A staple of middle-class, urban suburbia, London Bakery chain Gail’s can be found on the corner of every zone 1-2 hot-spot. For those who are well established enough within the Gail’s community to call themselves a regular, this isn’t just a bakery, it’s a lifestyle.
Every morning, my local branch, Abbeville Road, extends its red awning and swings open its doors to a mix of families, couples and young professionals, all queuing to get a piece of this domestic bliss. On display will be platters of freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, loaves and cakes, all wafting their wholesome smells across the pretty tiled pathways of Clapham South’s residential streets.
So if you’re new to London, or just ready to step up into this exclusive Gail’s club, take a look at my top items below.
A personal favourite, this generously sized croissant is bursting with a sickly-sweet soft almond filling. The contrast between the soft centre and crispy, flaky outer is harmony in the mouth, and the crunchy almond topping is a nice finishing touch. Picking up one of these bad boys, still piping hot from the oven on a weekend morning, is happiness in a white paper bag.
Beautifully crafted, this sugar-dusted cinnamon spiral gets better with each bite closer to its squidgy centre. The soft, tear apart pastry will satisfy cinnamon lovers with its flavour intensity and the springy dough has just the right amount of bite.
Ham and Gruyere Croissant
For those without a sweet tooth, this is almond croissant’s savoury big brother. It’s big, it’s cheesey and it’s not for the faint hearted. Sink your teeth into oozing, melted Gruyere sandwiched alongside a thick cut of ham, and feel the pastry flakes melt in your mouth. There is perhaps a little too much cheese (if that’s even possible), and it’s quite hard to tackle in one sitting.
Gail’s have definitely nailed the sausage to pastry ratio with this fine specimen – a thick, juicy meat centre has hints of rosemary and peppercorn, while the light, crispy pasty lets the sausage do the talking. A sprinkle of seeds to top it all off adds a satisfying crunch. Be warned, this is quite a chunky hunk of meat, so make sure you’re hungry!
Gail’s elegant take on the classic carrot cake is nothing short of exquisite – three uniformed layers of moist sponge and rich cream cheese icing make for a more-ish, melt in the mouth experience that gets better with every bite. This delicate yet satisfying cake is the perfect balance of indulgence without being overwhelming – it’s fresh, light, and fruity with a hint of spice.