I had heard so much about St John’s Bakery infamous custard doughnuts and my visit was long overdue. Last Saturday I managed to drag Sam out of bed at according to him, a “god-earthly hour” and down to Maltby Street Market to get our hands on some. Luckily Sam shares my love of doughnuts so it didn’t take too much persuasion and we managed to get down there before midday as any later there’s rarely any left. St John’s doughnuts sell fast and for a good reason too!
St John’s Bakery is located across Druid Street and Maltby Street which is home to the increasingly popular food market, which if you haven’t been, you most definitely should (review to follow after I revisit). Hidden underneath one of the arches, number 72 took us a while to find, much to Sam’s dismay (the boy was hungry), and although small, the space was filled with a huge array of freshly baked breads and pastries. I had to hold back due to a dinner reservation later that evening and chose a custard doughnut whilst Sam went for a lemon curd doughnut. As we were paying I spotted some mini Eccles cakes and decided to add them to our purchase, what difference could a tiny Eccles cake make?
We walked through Maltby Street Market on the hunt for our morning coffee and settled on a visit to Comptoir Gourmand. It was the first time I had come across Comptoir Gourmand and by the look of the delicious selection of cakes displayed I will certainly be returning. We were naughty and ate our St John’s doughnuts inside but not before ordering what was to be the most delicious flat white coffee I had ever tasted. I except this was due to the fact that the coffee was made using full fat cream (I’m used to skimmed milk) rather than the particular brand of coffee but it was nice all the same.
Now, the doughnuts. St John’s custard doughnut can only be describe as a moment of heaven involving a public display of repetitive ‘Mmmms’ said out loud. The dough was unbelievably fresh and you could tell it was baked that day (Baker Justin gets up at the crack of dawn each Saturday, follow him on Twitter @Justin_Gellatly).
The outer doughnut had a slight crisp like a doughnut should and it wasn’t at all greasy like you often find with high street brands. The incredibly light creamy filling was the ultimate WOW factor. The vanilla pods were visible throughout and it tasted more like a light cream than a heavy custard which in my eyes added to the freshness. Sam’s lemon curd doughnut was equally as delicious but the sharpness of the lemon meant it was slightly more rich.
I was unable to manage my Eccles cake which had to wait until the next day where it was still incredibly fresh. The pastry was sweet and crumbly whilst the current filling was rich and fruity with a hint of spice. It is quiet a surprise that one small bakery hidden in the arches of a train track can produce the best doughnut AND the best Eccles cakes I have ever eaten. The Eccles cake comes in three sizes, great if you are a fan of this traditional northern treat.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to St John’s Bakery and the treats they had on offer, I just wish they had some form of seating where I could enjoy my purchase with a hot drink. Maltby Street Market is great for that but the majority of it is outside which isn’t ideal in this cold weather. However, I can see this hidden gem being my regular weekly hangout come summer. A big thank you to Justin for baking such wonderfully delicious goods, a trip to one of St John’s three London Restaurants is now on my hit list.
Living life, loving cake,
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