Sometimes, when you want to know where to get the best of the best, the greatest of the greatest, of a foodstuff, drink, or product, you need to go to the source. Ask chefs where they eat; ask bartenders where they drink; and ask bakers which bakeries they go to. Well, that’s exactly what The Times went ahead and did – asking local bakers from around the UK where they think the best bakeries are.
And in a result that will surprise none of us, London made a pretty spectacular showing, with five of the 49 best British bakeries to be found in our capital. The following five bakeries were singled out for particular praise:
Arôme Bakery, Covent Garden and Marylebone
Head here for both traditional French pastries and over-the-top flaky creations. They may serve up the classics: financiers, croissants, and tartes fine aux pommes – but other options can include fillings like Nori Jam & Tomato Confit or even chicken hotdog & cheddar cheese with Japanese BBQ sauce.
🥖 What to get: Start with the Arôme Honey Butter Toast – a thick and caramelised slice of Shokupan bread – before going adventurous and grabbing the wildest-sounding option they have.
📍 9 Mercer Street, London, WC2H 9QJ & 27 Duke Street, London W1U 1LE.
🚇 Nearest stations are Covent Garden and Bond Street.
e5 Bakehouse, Hackney
The stuff of sourdough legend, e5 Bakehouse‘s wares are so good that you’ll often find their bread on restaurant tables in and around Hackney. All of their loaves are made using a 200-year-old rye sourdough starter, which imparts a unique character to their bread. But don’t go thinking they’re a one-hit wonder! Their pastries and sweet and savoury bakes are easily on par with their bread, and their shop has slowly transformed over the years into a deli with a huge array of treats to purchase. They also have a micro bakery, cafe, and shop over in Poplar: the Poplar Bakehouse.
🥖 What to get: a loaf of the signature Hackney Wild and whichever sweet pastry catches your eye first!
📍 396 Mentmore Terrace, E8 3PH.
🚇 Nearest station is London Fields.
Happy Sky Bakery, Shepherd’s Bush
Happy Sky Bakery brings a taste of Japanese artisan baking to London, with a delightful array of baked goods from their award-winning baker. Renowned for their Shokupan Sandos, they “celebrate the true taste of bread”. When you enter you’ll be presented with a dizzying amount of choice, from Yuzu Custard Tarts to Baker’s Doughnuts, Teriyaki chicken buns, plenty of the aforementioned sandos, and much more. But fret not – you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose!
Please note: Happy Sky Bakery is currently temporarily closed for August, but will re-open on September 1.
🥖 What to get: Got a sweet tooth? Grab a Fruit Sando (the fruit will rotate seasonally). If you prefer the savoury goods, opt for the Chicken Katsu Sando.
📍 94 Askew Road, W12 9BL.
🚇 Nearest stations are Goldhawk Road and Shepherd’s Bush Market.
Pophams, multiple venues
Would you believe that Pophams’ story started with Formula 1? Founder Ollie Gold spent seven years travelling the world while catering for various Formula 1 teams and learning everything about the food in the places he visited. Pophams is now a much-loved East London (mostly) series of haunts, serving up plenty of flaky pastries inspired by the Viennoiserie baking tradition. You’ll often find something new to try thanks to their constant experimentation with flavours and fillings. In the evening, their London Fields location even transforms into an intimate pasta-slinging restaurant.
🥖 What to get: By far their most lauded offerings are the Bacon & Maple, and the Marmite, Schlossberger & Spring Onion pastry.
The Little Bread Pedlar, various locations
Another highly-regarded provider of baked goods to restaurants and the general public alike, The Little Bread Pedlar has been peddling their wares since 2010. Their mission is to always present the absolute best product they can make, constantly striving for betterment and never settling. And it shows! Their dedication to quality sees pastries taking an average of 36 hours to make, from start to finish, with absolutely zero artificially produced ingredients or additives in their food.
🥖 What to get: Any of the sandwiches on their delicious bread.
And a quick shout-out to Fortitude Bakehouse, in Bloomsbury, whose co-owner Dee Rettali, chose these bakeries. Their particular approach to baking finds them using sourdough in their cakes for a unique flavour! The extremely popular bakery can be found at 35 Colonnade, Bloomsbury, WC1N. Brace yourself for a queue, but trust us – it’s worth it!