The best places to grab dessert in London
Suffering from chronic dessert dependency? We can't cure you, but we can show you London's best dessert spots to get your fix
Ah the sweet tooth. The origin of that little voice in the back of our heads (not to be mistaken with the conscience) that mocks us after a day of balanced eating. You've cooked, you've loaded the dishwasher, and you're chilling on the sofa minding your own business when all of a sudden it pipes up. It wants you to grab those chocolate hobnobs from the cupboard (or the fridge, if you're weird like that), because what use are two measly biscuits to the next poor sod with a pitiful handle on their cravings?
Next thing you look up from a sugar-fuelled daze. You've had a lapse in control and eaten the first twelve. "Just finish them off and start afresh in the morning", it says. You try and pacify it with a cup of tea, your seventh of the day, but it's still there, reminding you that hobnobs are a hot brew's best friend and you crack. Of course you do. You're only human.
It's OK, though. This page is a safe space for people like you. Well, safe in that you won't be judged for your habits, but dangerous in the sense that we're about to lure you into the very depths of addiction.
If it's any consolation, the places listed here are well worth the sugar-expenditure and many of them demand that you skip dinner, lunch or whatever other sensible meal you had planned in order to arrive with maximum room for some show-stopping desserts. That'll shut it up, maybe.
Maltby Street, SE1 2HQ
As you'd hope given the overtly french name, Comptoir Gourmand offers a vast selection of delicate, beautifully presented patisserie treats for you to sample. You can find them at a variety of food markets across the depth and breadth of the city, but if you're looking for a more relaxed, sit-down experience you'll find the biggest Comptoir café in Maltby Street, home to the new weekend summer bar where you can get all the wine you need to wash down the pineapple brioche, chocolate eclair and apricot danish you've just shovelled into your bouche.
8 Broadwick Street, W1F 8HN
Basement Sate is a dessert and cocktail bar designed with indulgence in mind. At Basement State you're not only expected but actively encouraged to suspend your better judgement and quell – or, yep, sate – your thirst for booze and dessert and top them off with a side of great music. The dark, wooded interior of the basement is alluring and has all the intimate appeal you'd expect from an independent cocktail bar. The twist, of course, is the desserts – decadent, yet oozing with class and style (and chocolate, and cream).
83 Chiswick High Road, W4 2EF
No one does indulgence quite like the Americans. Whilst that's probably a good thing, an occasional taste of America in London is certainly welcome – especially when it comes in the form of sweet pies, cinnamon puffs and fresh tarts. Run by two New Yorkers who found London to be lacking in the aforementioned delights, Outsider Tart has extended its bakery into a restaurant that's open until 6pm Sunday through to Wednesday and 10pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We should say, it also offers a mouth-watering selection of savoury food and brunch dishes but it would be a crying shame to find yourself full before you've even had the chance to tuck into the brownies.
209 Marsh Road, HA5 5NE
For a more casual dessert fix – and perhaps one to replace that late-night dash to the shop for reduced cheesecake and a selection of chocolate share-bags – Indulge trumps most dessert parlours in terms of its opening hours. And yes, alright, it might mean surrendering to 'the voice', but, since you were going to anyway, you may as well go the whole hog and have a stack of waffles smothered in Belgian chocolate, vanilla ice cream and biscuit butter. Yes, that's correct. Biscuits. In butter form.
Chin Chin Ice Cream
At Chin Chin, they reckon liquid nitrogen is the key to great ice cream, and having tried it we're inclined to agree. The creators have a relaxed, unpretentious approach to life and to ice cream – hence the name and a lineup of ironically named 'classic flavours' including tonka bean, valrhona chocolate, and coffee and olive oil. Compared to the weekly specials, though – think Black Tahini Halva and vegan pandan – these are tame and there's not even a mint choc chip in sight. What they do promise, though, is to inject a little fun into your day. And what harm did a little fun-injection ever do anyone?
28 Greek Street, W1D 5DQ
Famous for their exquisite cheesecakes, this Soho patisserie has been baking in London since its founder fled from Paris in 1871. With 147 years to perfect their craft, it's safe to say Maison Bertaux have mastered the art of baking. Their creations take aesthetic appeal to the extreme, perhaps best conveyed by their delicate marzipan figs. Over the years its premises have been graced by the presence of Virginia Woolf, Karl Marx and Alexandra McQueen and Noel Fielding. A slightly mixed bunch, admittedly, but it seems they have something for just about everyone.