Bea’s Cake Boutique launches in Marylebone
With locations in St Paul’s, Bloomsbury and Farringdon, Bea’s Cake Boutique’s newly launched Marylebone store feels like a natural next step. The shop is all light wood and steel furnishings, the sort of “Scandi cool” that has been the favourite of the well-dressed and well-fed in recent years. Behind the counter, whitewashed shelves are stacked with cellophane-wrapped goodies, bright tins of tea and fashionably styled coffee cups. The immaculately dressed staff, full of smiles, recommendations, and an apparent passion for the pastries, buzz around its cosy tables with haste. There’s a lot of style, but is there any substance?
Avocado with spiced yoghurt canapé is pleasant enough, although it would be more accurate to call it “paprika yoghurt”, as it is impossible to detect any other spice in the mixture. Nevertheless, the smokiness works well with the creamy avocado, lending it an almost meaty quality. Their salmon with cream cheese is fine, whilst the parma ham with a sticky relish offers a good contrast of textures and flavours.
All three options are served atop a slice of brioche, whose use in canapés is always a controversial, but here it makes sense. They will be served as part of a high tea, with the intention of making the switch from savoury to sweet a little smoother. It’s also very much in keeping with the style of the bakery. If you’re searching for a more traditionally English tea or bakery, this isn’t going to be the place. It’s one of the more Americanised cake and cookie shops that have become popular in the capital since the enormous success of the Hummingbird Bakery.
So it’s with eager anticipation that we tuck into the sweeter treats. A Valrhona brownie is gorgeously indulgent, the sheer quality of the chocolate used shining through with aplomb. The cafe’s crisp meringues are given only the subtlest of flavourings, ensuring their own delicate flavour isn’t overpowered by the coconut or chocolate toppings. A red velvet cupcake is certainly the highlight; it’s a moist crumb heaving under the weight of a serious blob of mascarpone cream. Too often this would be over-sweetened and monstrously rich, but here, there’s been a cautious hand with the icing sugar and it pays off, with neither cream nor cake falling into the saccharine trap.
If none of this sounds especially innovative, that’s because it isn’t. There’s none of Ottolenghi’s flair or Maitre Choux’s novelty, but that is not why you would come here. Bea’s is rather like The Ivy of bakeries, if rather less glamorous; you visit it when you want consistent quality or fancy something decidedly delicious but don’t want to risk the gamble of trying a mad patisserie-chef’s latest concoction. On front, this latest branch continues to deliver admirably.
Photos: Daniel Masters
To book a table at Bea’s Cake Boutique, 27A Devonshire St London W1G 6PN, call 0207 486 9669 or enquire here.