Shakespeare's city now boasts an all-cereal cafe and other eclectic enterprises.
Thanks to a group of talented British designers, bakers, and restaurateurs trying their hand at something new (and odd), London has become a hotbed for inspired invention. Where else can you find a bakery devoted to Technicolor meringues, an all-cereal cafe where visitors get a sugar high while dining in twin-sized beds, or a knick-knack-and-toy delivery service? From cake innovations to cat jewelry, whimsy is winning in the United Kingdom.
Founders Stacey O’Gorman and Alex Hoffler took a time-out from the world of cooking, catering, and food styling to start Meringue Girls, a brand-turned-bakery that’s made for the Instagram age. With baked goods in bold flavors like watermelon, gin & tonic, and lemongrass ginger, they’re upending the delicate pastry game. Don’t miss their “unicorn poo” meringues. (A disturbingly accurate moniker for the rainbow-streaked and droplet-shaped sweets.) The duo’s second cookbook, Everything Sweet, comes out in July, so until then everyone across the pond will have to enjoy their latest treats—crème brûlée crack tart, anyone?—on their color-drenched social accounts.
Lucky Dip Club
In London, among the bills and catalogues, it’s possible to get a real dose of magic in the post. Billing itself as “personalized packages filled with surprises,” Lucky Dip Box (pictured) sends out meticulously wrapped, supremely thoughtful gifts with left-of-center themes like Valley of the Unicorns, Ice Cream Parlour, and Vintage Village Fete each month. For £15 a box, recipients will receive anything from flower crowns and flamingo keychains to rain-drenched cat and dog pins (pun very much intended). That is, if they can scramble to sign up in time: boxes are announced on the first of each month at 7 a.m. and quickly sell out. The curated packages are only available for shipping within the UK, but that doesn’t mean Lucky Dip is completely inaccessible from home. Most of founder Leona Baker’s designs and hand-crafted treasures are available for individual purchase on her website.
At Cereal Killer (get it?), patrons can customize their dream bowl of the breakfast staple with more sugar and sweets than any sane parent would allow. A wall of cereal boxes displays the vast collection founders Gary and Alan Keery have relentlessly sourced from around the world, and though plenty of British and American labels are on offer, the international options—like Flips Dulce De Leche from Venezuela or Spain’s Simpsons Minis—seem well worth the 50 pence upgrade. Milks come in various dairy, nut, and flavored varieties (banana, mint, and peanut butter milks are on-menu options), and customers can complete their bowls with crispy M&M’s, chocolate hippos, or any other of the 20 toppings on offer. Can’t decide? Their cereal cocktails—like the “Bowloccino,” a mix of Coco Pops, Nesquik, espresso milk, and chocolate candy— ensure you’ll get something out of the ordinary. The shop recently opened their second location in Camden Stables, swapping chairs and stools for dine-in twin beds with, yep, vintage cartoon bedsheets. Weekday mornings have never sounded so fun.
It takes a lot to make a splash in the pastry world, and Vicky’s Donuts is gearing up for a tidal wave. Their donuts, ranging from a salted caramel-chocolate-pretzel variety to a pink icing–drenched offering aptly named the Homer, are cartoonishly perfect-looking. Even better? They create miniature versions of their entire line, which look like regular donuts, only hit by a shrink ray. (Your move, Munchkins.) The best-of-the-best flavors—like lavender donuts adorned with edible flowers or lemonade donuts served with a straw to suck out the center—are actually reserved for Lucky Dip Club’s packing parties.
I Love Crafty
Laura Hunter is an artist and designer whose medium of choice isn’t paint or pen, but acrylic. Her company, I Love Crafty, whips up imaginative jewelry that is meticulously cut from glittered, pastel, or translucent sheets of the material. Each of her creative collections offers statement-making themed pieces: glass-slipper broaches from the “Cinderella” collection, starfish earrings from “I’m Really a Mermaid,” black-cat collar tips from “Feline Fatale.” Don’t get so caught up in the sparkly bangles that you miss the “I Love My Customers” page, where a slideshow of smiling faces prove that Hunter’s business sense is no joke.