The lowdown: super premium patisserie

By Stefan Chomka

- Last updated on GMT

The lowdown: super premium patisserie

Related tags SHIOK! Cherish Finden Pastry Pastry chef Pan Pacific Cedric Grolet Pâtisserie The Berkeley Albert Adrià

London is now awash with high-end patisserie counters practicing one-upmanship in pastry. Greggs the baker they ain’t.

I do love an eclair, but they are not exactly hard to find
We’re not talking eclairs - or not specifically - but the significantly more intricate creations that are now being sold in the new crop of super premium patisserie shops that have opened across the capital in the past few months.

Sounds sweet. Tell me more
While the likes of Crosstown Doughnuts and Lola’s Cupcakes have long been encouraging people to part with a lot more dosh than required for your average teatime snack, it has taken eat-in venues a bit longer to catch onto the fact that there’s gold in them premium pastry hills. But they’ve got the hang of it now, for sure. While by no means the very first, Albert Adria’s Cakes & Bubbles at Hotel Cafe Royal paved the way for this current crop with his bold dessert-only bar that pairs sensational sweet treats with champagne.

That’s unlike the Adrias to lead the way...
Very droll. But it’s fair to say he’s since been surpassed by a certain Cédric Grolet​ and his pastry lab at The Berkeley in London. Grolet, a famed pastry chef known for his trompe-l’oeil culinary artistry, presides over a counter restaurant where diners are treated to a menu of signature dishes - five sweet and two savoury, served with champagne, for £135 per person. While people were at first sceptical that a seven-course pastry-heavy tasting menu might not hit the spot Grolet has proved the concept works, with it winning a lot of praise.

So Grolet’s the main man. I’m off to The Berkeley
Hold your horses. There’s now a new contender to his crown in the form of acclaimed pastry chef Cherish Finden and her SHIOK! ​(pronounced shook) concept at Pan Pacific London. SHIOK!’s menu is designed to showcase the wonders of Asian patisserie to Londoners by elevating its traditional pastry offering to new heights.​ Creations on offer include a handbag-shaped dessert inspired by Finden’s mother buying her mini handbags with flavours of lemon and raspberry compote; a chocolate tea pot influenced by a Chinese tradition of drinking from the smallest teapot; and The Apple Tin made of caramel sponge, apple compote, cinnamon crumble and incomprehensibly thinly sliced apples encased in a white chocolate ‘tin’.

So many choices
That's not all. There’s also renowned pastry chef Angelo Musa who’s thrown his toque into the ring. The executive pastry chef at the celebrated Hotel Plaza Athénée has just opened a spot in Harrods where his award-winning creations are on offer. And there’s more to come. When it soon reopens its refurbished spaces, The Dorchester will be home to a new Cake & Flowers boutique that will serve signature pastries and cakes from executive pastry chef Michael Kwan, who knows his way around a Magimix having worked at The Fat Duck, Hakkasan, and Hotel Cafe Royal.

Gosh. Greggs is so last week, eh?
Watch your mouth. Everyone's favourite cut-price sausage roll slinger is opening a flagship site in Leicester Square next week proving that it can more than hold its own in the bake stakes (or should that be steak bakes?).

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