Over a year ago I predicted donuts would be the next big thing. I am well aware without appropriate proof to back this up, I may as well go around claiming I invented post-its, such is the nature bandying about wild notions but it is true.
The reason I knew donuts were due their time is because about 3 years ago, I ate a donut for breakfast 4-5 days a week. I would hop off the train from Newtown and walk pass a small bakery and pick up a caramel donut. They were bought in; not made fresh, but there was just something about those caramel donuts. The strawberry ones had a nice flavour, but the icing would always harden up. Chocolate was fine if you like the flavour of Cottees chocolate topping, but the caramel ones? The icing would always keep the donut soft, and the caramel icing just had the best flavour. I would wait to get to work to eat it, where I would down a cup of coffee with my donut.
I then moved to London and forgot about my donut obsession. For awhile. Then the craving came on, but apart from Krispy Kreme, there was nowhere to indulge. Kripsy Kreme donuts do flavour quite well, but underpinning everything is an overwhelming amount of sugar.
St John Bakery is 15 minute walk from London Bridge tube station. People say it only takes 10 minutes but I have short legs and I got lost, so 15 minutes it is. It feels like you are in the middle of nowhere in industrial land, but once you spot the distinctive pig symbol of St John and the tables of bread and baked goods, it all feels worth the walk. Special flavours are occasionally available, but jam and custard are always present. These are easily the best I’ve found so far in London, in particular, the custard which is flecked with tiny vanilla seeds.
Electric Donuts are sold out of the foyer of the Electric Cinema on Portabello Road in Notting Hill. Once you’ve dodged the tourists looking for Hugh Grants blue door and made it to the donuts, there are usually 5 or so flavours to choose from. On 2 different visits I managed to try quite a few flavours. These donuts have a good texture, and the list of flavours are always exciting. Electric Donuts also wins in terms of prettiness, but where I think they are lacking a little bit is the flavour.
First visit was the chocolate and also the coconut and pineapple. The batter for both seemed to be the same; the chocolate only being present in the icing on top and the batter plain. The coconut and pineapple had a strong presence of coconut on top, but I couldn’t taste any pineapple.
On the 2nd visit we walked away with a box of birthday cake flavour, blueberry and cookie flavour. Once again the base dough seemed to the same for all donuts; the icing on top the only distinguishing factor. Blueberry was my pick of the bunch; the crunch of nuts on top set it apart.
Another place to indulge in a location that is more central, is The Bread Man on Berwick St. Only present on weekdays, they are a food stall selling all manner of things bread-related including donuts. Custard, apple and jam are the only 3 flavours. The texture is perhaps not as soft as St John, but The Bread Man can’t be beat for convenience or price – one donut will set you back only a quid.
Flatiron is a new steak restaurant in Soho and a few days ago they tweeted about a new addition to their restaurant, a doughnut bar. Still unsure as to how it works or even what the doughnuts look like, a visit will have to be in order soon and is yet another place I can get my hands on my favourite sweet treats.
I am so happy that there are now several places to buy donuts, but there is nowhere yet that I have found to sell my dream donut. I don’t mind though – the taste-testing is the best bit!