The Dusty Knuckle
The Best Bakeries in London
Bread and butter, and cake, the kinds of foods cities are built on, cities like London. The capital’s streets hum with the smell of freshly baked crumb and delicious pastry like never before, washed down with great coffee. So whether it’s a loaf of sourdough, a pretty cupcake, or a decadent chocolate babka you’re after, this list of the best bakeries in London will satisfy any craving.
Many of London’s best bakeries are to be found in the east of the city and E5 Bakehouse, housed in a series of converted railway arches, is one of the originals. Excellent sourdough and their own small-batch coffee will keep you satiated, and they even have their own stone mill on-site for those who like to keep it hyper hyper-local.
The team behind Michelin-starred Lyle’s opened this restaurant-cum-bakery in Borough Market in 2019. Since then Flor has garnered a reputation for some of the best bakes in the city. The imaginative Danish pastries filled with delicious seasonal fillings are not to be missed.
Sister to much loved North London restaurants Primeur and Westerns Laundry, Jolene in Newington Green maintains their quality. Operating as a bakery and restaurant, you may find yourself popping in for a coffee and a pastry in the morning, but being enticed back for lunch for a crowd-pleasing terrine or bowl of pasta from the blackboard.
Challenging East London’s dominance is Layla in Notting Hill, an artisan bakery by day and natural wine bar by night. Launched in lockdown, Layla pedals three types of sourdough, as well as focaccia, spicy brioche buns and Brit favourite, the sausage roll. In Nelson Fartouce, they have a baker whose previous experience includes Pophams and Ottolenghi.
Lily Jones is a cake maker extraordinaire and has been described as the 'Queen of baked goods'. As well as making dream cakes to order, Jones has a small bakery just off Columbia Road where you can get a taste of her talents, in the form of seasonal cakes and pastries, including a show-stopping brownie.
In their Instagram bio, they are “sourdough everything” so you know what to expect at Margot Bakery, a neighbourhood spot in leafy East Finchley. That offering even includes a sourdough babka, plus lots of delicious pastries to try.
Pophams’ two sites in Islington and Hackney have a nice balance of sweet and savoury when it comes to their pastry creations, from the expected pains au chocolat and almond croissants, to rosemary and sea salt twists and an excellent (if you’re a fan) Marmite, Schlossberger and spring onion swirl. Their bread is top-notch too.
St.John Bread and Wine
The name St. John is legendary and this outpost in Spitalfields won’t disappoint. A restaurant-cum-bakery-cum-wine bar, it’s got a little bit of everything, but we recommend heading there first thing in the morning for a bacon sandwich and coffee, and if you have room, one of the fantastic St. John doughnuts.
The Dusty Knuckle
Dalston’s The Dusty Knuckle (there’s a second branch in Haringey) is famous for long-fermented bread, particularly its potato sourdough which is close to taking on legendary status. It also exists as a social enterprise, helping to train young offenders, while simultaneously supplying some of London’s best restaurants.
Violet Cakes shot to fame when owner Claire Ptak, who has previously worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, was asked to create Prince Harry and Megan Markle's wedding cake. Head to this East London bakery and your tastebuds will get the royal treatment too, with plenty to excite fans of The Crown, sorry, the crumb.