Like your doughnuts glazed or filled? Deep-fried or baked? Giant or bonsai? At a park picnic by day or delivered to your sofa after dark? 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, dough-sheathed 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. Reopening date still TBC.
The vegan Lime and Coconut 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 their extensive range of big, decadent vegan doughnuts. Our favourites include the very simple Vanilla Bean Glaze, or the much messier Peanut Butter and Blackcurrant, topped with peanut butter glaze, blackcurrant compote and toasted nuts. Honourable mention to the Lime and Coconut, filled to the point of oozing — thought it'd be too tropically sticky, but turned out to be just the right amount of tropically sticky.
Crosstown Doughnuts, see website for locations and stockists across London.
The blackcurrant and mascarpone doughnut at Bread Ahead
Or, to be honest, any doughnut at Bread Ahead. They're good at the classics, and their regularly changing specials are flamboyant masterpieces — recently including the lemon curd doughnut, the breakfast doughnut with malted custard, raspberry and cornflakes, and the carrot cake doughnut with cream cheese and walnuts.
Bread Ahead at Borough Market — check website for other locations across London.
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The fried chicken doughnut sandwich at Bird
Free range fried chicken, kale coleslaw, and maple and bourbon BBQ sauce in a waffle-doughnut hybrid bun. Equal parts sweet, sticky, and sloppy, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and loosen your belt — this is a lot of food and should be treated with the caution it deserves. We debated including this one because arguably you forfeit your right to be called a doughnut when you have to be eaten with a knife and fork. Judges' verdict: it goes in the list, but it's not one for doughnut purists.
Bird — restaurants for dining in, takeaway, delivery in Camden, Brixton, Islington, and Canary Wharf.
The nduja 'del Piero' doughnut at From The Ashes BBQ
Roving BBQ sauce-slingers From The Ashes are doing arguably the most famous meat doughnuts in London, and probably the most excessive. They have two versions, but the del Piero — smoked pork shoulder, nduja, and chilli jam — is the one to beat. Till now they've been collection from their Hackney window hatch, or the occasional pop-up, only — but in April they're starting a regular residency at the new Campfire venue from Two Tribes in Barnsbury.
From The Ashes BBQ, Unit 19, 10 Stour Road, E3 2NT. Or from 17 April find them regularly at Campfire in Barnsbury — check website for dates.
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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