Statistically, it rains 104 days in a year in London.
In the winter time it gets freezing; in the autumn you get plenty of foggy, wet days. Let’s just say that you can’t really plan your activities in London around the weather conditions.
However, what is great about a not-promising weather forecast is that it’s the perfect excuse for getting cozy with a cuppa in a cute bakery, accompanied by fresh pastries. After all, what can be better than escaping cold and nasty rain to a place that smells like fresh bread and coffee all day long?
East London is almost always busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in mundane tasks and daily routines. So forget about your work or studies—we guarantee that you’re going to love our recommendations for the best bakeries in East London. They’re perfect for rainy days—or any other day of the year!
1. Violet Cakes
Founded by food writer and stylist, recipe developer and consultant Claire Ptak in 2010, this small bakery doesn’t try to be the hottest Instagram spot. Here, it’s all about quality, organic ingredients—such as Madagascar vanilla pods and pure cane molasses—and baking technique.
This simple but elegant bakery serves up cakes, cupcakes, whoopie pies and biscuits, all decorated with a buttercream icing that changes seasonally. Some of the icing flavors are fresh fruit purees, melted Valrhona dark chocolate, freshly brewed espresso, homemade flower cordials or dark caramel made with sea salt. Adorned with fresh flower blooms, the cakes themselves are so pretty that you almost won’t want to eat them! They’re perfect for special occasions, but order well in advance, because the popularity of this bakery creates a lot of demand.
2. Lily Vanilli
Baker Lily Vanilli isn’t just any pastry maker—she’s also written two best-selling books, “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” and “Sweet Tooth”, and was featured in Times Magazine. Her own small bakery only opens its doors once a week on Sundays, when the usually quiet and serene streets around Columbia Road get flooded by crowds.
With minimalistic and tasteful design, including fresh, seasonal flowers on each table, white tiles covering the walls and a big, retro, light-up sign on the brick wall, this place instantly draws the guests in with its cozy vibe.
Prepare your taste buds to be properly spoiled: here you can try a seasonal menu of cakes, brownies, pastries, and fresh juices that changes weekly. Enjoy an exquisite, locally roasted coffee or a cup of tea. Stop by for a quick lunch and try out their soups and famous sausage rolls. To finish your meal, try out our favorite pastries: the classic lemon or pecan nut tarts. They also always have vegan and gluten free options available.
3. E5 Bakehouse
Walking into this baking house, you’ll instantly fall in love. Maybe it’s the gorgeous smell of fresh bread in the air, maybe it’s the open kitchen workshop where you can observe just how complicated and serious the process of breadmaking is, or maybe it’s the bright blue chairs which look so out-of-place yet pull everything together.
In this artisan bakery in East London, they mill their own flour, and make sourdough bread following the old-school technique and traditions. Not only will you find one of the best breads in London here, but also delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch options, homemade cakes, and even their own small-batch roasted coffee.
Their lunches vary from week to week, featuring such easy and quick meals as fava bean minestrone; millet salad with spiced roast eggplant and cabbage; preserved lemon, cilantro and yogurt; or everyone’s favorite traditional toasties. All ingredients are organic and locally sourced, too.
4. Luminary Bakery
We love highlighting places that are not just extremely good, but that also serve a great purpose.
Luminary Bakery is one of those places, focused on supporting women in need. They help women experiencing poverty, homelessness, violence or criminal activity by giving them job training, paid employment and a supportive community. Their motto: “everyone has value.”
But we also love this place for the food. Luminary Bakery also offers ridiculously good pastries. Try their lemon blueberry cake and scones if you want to devour balanced flavors, vivid colored presentation, and light textures.
5. The Bread Station
If you want less of a bakery and more of an experience, head out to The Bread Station. This bakery is a result of a collaboration between Michelin-starred chef Christoffer Hruskova and Danish baking master Per Brun.
Based in London Fields, The Bread Station offers a one-of-a-kind experience of Danish baking, as well as healthy and organic brunches, lunches and coffees. Their main principle is to recover the real Danish traditions of breadmaking and create organic breads on a whole new level of quality and taste. It’s so hard to find a good wholegrain sourdough nowadays, but there’s no doubt that at this place they managed to achieve it thanks to their 10 years of experience working with natural fermentation.
If you want to watch the chefs in action as they knead the dough, come and enjoy a cup of Caravan coffee accompanied with a fresh pastry, or a sandwich (made with the same bread, of course!) with a seasonal filling. The Bread Station also offers great breakfast (try their toast with a variety of spreads), which will be a great start to any day!