London's Best Retro Desserts

By Lydia Manch Last edited 20 months ago
London's Best Retro Desserts
Meet the trifle at Temple and Sons...

Some are sticky. Some are frozen. Some are magenta. Desserts to take you back to a simpler, more Arctic roll-filled time. 

Quo Vadis

Londonist's Helen Graves raves about the sticky toffee pudding on the menu at this W1 restaurant - read her article on London's best comfort food here - saying: 'This could be one of the best comfort food dishes in the whole of London - deep caramel flavours of sticky dates and a dense yet fluffy texture.' 

It comes with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream, and if toffee just isn't for you, they do a range of traditional desserts including the steamed orange and ginger pudding. 

26-29 Dean Street, W1D

Quo Vadis London's Best Retro Desserts
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Quo Vadis London's Best Retro Desserts
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The ice cream sandwich at this W1 restaurant is a modern twist on that oh-so-American of classics, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Instead of the bread, you'll find triangles of ice cream made from peanut butter, with the jam a compote in between. The presence of ice cream makes it even better than an actual PB and J, surely. 

Deliveroo now from Soho

61 Rupert Street, W1D

Spuntino London's Best Retro Desserts
Source londonist


The Arctic rolls at this Kensal Green restaurant come in 'classic' or cartoon-bright, edged with nu-rave yellow or Crayola-magenta sponge. For the full Parlour experience, take enough friends with you to cover the rest of the vintage-meets-trippy range of desserts. Toasted marshmallow Wagon Wheels, anybody? 

5 Regent Street, NW10

Parlour London's Best Retro Desserts
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Parlour London's Best Retro Desserts
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Flesh & Buns

For the un-American or uninitiated, s'mores are marshmallow, biscuit and chocolate, toasted over a campfire. Here the chocolate's been laced through with green tea, in deference to the menu's Japanese flavours. But the main attraction of the version at Flesh & Buns is that they come with a fire. You know, just a little tabletop fire to cook your s'mores on. That's the dream and you, roasting your little marshmallow sticks, are living it. 

Deliveroo now from Covent Garden

41 Earlham Street, WC2H

Flesh & Buns London's Best Retro Desserts
Source Flesh & Buns

Mondrian London

It's not just one retro dessert at Mondrian London, but a cakestand full of them. Cocktail bar Dandelyan does a 1970s-inspired afternoon tea, with cakes including Battenbergs, small Baked Alaskas, a rose blancmange and an Earl Grey chocolate mousse. 

20 Upper Ground, SE1

Morelli's Gelato

You can see our full article on London's best ice cream sundaes here. The Knickerbocker Glory at Morelli's is as retro as you'd hope for from an ice cream dynasty reaching back to 1907 - the Morelli family has been selling homemade gelato for more than a century, and opened their first seaside parlour in 1932.

Their sundae menu is long. but for an old-school seaside classic, you have to order the Glory. That feeling when you scrape up the last spoonful - is it the weight of tradition, or the kilo of cream, strawberries and syrup you've just devoured?

20A, The Market, The Piazza, WC2E

Morelli's Gelato London's Best Retro Desserts
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Coin Laundry

This Exmouth Market bar-restaurant is 'retro-themed' - their wording, not ours - covering 70s cocktails, 80s chicken kievs, a 90s soundtrack and extremely 21st century prices. Eradicate the bad memories of your school dinner bread and butter puddings with this version, and play vintage board games or have a SodaStream cocktail while you wait for your dessert. 

70 Exmouth Market, EC1R

Coin Laundry London's Best Retro Desserts
Source Coin Laundry

Ormer Mayfair

This Mayfair restaurant from Shaun Rankin is better known for its seafood, but it's worth cutting back on the lobster to save space for the Baked Alaska. It's more demure than the Ivy's flaming version, and more appealing, a spiky little hedgehog of a dessert. 

Ormer Mayfair, 12, Half Moon Street, W1J 7BH. Website

, W1J

Ormer Mayfair London's Best Retro Desserts
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Temple and Sons

This restaurant from Jason Atherton is inspired by a Victorian grocery shop, serving up traditional British dishes, usually with a twist. The dessert menu covers a lemon meringue ice cream cone, sticky toffee pudding, and the humbly-named 'Sweet Treats' - a dish of ornate petits-fours, each a different take on sweet shop classics. But for the most vintage nostalgia in one dish there's the trifle - with poached rhubarb and gingerbread, for that food-of-your-childhood trifecta. 

22 Old Broad Street, EC2N

Temple and Sons London's Best Retro Desserts
Source Temple and Sons
Temple and Sons London's Best Retro Desserts
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Last Updated 18 April 2017