In London, the problem is never going to be lack of desserts, but finding the hours in the day to eat them all. So if you don't want your cake to taste of regret, it's important to choose your desserts well. Or let us choose them for you. Like this.
Loukoumades with Lavender Honey at Mazi
It's tough to make a dessert of little dumplings — typically comfort food for colder climes — feel light and summery. But Mazi have done it by accompanying their joyful Greek puffs of pastry with lavender honey, crushed walnuts and chocolate sorbet. Think of it like smaller, lighter doughnut. Delicious, fragrant and just the right side of naughty.
Mazi, 12-14 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, W8 7SR
Brown Butter and Honey Tart at Marksman
In an ideal world you'll visit Marksman with as many people as it takes to cover all of the desserts and get a taste of everything. But if you have to narrow it down to just one we recommend the show-stopping brown butter & honey tart, a masterclass of buttery, nutty flavour balance and arguably worth a visit all on its own.
Marksman, 254 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ
Bakewell Pudding at Scott's
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It's slick, it's sumptuous and its seafood is legendary. Scott's is a Mayfair institution — a place for nibbling caviar, oysters and octopus carpaccio in luxurious surrounds. It's certainly not your bog standard meal out, but there is a familiar friend waiting on the dessert menu. It's the melt-in-the-mouth Bakewell pudding, a eye-rollingly good blend of raspberry jam, almond and a spritz of lemon, all ensconced in flaky puff pastry. Perfection.
Scott's, 20 Mount Street, W1K 2HE
S'mores at Flesh & Buns
For the un-American or uninitiated, s'mores are marshmallow, chocolate and biscuit piles, toasted over a campfire. Here the chocolate's been laced through with almond, the marshmallows are strawberry flavoured, and the campfire? You'll get your very own tabletop fire to cook your s'mores to melting, toasted perfection. That is the dream and you, roasting your little marshmallow stacks, are living it.
Flesh & Buns, 41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX
Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Sandwich at BAO
Famous for their pillow-soft Taiwanese steamed buns, you'll often find bun-hungry punters queuing around the corner for a taste of BAO's... bao. They've even brought sweet bao to the dessert menu, crisped in the fryer and served with a generous smoosh of Horlick's ice cream between. Malty and altogether marvellous, you'll find it's more than worth the wait (or grab one to go from the Soho branch).
Bao has restaurants in Soho, Fitzrovia and Borough Market. See website for locations.
Baklava at Antepliler
Opinion is divided on the best baklava in London. Less so on the best area to head to for a taste of these Middle Eastern pastries, with their layers of filo, nuts and honey — get to Green Lanes, with its mass of Turkish cafés. We recommend Antepliler, a justifiably heaving restaurant with a patisserie attached, where you can wash down your small, sticky pastries with a gritty Turkish coffee.
Antepliler, Grand Parade, 45-46 Green Lanes, N4 1AG
Dutch Baby Pancakes at Where The Pancakes Are
This is what we like to call: a no-brainer. Where The Pancakes Are couldn't make it much clearer that they specialise in this beloved dessert, nor make it much harder for us to resist them. There's sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes, simple pancakes and loaded pancakes. But for one of London's best desserts we recommend the Dutch Baby, akin to an enormous Yorkshire pudding and loaded with stewed English apples, almonds and ice cream.
Where The Pancakes Are, Arch 35a, 85a Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0NQ
Chocolate and Pistachio Pavlova at Granger & Co.
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Quite simply, the pavlova at this Antipodean brunch favourite is a knockout. You'll find it on the dinner menu (which means missing the brunch-time ricotta and honeycomb hotcakes, if your heart can take it) and be richly rewarded with silky-soft pavlova, loaded with white chocolate, pistachio, seasonal fruits and yoghurt cream. It's sweet, it's light, it's indulgent, it's perfectly acceptable to order two.
Granger & Co, locations in Notting Hill, King's Cross, Chelsea and Clerkenwell. See website for locations.
Gelato from Gelupo
Basically anything from this Soho gelateria is going to be a strong favourite for best dessert in London when the weather's not cold. Heck, even in the winter months it's hard to resist. The line-up of flavours rotates all the time, but our pick for best regular? The ricotta and sour cherry. Eat enough and maybe it'll count as one of your five a day. Honorary shout-out goes to the blood orange sorbet: also lovely and vegan too.
Gelupo, 7 Archer Street, W1D 7AU
Based on original content by Lydia Manch. Updated by Ruth Hargreaves.