It’s Fat Thursday. But don’t worry, we’re not going to start banging on about obesity. Quite the opposite, in fact. Fat Thursday is Poland’s equivalent to our Shrove Tuesday. The Thursday before Ash Wednesday, Poles have a doughnut blowout, traditionally making them at home to use up fat, eggs and dairy products in the house before the fasting period of lent begins the following week.
In honour of Fat Thursday, we’ve picked out five of the best doughnuts to be found around town. And we’re sure you’ll agree, this little list is enough to make any day a fat day.
Classic doughnuts St John
These hedonistic, fluffy balls of dough are the king of London’s doughnut scene. They are Michelin-starred, after all. Fillings include custard, salted caramel and a seasonally changing jam selection, of which rhubarb is a particular high point. You’ll only get them when they’re fresh, so you have to know where and when to go: St John restaurant in Farringdon on Thursday and Friday; St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; and from the St John bakery on Druid Street (near Maltby Street market) on Saturday mornings.
Street doughnuts You Doughnut
Run by Betsy and Jo, this stall has won hearts and pleased bellies on trips around London’s street food markets. Don’t let the fluffy lightness of these treats fool you into thinking that they’re not indulgent. Well, actually maybe do. Get them dipped in cardamom sugar and coated with salted caramel to ramp that indulgence up a level. Find them regularly at Kerb, Street Feast and Harringay markets, but it's best to check ahead.
Savoury doughnuts Duck & Waffle
This sky-high City eatery that’s open 24 hours a day is out to show us that doughnuts don’t have to be sweet to be great. The spicy ox cheek doughnut here is unctuous and juicy to the bite, with just the slightest hint of crispness to the outer layer of fluffy dough. It comes with apricot jam on the side, and is head chef Daniel Doherty’s favourite item on the menu. It may also be the only doughnut in London we’d be willing to part with a tenner for.
Mini doughnuts Riding House Cafe
This all-day brasserie a short stroll away from Oxford Street may just have the ultimate shopping pick-me-up combo: cocktails and cinnamon-dusted mini doughnut balls, served with a pot of rich chocolate sauce for dipping. The main meals here are very good too, but there’s no harm in skipping straight to the main attraction.
Hybrid doughnuts Bea’s of Bloomsbury
Bea Vo, who runs shops not just in Bloomsbury but also in St. Paul’s and Farringdon, has been selling ‘Duffins’ for years. A cross between a doughnut and a muffin, they are filled with raspberry jam, dipped in butter and coated in sugar. In case you missed the whole #duffingate saga, just make sure you don’t buy them from Starbucks.
Happy Fat Thursday!
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.