Doughnuts. A simple, sweet treat. From tiny sugary rings to loaded monster sized buns, London certainly has all bases covered.
But one legendary bakery is consistently hailed as having the ‘best’.
Now with a few spots across the city, Bread Ahead Bakery has been serving fresh bakes to Londoners since 2013.
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Founded by baker Matthew Jones, the bakery originally began with a beloved spot at Borough Market.
They now also have sites in Chelsea, Hampstead, Soho and Wembley
Bread Ahead are far from a hidden gem, their doughnuts are known to sell out daily and they’re very popular with foodies and Londoners alike.
Yet to try a treat from the bakery, I decided to satisfy today’s sweet tooth cravings by heading to their café spot round the corner from Carnaby to try the famed doughnut.
I was rather excited, as someone on Tripadvisor had named them ‘world leading’, so they had to be good.
They’re not just popular with Londoners either, many Americans on Yelp have praised them too. One reviewer said ‘I regret not bringing back a box for my flight back to the states’ and another demands: “Bread Ahead, come to California!!!”
At the beginning of lunchtime, I headed to this icon of a London business and was almost astounded to find it completely empty and still fully stocked.
As it had only been open for half an hour, I decided I was just ahead of the lunch time rush, and at least I knew I’d be getting the freshest pick.
Spotting that it was a ‘best seller’ I went with perhaps one of the classics, the vanilla custard doughnut. The other options there included: praline, sea salted caramel & honeycomb, velvet chocolate and of course, raspberry jam.
I found the price to be eye-opening at £4 but kept an open mind nonetheless.
Unsurprisingly unable to withhold myself from temptation, I just couldn’t resist but order a chocolate brownie too. I felt like they were luring me in.
Made fresh daily, Bread Ahead are also famed for their bread, hence the name, but today was all about sweet treats, no loafs here.
Clutching my doughnut and brownie with joy, I took a seat in their empty, yet rather spacious, hidden-away café and prepared myself to be blown away.
Decently sized, the cakey doughnut had the attractive sight of the custard just so perfectly popping out of the end, something I bet Mary Berry would rejoice at.
Really milking the experience, I satisfyingly tore the doughnut in half and watched as the show-offy custard oozed out seductively.
Taking a bite, the yummy vanilla flavour of the thick custard instantly won me over, my taste buds were rejoicing.
Despite the delicious nostalgic sugary coating of the doughnut, the filling wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. It was simply a proper good old custard with just the right amount of notes of vanilla whispering through.
That custard was so delicious it almost distracted me from the actual doughnut itself.
With a good, cakey, texture that wasn’t dry it was very spongey. However, I found the taste of it to be just – average. I wasn’t exactly in a heap at the floor knocked over from amazement.
Obviously, I still ate it all – I’m not crazy. It was a decent doughnut, it just didn’t meet the hype I’d been led to believe.
In my opinion £4 for the doughnut is a bit of a push, maybe £3 or even £3.50 I could accept, but this was overpriced for me. It was a good doughnut but that was it, no magic.
But let’s talk about that £3.15 brownie.
It was thick. It was fudgy. It was dense and it was delicious.
It took me straight back in time to more than seven years ago, to the specific chocolate brownies we used to fight at the counter for at high school. They were immense.
However, it was extremely rich. The kind of slab of chocolate that I’m going to have to spread out eating across the day.
Cutting through it was almost like when you get a brick of butter out of the fridge and have to wait 3-5 working days for it to soften up. It was solid.
Yet I loved it.
And this richness is when I came up with possibly my hack of the week, something I think Bread Ahead should be offering.
Making as much of a mess as I usually do when I eat, a hefty amount of custard from the doughnut had overflown onto the paper bag. Now, call me arrogant, but this is when I became a genius.
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I scooped up some of that vanilla goodness and paired it with that brownie and all I can say is wow.
That’s the thing we should be raving about, it was perfect.
Bread Ahead, let’s do a deal, get the custard on the menu with the brownie. We’ll blow people away.
Or, even better: imagine that fudgy brownie HOT with the thick vanilla custard. Right, I need it now.
If you want to try the doughnuts for yourself, Bread Ahead can be found at various spots, and this café is at 21 Beak Street, W1F 9RR.
Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, email jessic [email protected]