British cuisine is controversial, but there are some things that the British (excluding the immigrants) have a sleight of hand at, such as cheeses, beef, everything related to alcohol (beers and excellent ciders) - and desserts.
The British love sweetness, and a lot of it. In contrast to the glorious French patisserie world, for the British, the desserts tend to be simple for the most part and even with the name choices like the marketing genius who thought of 'Bread Pudding'. Some names are just out right plain and amusing like 'Spotted dick' or 'Fruit fool'.
London is flooded with lots of tempting desserts that are worth getting to know, and I don’t mean the Waitrose's millionaire shortbread that I never forget to recommend to all my tourists and followers.
So, here are five particularly tasty British desserts that you must try on your next visit to the Kingdom capital, or learn to make yourself (with the help of the videos I have attached here)
Under each dessert you will find some recommended places that they can be eaten at in London. But, of course, with covid still on the loose, make sure to double check that the restaurant is still in business before jumping onto your train.
1. Banoffee Pie
An extremely addictive dessert invented in the 1970s at a restaurant called The Hungry Monk in Sussex, south of London. It has a buttery biscuit layer, topped with thickened caramel, banana slices and lots of whipped cream.
It's as yummy as it sounds, and sometimes gets topped off with chocolate chips. I also have a personal connection to this dessert as I insisted it was served at our wedding. Needless to say the guests who had never tried it before reached cloud 9 at their first bite.
Recommended places in London to try Banoffee Pie (Use Google Maps to locate them):
The Islington Townhouse
2. Eton Mess
The personal favourite of Prince William and Boris Johnson. This dessert, invented at Eaton Boarding School, west of London, in the 1930s, includes a mix of whipped cream, meringue, strawberries and/or berries. How simple, how addictive.
According to urban legend, the name "Blagon Eaton" was given to him by the cook at the boarding school he attended. (Coincidentally being the same school Boris and the Prince studied at, and from where they know of him). He got this name after accidentally dropping and destroying a Pavlova-style dessert and decided to messily improvise by putting everything together and topping it off with extra whipped cream.
The result: a delightful dessert that combines freshness and corruption.
Recommended places in London to try Eton Mess (Use Google Maps to locate them):
Bob Bob Ricard
3. Sticky Toffee Pudding
This dessert is a sweet example of something you do not always realise how successful it is until you bite into it. The abrasion of the sticky toffee pudding is in it’s texture (and of course in taste) - it is a particularly moist and a soft dark dense sponge cake, whose batter has chopped dates (which contribute to the unique texture) and toffee sauce on top, and is often served with rich vanilla ice cream or custard.
The result - a soft and delicious cake, with the toffee sauce and ice cream complementing it into a decadent dessert, which also happens to be Lucy’s (my wife) and Kate Middleton's favourite dessert.
Recommended places in London to try Sticky Toffee Pudding (Use Google Maps to locate them):
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
A 300-year-old festive and tempting dessert, which includes layers upon layers of treats inside a transparent (usually glass) vessel. These are usually fruits (usually strawberries, bananas and berries), vanilla pudding, whipped cream, sponge cake and fruit jelly. Sometimes alcohol (liqueurs or port wine for example) is also added to the celebration, and Scots have their own version with whiskey or Dermboy liqueur. Across England you will also find chocolate/cream based versions of hazelnuts and various sweets, but these are not defined as a true 'triple', which must contain fruit. Across Europe, by the way, there are some similar desserts, but the source of inspiration is the English Triple.
Recommended places in London to try Trifle (Use Google Maps to locate them):
Dean Street Townhouse
5. Arctic Roll
Here's something that looks like the "Beef Wellington" of desserts. It is actually a roll of a thin sponge cake, with vanilla ice cream in it, with a layer of a little raspberry jam or strawberry separating between the cake and ice cream.
The dessert was invented by a Czech lawyer named Ernst Walden, who fled World War II from Czechoslovakia to Britain. In the 1950s he set up an ice cream factory in the city of Eastbourne in the south of England (not far from Brighton), and in the 1960s his invention became a hit, which remained popular across the UK until the 1990s, when dessert was forgotten.
In the years 2008-2009 suddenly waves of nostalgia began for this dessert, which was the return of the Arctic Roll across the UK and in different variations. For example; with fresh fruit or chocolate-based versions, peanut butter, different ice cream flavours and more. I recommend that you find quality ice cream, or make the ice cream yourself (just please please do not use ice cream with vegetable oil).
Recommended places in London to try Arctic Roll (It is not always easy to get your hands on this dessert, you have been warned in advance):
Butler's at the Chesterfield
Parlour (Kensal Green)
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