Pretzels) and Chokladsnitt (Chocolate Biscuits) and if you’re lucky you can catch them straight out of the oven. Best served inside with a cosy book and coffee.
Why go? For an authentic Swedish experience
24 Rose St, London WC2E 9EA, www.bageriet.co.uk
Maitre Choux are the first and only choux pastry specialist in the world. Their eclairs are nothing like you’ve ever seen before and they decorate them in the most extravagant and unique ways. Their cappuccino eclair is covered in leopard print, the hazelnut is dipped in gold powder, and this rainbow one below is made with white chocolate and filled with blueberry cheesecake. I told you they are unique. With each eclair coming at £5 and above, these are the designer shoes of the eclair world.
Why go? For eclairs like you’ve never had before
60 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 6AW, www.maitrechoux.com
A small but perfectly formed bakery tucked away on a quiet mews. Fortitude’s speciality is sourdough cakes that are baked with alternate flours using a slow fermented baking process. Stop by for a morning bun, a cuppa tea and a look at all the other pastries and treats they have. A hidden gem.
Why go? To eat home style bakes in a hidden gem
35 Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JA, www.fortitudebakehouse.com
Why go? For Michelin star bread and pastries.
St John’s is the sister bakery of the Michelin star restaurant of the same name. You can usually find their famous doughnuts sat on the counter at one of their restaurants but now lucky for us they have opened up a bakery in Covent Garden. Their doughnuts are great but their eccles cakes are a delicious nod to a British classic. A very classy bakery.
3, Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP, stjohnrestaurant.com
Balthazar Boulangerie is the sister bakery to the uber-posh French Brasserie that lives next-door of the same name. You go to Balthazar for French bakes including fresh baguettes, tarte au pommes and macaroons. They also supply the bread to the restaurant next door which is served hot as you come to the table. Just a 1-minute walk from the centre of Covent Garden. Gets very busy. Primarily takeaway.
Why go? For a French experience
4-6 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ, www.balthazarlondon.com
Kova Patisserie is a small cafe specialising in Japanese pattiserie and mostly known for their mille crepe cakes made multiple layers of French crepes and light cream. Get one of those and wash it down with a matcha tea for a full Japanese experience. They are set just off the beaten track of Soho and are a bit of a hidden gem.
Why go? If you love matcha
Unit 5 12, 9 St Anne’s Ct, Soho, London W1F 0BB, www.kovapatisserie.com
16. Soderberg, Soho
Swedish bakery Soderberg made a name for themselves in their hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland and have now migrated South to London’s Soho. They offer authentically Swedish food including open sandwiches, cakes and of course no Scandi cafe would be complete without a freshly baked cinnamon bun. Catch them out of the oven when they are warm and squidgy. Communal tables upstairs with a basement space downstairs.
Why go? To catch up with friends over a coffee and bun.
36 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8RR, www.soderberg.uk
Why go? For the famous doughnuts
Bread Ahead made a name for themselves in Borough Market with people travelling all over for their photogenic doughnuts. They have grown so much in popularity that they have now opened up a second spot in Central London so we can get our hands on their buns, brownies and famous doughnuts without having to fight the crowds of Borough Market. Plenty of seating inside the cafe.
Borough Market, Cathedral St, London SE1 9DE, www.breadahead.com
Cafe de Nata specialise in one thing and one thing only – authentic Portuguese custard tarts (or Pastéis de Nata if you want the real name!) Hundreds of these gorgeous little tarts are made baked by hand every single day in each of their bakeries and if you’re lucky enough you might catch one coming straight from the oven. Takeaway mostly but there are 2 seats in the window if you can grab one.
25 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 5JN, http://www.cafedenata.com