Monday, May 13, 2013

A Dessert to Remember

With cake shops, cafes and tea rooms at every corner, you will expect fabulous desserts easy to come by in London. Not really so. Dry cakes, soggy pies and mediocre cookies, I had to battle the whole lot before I found my favourites. Just so you don't have to kiss all these frogs on your next London trip, here are my top 5 picks from all the sweet goodies I sampled:

1. Honey Cake at L'Eto: As you walk down Soho's Wardour Street, a display of desserts will stop you in your tracks. The window belongs to L'Eto and I dare you to pass by without going in and eating something sweet. On my first visit to the cafe, I complained to the server that all cakes in London are dry. She cut me a slice of honey cake right there and promised this will be the fresh, moist cake I was looking for. Several thin layers of honey cake intercepted with light and not too sweet sour cream frosting, this cake is simple but sublime.

2. Honeycomb Icecream at Wild Honey: A friend and I walked by this Michelin star restaurant after lunch. We were still craving dessert so we asked if the crowded place could fit us in. The response was "I'd never say no to anyone looking for dessert". And some dessert it was. We both ordered individual plated desserts that took a while to arrive. So in the meantime, they brought us their honeycomb icecream on the house. Crunchy honeycomb shards at the bottom of the bowl and a couple of scoops of honey ice cream - this is an experience you don't want to miss.

3. Chocolate Gelato at Gelupo: Despite the cold weather, Londoners are big fans of icecreams, gelatos and frozen yogurts. The bestest of them all is Gelupo. It first started as a cart outside the Italian restaurant, Bocca di Lupo. Over time, Gelupo got into a cafe of its own, right opposite the sister restaurant. It now sells coffee and desserts and what not but the biggest draw is still the Italian style gelato. Blood Orange sorbet made them famous but my personal favourite is dark chocolate. It's so chocolatey it feels like eating a very soft, very cold and very good chocolate.

4. Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Salt House: This date and toffee confection is a standard at all pubs in London. After sampling more than my fair share, the one I recommend is the version with crunchy nougat at The Salt House in St. John's Woods. As as added bonus, it comes paired with a sublime brown sugar ice cream.

5. Chocolate Glory and Eton Mess at Bob Bob Ricard: This Russian restaurant has tons of old world charm and plenty of eccentric touches. Once you are past that and done with the excellent food, there come the desserts. Chocolate glory shows up as a golden ball on your plate. Once the server pours hot fudge sauce on the globe, the chocolate shell melts away and you are left with a plate of chocolate mousse, brownie bits and passion fruit jelly. And there is nothing messy whatsoever about the Eton Mess. It is all packed in a tidy meringue globe that will impress you with how restrained it is in its sweetness. You have to break this crunchy shell to get to berries, marshmallows and sorbet hidden within. Both desserts are quite small but will leave you impressed.

And as a bonus, let me also tell you about the best scone in London. Sold everywhere around tea time, the scone is a British institution. And it's only fitting that the best scone can be found next to timeless art at the cafe inside the iconic National Gallery at Traflagar Square. The fruit scones are warm and studded with raisins, perfect with clotted cream and a great strawberry jam. 

2 comments:

Swati Sapna said...

I wish I had this kind of a list when I went to London 5yrs ago! I spent days looking for the perfect scones with clotted cream and returned disappointed :( Your list makes me want to plan a trip to London again!

Betsy Begor Perkins said...

Oh, yum! I do so hope to get back to London at some point! Thank you for this lovely tribute to sugar, Simmi! Love reading about your food adventures. Love, B