Like your doughnuts glazed or filled? Deep-fried or baked? Giant or bonsai? At a market by day or a darkened bar by night? London, in its sprawling, sticky wisdom, has a doughnut for every occasion.
The Oreo doughnut at Blues Kitchen Camden
They only do one doughnut at the Blues Kitchen, but you can see why they thought that was enough. If you're going to throw all your weight behind a single doughnut offering, it might as well be a hot, crunchy, sticky, dough-encased Oreo. Preceded by a rack of ribs, washed down with a bourbon julep. To a backing track of live blues. Hard to compete with for full-on Americana.
Blues Kitchen, 111, Camden High Street, NW1 7JN
DIY doughnuts at Ben's Canteen
It's like they always say: you don't see any doughnuts on restaurant dessert menus for ages, then three turn up at once. And you have to inject them with jam yourself.
Nowhere is that truer than at this Battersea diner, where you can get: three mini doughnuts, three syringes of chocolate sauce, strawberry jam and maple and vanilla custard to fill them with, and depending on your temperament, either a sense of sweet satisfaction at this hands-on grappling with your food, or a sense of frustration that this chefly job has been foisted onto you, like a mug. If it swings things in the doughnuts' favour, just know that nobody will actively intervene if you choose to syringe straight into your mouth and add the doughnut in after
Ben’s Canteen, 140, St. John's Hill, SW11 1SL
The roving doughnut at Donutround
Your classic courtship doughnut, this one. Hard to track down but as lovely as they are itinerant, quest for the Donutround stall, trike or trestle tables across town (currently Pop Brixton's a good place to start the search) and bear a box of their freshly-fried, dark chocolate-topped rings back to your loved one.
Donutround, Pop Brixton, Brixton Station Road, SW 8PQ. See website for other locations.
The peanut butter and berry doughnut at Crosstown Doughnuts
You don't actually have to cross town for these, not now they've got vans, bars and stockists all over the place. You would, though, if you had to — for somewhere among the Standards, the Mini Bites and the Seasonal Specials is the doughnut of your dreams.
They use sourdough for a denser, chewier doughnut at Crosstown, one thing which sets them apart from the doughnut masses. Another's the maverick way they have with a topping — the Peanut Butter Berry's the star of the regulars, a square slab of Americana topped with peanut butter glaze, blackcurrant compote and toasted nuts.
Crosstown Doughnuts, see website for locations and stockists across London.
The ice cream doughnut sandwich at Bird
Choose from one of Bird's two daily doughnut flavours, stuffed with ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauces and whipped cream. Like a sundae, only you can eat the vessel. Peak design efficiency.
Bird, 81, Holloway Road, N7 8LT. See website for other locations.
The crodough at Rinkoff Bakery
Sort of a cheat, this one. Doughnut upgrade or doughnut perversion? Whatever your stance on the croissant-doughnut hybrid, you've got to admire the dedication to the crodough cause at this E1 institution. They usually have 10 or more flavours on offer — all of them flamboyant, some of them highly controversial (Crème Egg Crodough, we’re looking at you), others fried, layered crowd-pleasers like the Raspberry Crodough.
Rinkoff Bakery, 224, Jubilee Street, E1 3BS
The giant, birthday doughnut at Dum Dum Donutterie
The doughnuts are baked at Dum Dum, rather than deep-fried, so the USP is that they're healthier by far than the competition. That and the fact they do a giant, £55 doughnut. The 10-incher comes in any of their standard flavours, with free personalised icing and feeds 12-15 people. The strawberries and cream giant doughnut is the giant doughnut for you. Don't let any pistachio-glazed siren or the chocolate-filled CroNutella make you think differently.
Dum Dum Donutterie, Unit 31, Box Park, 2-4, Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY