Travel Guides for Un-tourists


Biskies, Bruléed Ice Cream, and Bilogs: London’s Most-Creative Confections

by Siobhan Gunner

posted on January 16, 2019

Before the Cronut hit London and Instagram started dictating pastries, the city kept things decidedly traditional. Sticky toffee pudding and Eton mess were enough to satisfy sweet tooths, but in recent years, creativity has dramatically changed the game. While there’s a time and place for British classics (who doesn’t love afternoon tea at The Savoy?), this is our guide to the city’s most unusual treats.

Photo Courtesy: Mamasons

A destination for Filipino “dirty” ice cream (which isn’t actually dirty, but rather a term used by Filipino parents in an attempt to dissuade their kids from buying ice cream from street vendors), Mamasons marries tradition with a dose of Instagram. Besides the picture-perfect pink- and marble-heavy setting, ice creams are made with vibrantly-colored purple yam (aka ube) and activated charcoal (for a moodier look). Cold ice cream meets comfort in Mamasons’ bilog, a soft milk bun toasted in a hot press and filled with your scoop of choice.

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Ube purple yam ice cream, black coconut ice cream, bilog ice-cream filled milk bun, halo halo shake with coconut, flan and red bean over shaved ice

Photo Courtesy: cutterandsquidge

Many newcomers draw inspiration from other desserts, like crème brulée doughnuts or cookie-packed-cupcakes. Home to the biskie, Cutter & Squidge borrows elements from not one, but three different confections, combining a biscuit, cookie, and cake into one diminutive pastry. These treats are bite-sized yet enormously-flavorful; our favorite being the blueberry cheesecake biskie: layers of creamy blueberry-vanilla cheesecake sit between two soft cookies, complete with blueberry jam, and a crunchy digestive biscuit in the middle. This Soho patisserie also serves as an oasis of calm in a crazy neighborhood; take your time savoring each bite, there’s plenty of seating.

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Genie's Welcome sweet, cucumber and mint finger sandwiches, roasted pepper scones, peanut butter and jelly macarons, mushroom pie

Photo Courtesy: CHIN CHIN FB

Europe's first liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour, Chin Chin’s over-the-top desserts quickly took the city by storm. Made right in front of you in a show-stopping manner, this silky-smooth ice cream serves as the base for everything from bruléed ice cream pies encased in chocolate “crack” to sticky toffee sundaes topped with a white chocolate shard (an edible homage to London’s famous tourist attraction). Chin Chin has thought of colder days as well: beat the chill with a cup of its rich hot chocolate topped with a gigantic pillow of torched marshmallow.

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Wafer taco with avocado ice cream and yuzu cream, vegan raspberry sorbet, burnt butter caramel ice cream, The Warmie brownie sundae

Photo Courtesy: pittabun

This Greek street food destination might draw you in with meat-stuffed pitas, but desserts are the real catch here. Proving pitas are not just suitable for savory fillings, Pitta Bun packs its fluffy pockets with decadent desserts and ice cream. Take your pick of the Choco & Sour Cherries, consisting of chocolate brownie ice cream and sour cherries, or the Apple Crumble Pitta with vanilla ice cream, roasted apples, and caramel fudge sauce.

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Fish and beets bun, porky bun, spicy chicken bun, choco & sour cherry bun, Dakos Salad

Photo Courtesy: whipped_london

Whipped is the brainchild of Michelin-trained patisserie chef Alice Churchill, who left the corporate dining world of Gordon Ramsay Group to start her own venture. Inspired by London’s ever-evolving ice cream scene, she whips up cheesecake-infused soft serves bedazzled in extravagant toppings and sauces. We recommend the Kensington Princess: classic vanilla cheesecake on a crumb scone base, topped with raspberry gel, champagne meringues, and an edible gold leaf. Or, if you’d rather choose your own adventure, build your own concoction from the show-stopping sprinkle wall.

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Choco-Doodle-Doo, The Kensington Princess, The Signature, Pink 'Davina' Latte, filled donuts

Photo Courtesy: dumdumdoughnuts

While Dominique Ansel Bakery is home to the original Cronut, London is no stranger to riffs on this doughnut-croissant hybrid. Dum Dum Donutterie takes these hybrid sweets to the next level both in format and in flavor. Baked, not fried — we promise they’re delightful despite skipping the hot oil bath — this rich dough is shaped into ice cream cones (aka The Crone), giant doughnut cakes, and more-traditional individual-sized Cros. While there be sure to try Dum Dum’s most popular flavor: the Zebra Cro, made with alternating layers of classic and chocolate croissant dough, that’s filled with chocolate buttercream, and finished off with chocolate curls.

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The Zebra, almond cream and pistachio, Kroconut, The 8-inch giant donut, cronuts

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