Lifestyle writer, Mahnoor Mahmood, takes us on a tour of London’s finest donuts.
I have to admit, this article is shamelessly inspired by the recent episode of The Apprentice where the task was to design and sell ‘artisanal donuts’. Do you ever watch a show or movie and the food looks so good? Like that chocolate cake from Matilda? That was basically me. So I did what any other food-obsessed person would do, I googled donuts near me and do-nut worry, I got my fix. As someone who cares about sharing good food with the world, here are my donut recommendations, in no particular order, from my own experience as well as my bucket list.
Prepare yourselves for the donut puns.
Vicky started up Vicky’s Donuts in 2015 and has been getting bigger ever since. You’ll normally find Vicky’s at markets all over London. These days they’re set up at Kerb St. Kats. Why go, you may ask? Well, they do unique flavors such as Salted Dulce de Leche & Biscoff (dulche de leche filling with a sprinkling of sea salt, salted caramel glaze and Biscoff) and Blueberry Cheesecake (blueberry coulis, cheesecake filling and biscuit crumb). They’re also open for custom orders (think pizza and dolphin-shaped donuts) plus they do amazing vegan options! Honestly, I love Vicky’s so much that their donuts are my phone wallpaper so definitely check them out!
If you’ve been to the Central London area, you may have spotted the various Crosstown branches dotted around. They launched in 2014 as a stall on Leather Lane and now have 14 locations where you can buy these unique doughnuts. Suffice to say, they’re doing really well for themselves! They’re famous for their signature hybrid sourdough and last year, they created a vegan version too. Nowadays their store offers seasonal favorites such as Pumpkin Spice (vegan sourdough base filled with vegan pumpkin spice custard finished with a pumpkin glaze and a cinnamon and pumpkin seed crumble) as well as staples such as the Banana Cream (banana custard encased in chocolate sourdough topped with sea salt caramel and chocolate soil) and Peanut Butter Berry (a square sourdough topped with peanut butter glaze and blackcurrant compote with a sprinkling of toasted peanuts).
Bread Ahead Bakery
If you’ve ever visited Borough Market, you may have noticed Bread Ahead’s market stall selling a variety of breads and more importantly, the most delicious jam-packed (literally) donuts. Just google ‘donuts in London’ and these guys will show up in your suggestions, having been featured in almost all of the ‘best bakery’ articles I have read. These donuts are famous and rightly so. With fillings such as chocolate custard, vanilla custard and salted caramel cream, these aren’t the most glamorous to eat but are definitely worth it. They’ve also opened up a store in Kingly Court so you won’t have to go too far from UCL to try these delicacies. And if you really do end up loving them, Bread Ahead has a Baking School where you can learn how to make these cloud-like creations yourselves.
Dum Dum Donutterie
These guys started off at Box Park Shoreditch and Box Park Croydon and have since expanded throughout London to Brighton and even Dubai! Famous for both their doughnuts and croissant doughnuts (yes, they’re basically cronuts but a certain patisserie chef has that patented), this donutterie does famous flavors such as Crème Brulee (a custard filled donut topped with a brittle caramel top) and the Zebra (layers of croissant and chocolate croissant dough filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache). Donut even get me started on their blueberry ring donut which is actually filled with blueberry cream! Rather than frying their doughnuts, Dum Dum bakes everything so eating an entire box is okay, right? Their stores are only open as long as stocks last so get there as early as you can.
You Doughnut might be the most unique place on this list because they only make bite-sized doughnuts. However, don’t underestimate them. They sell these little sugar-covered clouds of dough by the cup with toppings such as Peanut Butter Cheesecake (caramel sauce, peanut butter cheesecake mousse and pretzels) and Smores (vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and a toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two graham crackers). But the best thing they did? Doughnuts filled with cookie dough. COOKIE. DOUGH. Part of their recent Lava Bar, these doughnuts were filled with molten cookie dough and topped off with ice cream, sauce and various other treats. Honestly, this was a genius move. Unfortunately, I don’t know when the Lava Bar will be back, but until then we can all happily enjoy their doughnut sundaes at Street Feast Dinerama.
If you weren’t craving doughnuts before this, you probably are now. So as you go off to enjoy your sugary treats, I leave you with this important question: donut or doughnut?