- The Dish: Kardemummabulle (cardamom buns)
- The Place: Soderberg, Soho
What? If you’re looking for speciality bread and bakes, then London seems intent on supplying it. In the last year, all manner of international bakeries have opened.
The latest two? Edinburgh’s Swedish-inspired brand Soderberg is rolling out its first London site in Soho this month. The cafe will offer a sit-in brunch, takeaway breakfast and lunch, including open sandwiches and sourdough pizzas, alongside a bunch of baked goods.
There’s everything from pistachio horseshoes and cinnamon buns to seven types of cookies; banana and walnut cake; saffron buns; and cranberry, apricot and walnut scones. Of course, Swedish classics are also big: mazarins are cakes with marzipan filling and hazelnut topping, offered in flavours like lingonberry and gingerbread or pistachio; hallonbulle is a soft, cinnamon-flavoured dough filled with vanilla crème and fresh raspberries, and kladdkaka is a kind of chocolate cake.
Soderberg was founded in Edinburgh in 2007 and now has its own bakery, three cafes and three bakery shops in the city. Its Soho site will champion sustainability and use responsibility sourced ingredients, both in-store and at the supplier level. Its flour is supplied by Shipton Mill, which utilises Soil Association-approved organic farming practices and has a solar generation scheme for 20% of the energy it uses.
Meanwhile, the selling point for A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery, which will launch in February in Marylebone, will be a menu that is entirely free of refined sugar.
Dishes will inspired by the Mediterranean and California, alongside bespoke bakes from the authentic Mediterranean style on-site bakery. Gluten- and yeast-free bread will be available at the bakery, which will also be serving freshly made patisserie, Viennoiserie and speciality breads created by Sebastian Chiono, who is the head baker at The Arts Club.
Where? Soderberg has taken on the former Vital ingredient site on Berwick street, an 1,800sqft cafe.
“Berwick Street’s varied and cutting-edge shops, including the wonderful neighbouring Swedish fashion businesses, makes it the perfect setting for our first London Soderberg café,” said Asa Penman, managing director at Soderberg.
“The mix of traditional and contemporary, the attention to detail and design and the people-focused vibe align perfectly with our offer and style. We can’t wait to open our doors to Soho.”
A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery will be based on Dorset Street in Marylebone, where creeping vines and blooms will line the restaurant, with hand painted silk wallpaper and gemstone marble floors.
Why? Food Spark has already documented the trend for reinventing bread, alongside a burst of new openings with a distinctly international feel, from the Indian bakery Custard to Peruvian pastries at Andina Panaderia and Middle Eastern eats at The Lebanese Bakery and Simit Sarayi.
With the Swedish influences at Soderberg and Mediterranean-style treats at A.O.K, these two new openings fit right in.
It seems that finding comfort in carbs is going to continue too. Sister-owned bakery Cutter & Squidge is opening its second site at 23 The Royal Exchange, selling freshly baked brownies, macarons, cookies and its signature Biskies, a sandwiched dessert described as a cross between a cake and a cookie filled with cream and jam or salted caramel. The plan is to extend the click-and-collect service to customers within the local area too.
Plus, the popularity of craft carbs sees no evidence of waning. Cronut creator Dominique Ansel is also rolling out a second London bakery in Covent Garden in spring with a new menu.
This national obsession with bread is also borne out in the stats. The number of out-of-home bakery visits increased by 1% to 1.39bn during Q3 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, according to MCA data. The Bakery and Sandwich Tracker found there had been strong increases in visits seen at breakfast and dinner. Levels at lunchtime had remained stable with two-thirds of all out of home lunches involving a bakery item.
But baked goods such as pastries and snacks have contributed most to bakery’s overall growth with value up 4.5% on volumes up 2.9%, according to Kantar.
“Bread and bakery is the most consumed food item in the UK, bought by 96% of the British population and appearing in more shopping baskets than any other category,” Zoe Taphouse, category director at Kingsmill brand owner Allied Bakeries, told Food Spark’s sister site The Grocer.
Consumers are also plumping for more premium loaves. Sales of brown bread – which sells for an average of 31p per unit more than white, at £1.20 – have risen 13.3% on volumes up 14.8%, according to Kantar. It’s a figure that would make the World Health Organisation happy, as it recently backed wholegrain bread, with a review finding that is can help combat diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer.