Lately, London has seriously leveled up its dessert menus.
Forget Victoria sponge and sticky toffee pudding. You can now find a fantastically inventive selection on offer across the British capital, all of them drawing inspiration from cuisines around the world and putting a contemporary spin on trusty classics.
TikTok is teeming with clips of fabulously decadent cakes, donuts and pastries, driving long lines outside many of the city’s sweetest spots. But which ones are actually worth the hype? We joined the queue to find out.
Korean milk donuts at Greedy Cow Bakes
While they only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the team at this female- and Bengali-owned bakery on Hackney Rd have worked out an efficient system for getting customers in and out of the tiny shop as quickly as possible. While the sign outside describing a “viral bakery” might suggest Greedy Cow Bakes is more interested in style than substance, the treats are genuinely delicious – and well worth the wait.
The East London spot sells a range of artisanal donuts and cheesecakes, but the star of the menu is the Korean milk donut (£4.50). It comes in a selection of flavors, from the fluffy whipped-cream-filled original to chopped strawberries and cream to seasonal specials like gulaab jamun, inspired by the floral Indian dessert. Note: if you’re visiting late in the afternoon, make sure to check their Instagram Stories first in case they’ve already sold out.
Triple-chocolate cake at Italian Bear Chocolate
With two outposts in the West End – at Soho and Fitzrovia – this Italian-style chocolate shop and cafe allows customers to make reservations online, meaning you can book a table and spare yourself the long lines that form outside all year round.
Inside, both branches are cozy and laid-back, making it easy to take your time indulging in all the goodies. But be warned: they are incredibly rich. It might take two of you to finish a slice of the best-selling double-layer chocolate cake (£7), particularly if you add the signature “triple chocolate” (for an extra £1.90), in which the server drapes the entire plate in melted white, milk and dark chocolate. It’s undeniably messy – but a dessert you’re guaranteed to remember.
The super-thick Italian hot chocolate is similarly abundant (from £4.50) – a perfect way to warm up and wind down after a day’s shopping and exploring the city.
Cube croissant at Le Deli Robuchon
We’ve all seen all manner of cruffins, cronuts and enormous XXL croissants on our social-media feeds, but one modern take on the timeless French pastry that is more than just Insta-bait is the cube-shaped creation from Le Deli Robuchon Piccadilly.
The all-day dining spot also serves a selection of posh deli fare – but you’ll no doubt be full up after trying Le Cube Robuchon. Available in chocolate, vanilla or pistachio flavors, with options to eat in or take out, the treat costs a hefty £6.95 – though you will certainly get your money’s worth of pastry.
The chocolate is the standout flavor, topped with a smooth chocolate glaze and crispy balls. After tearing inside the flaky pastry, you’ll find a luxurious ganache filling that is generous without being excessive.
Soufflé pancakes at Fuwa Fuwa
Soho cafe Fuwa Fuwa (which means “fluffy fluffy” in Japanese) has drawn the crowds with its signature pillowy-soft dessert, a cross between a traditional American-style pancake and a bouncy soufflé. The result is a towering pile of chubby pancakes with a very satisfying, camera-ready wobble.
The menu includes the original, topped with honeycomb butter, whipped cream and maple syrup (£7.90), along with a strawberries and Nutella-drizzle option (£8.90), or the intriguing blueberry-and-yuzu cheesecake, which cuts through the sugar with a bright acidic tang (£8.40).
You can customize your order with a scoop of ice cream, fresh fruit or sauces, and there are teas, coffees and assorted drinks with honeycomb on offer, too. Though the pancakes may look heavy, take one bite and you’ll find they’re as light and airy as biting into a warm cloud.
Ube bilog at Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
Located in bustling Chinatown, with further branches in Kentish Town and Westfield White City, London’s first Filipino ice-cream parlor is a vibrant, colorful spot that commands long lines eager to get their hands on the bilog, an ice-cream sandwich made with pandesal, the classic Filipino bread roll (£7.50).
The ube (purple yam) is a must-try: stuffed inside a toasted milk bun and dusted with icing sugar, the violet ice cream is not only photogenic but very tasty, too, with a pleasantly earthy flavor to neutralize the sweetness.
You can also get your ice cream served in a cone, “halo halo” shake or on top of an ube brownie. On weekends, Mamasons serves decadent ube-filled donuts, but arrive early – these trending treats sell out fast.