The quintessential British teatime treat is due a comeback and thanks to the utterly miserable weather of the last few weeks, we’re definitely ready for it. Hot, steaming mounds of fluffiness, whether yours are topped with jam, marmite, cheese or just slowly melting butter, the soothing power of the humble crumpet cannot be underestimated. The bad news is that they’re anything but simple to make yourself; we take our hat off to anyone who can get bubbles in theirs to rival Mr Warburton’s. Nothing beats homemade though, and we’ve managed to track down a few choice London hotspots to indulge in a nice bit of crumpet (surprisingly, no easy feat).
Good and Proper Tea
If you try just one of these, then make it this. Founder Emilie Holmes has crowdsurfed her way to this lovely little tea bar on a new Old Street walkway in order to serve an array of 25 incredible single origin teas to the public. Each tea is brewed specially to suit its characteristics and the Taiwanese Bao Zhong we tried was a revelation. It would be rude not to pick up one of her homemade square sourdough crumpets in the process, particularly when topped with homemade lime curd or chilli onion jam and cheddar. They’re light, yet filling and just the ticket on a dreary London morning. And guess what, there’s even a vegan option which was possibly even nicer than the original.
The Bower, 211 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Ask for Janice
If you’re breakfasting in Farringdon, get yourself down to quirky little café Ask For Janice. They say their famous crumpets took months to perfect and now they’ve got it down they make them fresh every day. The big, fluffy pillows of crumpety fun are sliced in half and topped with butter and salt, but that’s all they're willing to give away recipe-wise. Each delicious crumpet is slathered in whichever topping your heart desires — apparently marmite is popular. Once there was an actual auction for the last few left on the counter, so get a wriggle on for a piece of the action. If all else fails, get the pancakes with mushrooms and cobnuts which are also super.
Ask for Janice, 50-52 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ
Feeling fancy? Head into the West End for one of the most beautiful dining rooms in town; the incredible ornate interior of the London Edition is enough to get anyone’s day off to a good start. The Berners Tavern restaurant within serves up solidly spectacular food c/o decorated chef du jour Jason Atherton and their breakfast offering is no different. In a world where so many restaurants (however fancy) buy their crumpets in, the team here make theirs fresh daily and they’re a sight to behold. Crunchy on the outside, deliciously soft on the inside and served with lashings of proper English butter, this is the benchmark of what a crumpet should be.
Berners Tavern, 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP
Dean Street Townhouse
A fireside pew at this bustling Soho dining destination is the picture perfect spot for crumpet consumption, so we’ll excuse the fact ours were suspiciously uniform… No word from the kitchen as to their origins, but nobody can deny that these are perfectly good crumpets and a valid addition to the consistently good breakfast and afternoon tea menus at Dean Street. Choose from a range of high quality fruit preserves, or have them straight up with a Bucks Fizz — it’s one of the only places you can score one around here that early and we’re speaking from experience.
Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE
Percy & Founders
Relative newcomers Percy & Founders in Fitzrovia pride themselves on all things seasonal and British, so we weren’t surprised to see our old English favourites on the breakfast and weekend brunch menus. The kitchen put their hands up to not making the crumpets themselves, but as they are freshly made by master baker Derek Gibbons who has been in the craft bakery business for 50 years, we’ll let them off. They are of course, a triumph of springy, doughy, buttery goodness. Served with a variety of lovely jams.
Percy & Founders, 1 Pearson Square, W1T 3BF
Bear with us: yes, it’s a high street coffee shop chain but look, it’s the first one to ever offer crumpets and they’re really not half bad. If you’re on the hop and nothing but a toasted crumpet dripping with butter — or jam, honey, marmite — will suffice, then this will absolutely do the trick. They’re British made, use proper buttermilk and are a far superior accompaniment to your latte than a breakfast panini when you’re running around town.
Nationwide, see website for locations
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