London’s Best Doughnuts
Words: Sian Meades
Whether you like them with a hole in, jam squishing out of them or covered in sugar (try not to lick your lips), here are the London doughnuts running rings around the rest.
Crosstown has just opened in Piccadilly, taking their total outposts to five across London. The new branch has exclusive flavours, including strawberry and elderflower, and boysenberry and apple. The doughnuts are made with sourdough, which gives them their standout texture, and their jams and fillings are make in-house too. They offer vegan options, as well. You probably won’t just stick at one.
Crosstown. Various locations; new at 35 Piccadilly, W1J 0DW
Coffee Fox is a little café just by Highams Park train station — between Walthamstow and Woodford. If you’re not location, that’s a long way for to go for a doughnut. But these aren’t just any doughnuts, they’re made by local food writer and baker Livvy Potts. She runs television-themed supper clubs and just won the Young British Foodie award for her writing. Her doughnut flavours include malted milk, rhubarb and custard, and blackberry and bay.
Coffee Fox, 7 The Avenue, E4 9LB
The creator of the famed doughnut and croissant hybrid The Cronut®, Dominique Ansel has very strict rules (nothing makes buying cake more fun than a bunch of rules). Yes, they have trademarked their creation. You can only pre-order 10. If you arrive in person, they’ll only let you take away a limited number. Despite this, their cult status means the queues for them are snaking around the wazoo. They’re about to launch a new afternoon tea — hopefully they’re a little less strict about that.
Dominique Ansel. 17-21 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9RP
One of the oldest bakeries in London, Rinkoffs have been baking up a storm for over 100 years. and long may they continue. They swerve around the tricky copyright issue of baked goods (an unexpected but delicious minefield) with their fabulous “Cro-doughs.” We can see where they got into trouble here, but we actually prefer them to the hailed originals, especially the pistachio and salted caramel flavour. You can buy mini versions and they’re also available from Genesis – London’s most fabulous (and cheapest) cinema, which is just a great afternoon out on all levels.
Rinkoff Bakery. 222–226 Jubilee Street, E1 3BS
You might well have a bit of a thing for Chiltern Firehouse’s crab doughnuts, but an altogether more exciting savoury offering is the spicy venison and vermicelli number at Gunpowder. You could argue that it’s not really a doughnut, but pedantry is going to mean you miss out on a treat of a dish.
Gunpowder. 11 White’s Row, E1 7NF
Borough Market favourite Bread Ahead have been getting their jammy bits all over Instagram recently. It’s the honeycomb garnish and all of that oozing custard that does it and foodies with cameras flock to them. What’s more exciting is that they run a baking school, where you can take half-day workshops and learn how to make your own. Sign us up.
Bread Ahead. Borough Market, Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE
We’ve already waxed lyrical about St. John’s doughnuts in our Clerkenwell guide and it’s with good reason. The custard is incredible. Luckily, the doughnuts are so good that there’s even a special doughnut bakery dedicated to them in London Bridge. You’ll find them in a handful of choice cafés around London, too. Go for lunch and then pick up a couple (or four) to take home.
St. John. 26 St. John Street, EC1M 4AY; 72 Druid Street, SE1 2HQ (on weekends)
Duck & Waffle
With such a fabulous view, 24-7 restaurant Duck & Waffle doesn’t have to try that hard to get a line of customers waiting for a table at all hours. It does try, though. The staff here work their damn pants off to be exciting and innovative. Whether it’s with their single-ingredient cocktails or the eponymous dish itself, they keep coming up with absolute bangers. Come at midnight for the spicy ox cheek doughnut — AKA the best drunk snack you’ll ever have.
Duck & Waffle. Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
We really do like to play with our food, and the DIY doughnuts at Ben’s Canteen are fun. The mini doughnuts come with plastic syringes filled with chocolate, caramel and jam so you can fill your doughnuts yourself. Or just squeeze the caramel straight into you mouth.
Ben’s Canteen. 140 St. John’s Hill, SW11 1SL; 422 Garratt Lane, SW18 4HW