14 London puddings you must save room for

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If you’re the sort of diner who skips a starter to save space for pudding, Christmas has come early. Perfect pastry in multiple forms, rich custards, elegant ice-cream sandwiches, huge scoops of fruit pie, scorched meringue, top-secret chocolate recipes… these are our favourite sweet treats around London.

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Fried Horlicks ice-cream bun at BAO

    The steamed buns that made Taiwanese restaurant group BAO famous are, even in their regular state, so fluffy that you would expect to find candy floss in their family tree. Said fluffiness is even more satisfying under a crispy crust, achieved here because the bread is dunked in a hot fryer before being split and filled with an almost impossibly round, silky, malty scoop of Horlicks ice cream.

    Address: BAO Soho, Fitzrovia and Netil Market

    Website: baolondon.com

    Price: £5

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Baked Alaska at The Ivy

    Even in celebrity haunts is it rare that you’re genuinely excited to see the waiter setting fire to your food, and unsurprisingly The Ivy does it with admirable panache. The cherry and vanilla ice cream centre is kept chilly by its meringue coat, even after the whole thing has been drizzled with kirsch and ignited. Beautiful blue flames warm the liqueur-soaked morello cherries set around it.

    Address: The Ivy, 1-5 West Street, London WC2H 9NQ

    Telephone: +44 20 7836 4751

    Website: the-ivy.co.uk

    Price: £18 for two

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Eccles cake and Lancashire cheese at St John

    A syrup of fragrant spiced currants oozes out of this round, crisp little cake, which just begs to be cracked into. Served with a neat wedge of creamy, salty cheese, this dish is a perfect little capsule cheeseboard. The Lancastrian bake is traditionally made with lard-based pastry but the St John version uses puff for an extra-light finish (the chefs probably use up the lard supply for every other dish on the menu).

    Address: St John, 26 St John Street, Barbican, London EC1M 4AY

    Telephone: +44 20 7251 0848

    Website: stjohnrestaurant.com

    Price: £9

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    Iced berries, apple and sake sorbet, white chocolate sauce at Le Caprice

    This pudding is so simple you wouldn’t think they’d get away with it. Indeed the apple and sake sorbet is probably there largely to prove the restaurant does actually have a dessert chef. But who cares that it’s so easy to pour molten white-chocolate ganache over a layer of pert, tart little iced berries? The contrasts are so utterly delightful that you will serve it at every dinner party forever more.

    Address:Le Caprice, 20 Arlington Street, St. James’s, London SW1A 1RJ

    Telephone: +44 20 7629 2239

    Website: le-caprice.co.uk

    Price: £9

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    Darlish Baklava ice-cream sandwich at Berenjak

    File this one under edible portmanteaus that were meant to be, because a simple vanilla ice cream was, it turns out, the extra layer that baklava had always been ready for. The sticky sheets of pastry and savoury pistachios are the grown-up version of a waffle cone and come with a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts all made by Persian ice-cream pros Darlish. A luxury ice-cream sundae with the added bonus of some quite beautiful architecture.

    Address: Berenjak, 27 Romilly Street, Soho, London W1D 5AL

    Telephone: +44 20 3319 8120

    Website: berenjaklondon.com

    Price: £6

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Sticky toffee pudding at Hawksmoor

    This restaurant group may have made its name in the steak business but always plan for the dessert menu when you’re at Hawksmoor. The surprisingly light dome of date sponge is drenched in a toffee sauce that is quite clearly very bad for you. You won’t care. In fact, you’ll want to drink it. And as if that buttery, treacly flavour wasn’t enough, there’s a delicate quenelle of clotted cream to really cement the indulgent feel.

    Address: Available in all Hawksmoor restaurants.

    Website: thehawksmoor.com

    Price: £8.50

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    Deep-filled apple pie at Chicken Shop

    It doesn’t matter that your grandma’s apple pie won last year’s village bake-off; this one is better. It’s stuffed full of fruit that is soft but still chunky, sharp but definitely sweet, juicy but not wet, and encased in buttery, magically crisp shortcrust pastry. Choose a drizzle of cream or a melty scoop of vanilla to go alongside; either way you’re going to want a second serving.

    Address: Available at all Chicken Shop restaurants

    Website: chickenshop.com

    Price: £6

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Feta and honey cheesecake at Honey & Co

    Do not be alarmed by the presence of feta in this utterly wonderful version of the oft-overlooked cheesecake, a pudding that even at its most basic is a treat. Honey & Co’s creamy topping is whipped until the dairy is nearly a mousse, and the feta brings savouriness but with only a hint of actual cheese. It’s piled onto a nest of kadaif pastry – the kind that looks like vermicelli – and the whole thing is adorned with blueberries, almonds, fresh oregano and a drizzle of honey.

    Address: Honey & Co, 25 Warren Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5LZ

    Telephone: +44 20 7388 6175

    Website: honeyandco.co.uk

    Price: £8.50

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    Soft-serve ice cream from Sons + Daughters

    This coffee shop with extra-added sandwiches also has a soft-serve machine, and the flavours are as if Mr Whippy did a stage at the Fat Duck. How about focaccia-vanilla with rosemary-waffle sprinkles, or peanut butter and jelly with croissant crunch? If you’re really lucky, they chefs will have made a batch using their homemade miso milk, topped it with puffed wild rice and drizzled it with maple syrup.

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Banana chai doffle at Spice Box

    Probably London’s best proof that plant-based needn’t mean plain, Spice Box follows its menu of vegan curries and Indian street-food classics with this pudding of utter decadence. The jumbo fluffy waffles are made from dosa batter, hence doffle, and the chai- syrup-dipped bananas are warm and soft and a teeny bit caramelised at the edges. Fragrant coconut makes total sense with the other spices on your plate, as does the drizzle of melted Biscoff spread.

    Address: Spice Box, 58 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 4PG

    Telephone: +44 20 8521 0906

    Website: eatspicebox.co.uk

    Price: £12 for two

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    PBJ from Pophams

    Any baking enthusiast knows that croissants and their temperamental buttery layers reflect the absolute pinnacle of ability. The team at Pophams have become masters of challenging pastry. One weekend special in particular is worth making a pilgrimage for: a little muffin-shaped swirl of precise lamination that contains the Elvis-defeating triumvirate of peanut butter, jam and sliced banana.

    Address: Pophams, 19 Prebend Street, London N1 8PF

    Website: pophamsbakery.com

    Price: Available at weekends only – £3.80

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Mousse au chocolat from Petit Pois

    The chef at this little Hoxton bistro trained at Le Cordon Bleu, and did his best to eat as many Parisian chocolate puddings as possible before perfecting his own. He did well; even his French cheese supplier admits it’s the best mousse he has ever tasted. It’s made with dark Belgian chocolate, heaps of butter and a secret boozy ingredient. It’s also scooped onto your plate from a giant mixing bowl, which for some reason makes it feel especially indulgent.

    Address: Petit Pois, 8-9 Hoxton Square, Hackney, London N1 6NU

    Telephone: +44 20 7613 3689

    Website: petitpoisbistro.com

    Price: £5.50

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    The Incomparable lemon meringue pie at Gloria

    Everything about this OTT Italian restaurant is a statement, from the candy-striped uniforms to the bare-chested chap on the pizza boxes, but the lemon meringue pie is definitely the dish with most oomph. At 5’9 (inches, not feet, regrettably), it is instantly the talk of the table – a pudding with presence. The crisp pastry/tart curd/fluffy meringue combination makes it easy to finish despite its daunting stature.

    Address: Gloria, 54-56 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3QR

    Website: bigmammagroup.com

    Price: £6

  • 14 London puddings you must save room for

    Brown butter and honey tart at The Marksman

    So legendary is this unassuming-looking custard tart that devoted diners reserve a slice of it before they have even arrived at the restaurant, and you must make sure you do the same. The browned butter makes the smooth filling subtly nutty and the almost lasagne-sheet-thin pastry is a deep brown, adding just a touch of bitterness to the equation. A wobbly wedge of wonder.

    Address: The Marksman, 254 Hackney Road, London E2 7SJ

    Telephone: +44 20 7739 7393

    Website: marksmanpublichouse.com

    Price: £8

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