For one of the world’s most hectic cities, London is underrated in the hiding stakes. It’s actually remarkably easy in a place of such scale to find somewhere that’s quiet, especially if you find a medieval side-street like the one in which Bageriet has made its home. In the shoulder-to-shoulder crush of Covent Garden, it’s a welcome sight for a crowd-weary tourist or rambling baking enthusiast.
Rose Street is a near silent enclave out of sight of people not looking for it, which in any other city would count against a successful small business, regardless of it offering cinnamon buns or camera parts. Yet, this is London and it’s another place in the recent grip of a Scandinavian crush. The knock on effects for rye bread sales isn’t to be underestimated and a place like Bageriet gives people what they want. On the subject of rye bread, Bageriet’s is incredible.
Passers-by are tempted in by a heap of cinnamon buns, nestling next to a heap of blackcurrant rye breads.
It’s cute, almost a picture of quaint Victoriana from a Dickens novel and yet the window of the bakery café speaks of Swedish classic baking rather than the stodgy puddings of old England. Passers-by are tempted in by a heap of cinnamon buns, nestling next to a heap of blackcurrant rye breads topped by giant sunflower seeds, and they work their magic. The tiny café is a destination and for anyone searching for authenticity, they arrive in the right place.
Since 2013, when Daniel Karlsson and Sven-Gunnar Appelgren threw open its one, tiny door, Bageriet has offered slices of Princess Cake, Mazarins and Congress Tarts to homesick ex-pats, curious Londoners and international visitors alike. As it happens, those are the three sweets, plus the rye bread, that Dough Culture put on test during a pit stop. As well as the coffee, but to mention the coffee would, it’s sad to say, sour the memories recalled here.
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Like a summer lawn, the beaming green of the Princess Cake’s marzipan blanket is a blaring ‘go!’ signal to cake lovers. There isn’t a bakery from Sundsvall to Stockholm that doesn’t shift tons of it and Bageriet is surely no different. The day takes its toll on the one here, with a day in the cabinet making the marzipan less delicate than it could be, put it’s not a subtle creation and the sweet jam, light sponge and massive layer of cream kick the almond paste off the stage and collectively grab the mic. Is it right to put jam in a Princess Cake? Scandinavian bakers, this is your right to reply.
The Nut Congress Tart is heavy with crushed hazelnuts, pounded into a tall pastry case and topped with a sugar glaze and single toasted hazelnut.
The Mazarin is oval, which is pleasing to a stickler’s eye as the absence of mini, oval tart tins anywhere outside Malmö makes recreating them faithfully for anyone else near impossible. Shape aside the frangipane, light pastry and perfectly oval icing topping is a combination that’s stood the test of time for a reason. Its birth in 1965, as a prize-winner at the fabled, post-war Swedish national bake-off, that gave rise to the classic baking book; Swedish Cakes and Cookies, is something to be thankful for. The Nut Congress Tart is heavy with crushed hazelnuts, pounded into a tall pastry case and topped with a sugar glaze and single toasted hazelnut. It’s a robust and grown up partner to a good cup of coffee. But, we’re not talking about the coffee.
Back to that rye bread. On occasion it’s fair to say that a dense, chocolate brown rye can be a formidable opponent, seeded like a pomegranate and packed with malt, caraway and any other number of knock-out flavours. However, Bageriet couldn’t get it more right for anyone finding it a bit overwhelming, with a deft sweetness playing around with the malt and a texture that eats as well as it slices. It doesn’t fight back. Next time, the blackcurrant rye is coming home and we’ll use those sunflower seeds to improve our television signal. Yes, they’re that big.
24 Rose St, London WC2E 9EA