London’s gastronomic landscape is so much more expansive than fish and chips and bangers and mash. Recently, desserts are taking over the gourmet zeitgeist, and we’ve journeyed through the city to discover the best of its sweets spots.
This past April saw the launch of Melba at the Savoy—a standout saccharine Mecca on the doorstep of the Savoy Hotel on the Strand. Created under the direction of the five-star property’s executive pastry chef Ludwig Hely, shoppers will find a range of flaky pastries both sweet and savory. Although the outpost might be new, it’s grounded in history, as the name takes its inspiration from operative soprano (and famed Savoy guest) Dame Nellie Melba. Auguste Escoffier created both Peach Melba and Melba toast for the singer; but at this outpost, we can’t pass up the signature éclairs.
Also in central London, you can feast on the rainbow that is the Meringue Girls’s counter at Selfridges (there’s also one in Harvey Nichols, in Knightsbridge). The deliciously clever Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Goman—the brand’s founders—have created visually arresting desserts (pictured), with flavors ranging from passion fruit to gin & tonic, pistachio and rose water, and lemongrass and ginger.
Parisian brand Pierre Hermé built its reputation on macarons and pastries, and only this year dipped its toe into the icy world of frozen desserts. Available at the Monmouth Street boutique in Covent Garden, the sorbet and ice cream flavors on offer are both rich and adventurous. Opt for the rose petal and orange blossom ice cream with spirals of crystallized ginger; or the lime and raspberry sorbet, created with a touch of Espelette Pepper. The decadent vanilla is anything but plain—it merges vanilla almond paste and cascades of vanilla macron pieces.
Freshly and lovingly made, Crumbs and Doilies is far more than a cupcake counter. The baked treats are explosive and imaginative—Mexican hot chocolate, cherry bakewell, Mojito, and maple and bacon, to name but a few. They hand deliver, but we recommend visiting their Soho shop for the piñata cake, with four layers of vanilla sponge that erupt with a centre of miniature Smarties.
Bridget Arsenault is the associate editor, print and digital at Vanity Fair UK. and the co-director of the Bright Young Things Film Club. She covers the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure; follow her on Twitter at @bridget_ruth.
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