From ice cream surrounded by clouds of pink candy floss to height-defying vegan freakshakes, cross-breed croissant-doughnuts and waffled filled concoctions, London’s dessert shops are keeping us on a constant sugar high.
That plain vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake from your childhood just won’t do. These days, dessert shops around London are creating inventive, eye-catching, mouth-watering masterpieces.
Gone are your average milkshakes; in their place has risen the freakshake, a milkshake that is piled with anything: ice cream, Oreos, brownies, pretzels - even pancakes.
The humble croissant wasn’t safe either and was skillfully cross-breed with a doughnut to create their love child, a cronut.
Bubblewrap, an interesting take on a waffle, is filled with ice cream and covered in whatever topping you desire and rules in Chinatown.
With so many dessert shops popping up around London it can be confusing knowing which ones to try. So, I’ve put together a list of the best ones for you to try.
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Miki’s Paradise is a milkshake and juice bar owned by a Mediterranean couple.
With its relaxed and welcoming vibe, Miki’s Paradise is bringing the Mediterranean sunshine to London via their deliciously wicked freakshakes.
The owners, whose inspiration was to be more creative and upgrade the average milkshake into the freakshake of your childhood dreams, makes all the toppings for the shakes in-house.
On some weekends, you can also enjoy live music and boozy shakes.
I would recommend the Naughty Naughty Freakshake on your first visit - trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 221 Holloway Road
London, United Kingdom N7 8HG
Opening Time: Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday - Saturday: 9:00 am - 7:30 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am -7:30 pm
Another freakshake experience, but this is for the health conscious vegan’s amongst us.
I had the opportunity to meet the two London besties, Cait & Soph, who own Cupcakes and Shhht, at an event where I sampled their vegan freakshake and vegan doughnuts.
I knew I had to visit their cafe in Elephant and Castle and test out their Unicorn freakshake.
I am happy I did - their shakes are surprisingly very light and won’t have you feeling bloated.
They also serve vegan breakfast on weekends. The cafe is small but cozy and is busiest on weekends, so be an eager beaver and go early.
Address: 10, The Artworks, Elephant Rd, London SE17
Opening Time: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm.
I wanted to include some fun facts about the creators of these tasty desserts: like what inspired them to create these desserts and how do they create new flavours.
I asked the creators of Cupcake & SHHHT where do they find their inspiration behind their amazing vegan desserts. Here's what they had to say
1. How do you come up with or find inspiration for the different flavours and shakes you create? Our flavours and ideas are inspired by pics on Instagram, Pinterest, magazines and a bunch of our favourite foods from magazines, we always managed to put a C&S twist on things.
2.What was the inspiration behind starting your company? Soph and I had very little responsibilities so it was easy to quit our jobs and follow our dreams. We’d always wanted to own our own businesses, our friendship has made it an enjoyable experience. It was a very spontaneous...
Decision, and we were very young. We just wanted to do something with our lives that we were passionate about.
3. If you could only eat one dessert or thing on your menu for the rest of your life want would it be? I think we’d both agree on the facon pancakes! They’re sooooo good! The right amount of sweet and the right amount of salt! Can’t go wrong.
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Dum Dums Donutterie
It’s a doughnut…it’s a croissant…No! It’s a cronut! The cronut craze that swept New York found its way to London, originated by artisan doughnut chef Paul Hurley, who came up with the world’s first baked (not fried) handmade doughnuts, along with the famous Dum Dum cronut.
Flavours include Crême Brûlée, Boston Creme, strawberry cream and the Zebra. The Zebra contains layers of both regular and chocolate croissant dough and is filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache.
It is one of the best sellers on the menu at Dum Dums.
I found the cronuts really filling and one was enough to hold me over until dinner. So, get one to share with a friend. I also love their raspberry glazed dough.
Address: Boxpark Shoreditch Unit 31 (Croyon & Harrods)
Opening Times: Monday - Saturday: 8:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 10:pm
I asked the creators of Dum Dums Donutterie where do they find their inspiration behind the crazy cronuts. Here's what they had to say
1. How do you come up with or find inspiration for the different flavours of cronuts and doughnuts ? We get our inspiration from our amazing customers (Donutters) and sourcing only the best ingredients...that way...we create and bake something unique, delicious and what people want
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company? Paul Hurley the Founder has been in the Donut business for over 20 years...He wanted to improve the traditional deep fried donut and spent years creating and perfecting his patented baked donut...the result is Dum Dum Donutterie and many have said “Its the best donuts in the world”
3. If you could only eat one dessert or thing on your menu for the rest of your life want would it be? Too difficult to choose but if you haven’t tried our cross between a Croissant and a Donut...We call them Cro’s...We think they are amazing anytime ❤️🍩❤️
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Soft Serve Society
This is not the soft serve ice cream from Mr. Whippy or from your childhood - this is special.
Your standard ice cream is upgraded to a heavenly creation that comes on a cloud of pink candy floss called Cloud 9.
And if candy floss ice cream doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can choose from the matcha, charcoal or coconut ice cream flavours.
A Japanese toy specialist and a body-piercing aficionado founded Soft Serve Society after travelling to Asia and seeing the amazing and interesting dessert parlours there.
They brought the idea back to London, creating Soft Serve Society, a place where you can get premium soft serve ice cream with endless toppings.
Address: Boxpark Shoreditch Unit 35
Opening Time: Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am—11:00pm
Sunday: 10:00 am—10:00 pm
This egg waffle concoction first appeared in Hong Kong as a street food snack created by using broken eggs that couldn’t be sold to customers.
This quirky shaped bubble wrap waffle is now the hottest thing in Soho, with hoards of people willing to queue for 30 minutes or more to get their hands on one.
Choosing between an original or chocolate base, you then pick your fillings from strawberries, nuts, Oreos, avocados and eggs (for a healthy choice).
You can then have your bubble wrap drizzled with various toppings, like salted caramel, Nutella, condensed milk, peanut butter or chocolate.
Address: 24 Wardour Street
Opening Times: Monday - Sunday: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Chin Chin Labs
Chin Chin Labs sleighed as Europe’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop.
The soft scoop ice cream is frozen churned using clouds of liquid nitrogen, which reduces the ice crystals in the mix, resulting in silky smooth and creamy ice cream.
Along with the standard vanilla and chocolate flavours, there are weekly changing flavour combinations, such as brownie cookie sandwich and sticky toffee pudding sundae, that will keep customers on their toes.
When I first saw this nitro ice cream, I though it was all a hype and visited their Camden branch with pessimism.
But I swiftly ate my words after only one spoonful of their burnt caramel - the texture of the ice cream was so soft and with just the right amount of sweet (not sticky or sickly sweet).
You can definitely have more than one serving of Chin Chin Lab’s ice cream.
They only take cash in the Camden branch and all toppings cost an extra £0.55.
Address: Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AF
Opening Times: Monday - Sunday: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Cutter & Squidge
The newest players on the hybrid dessert scene are Cutter & Squidge in Soho.
Cutter & Squidge are the nicknames of the sisters who started out in a Kitchen in North West London.
Cutter & Squidge is known for its unique invention: Biskies. And what’s a Biskies, I hear you ask? Well, a Biskies is a cross-breed between a biscuit/cookie/cake filled with lightened buttercream, jams and caramels.
Other flavours include black forest, raspberry s’more, salted caramel s’more and salted caramel brownie, which has a soft and chewy texture.
Address: 30 Brewer St, Soho W1F 0SJ, London
Opening times: Monday to Wednesday 9:30 AM – 8 PM, Thursday 9:30 am – 9:00 pm, Friday 9:30 am – 10:00 pm, Saturday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
I asked the creators of Cutter & Squidge where do they find their inspiration behind their unique Biskies and flavours. Here's what they had to say
1. How do you come up with or find inspiration for the different flavours ? Inspirations are from desserts all over the world e.g affogatos from Italy or green tea desserts from japan and what flavours we think go really well together.
2. What was the inspiration for starting your company? We're all dessert fiends and love eating desserts and soft serve ice cream. Soft serve is everywhere in Asia and we just wanted to put a twist on it and bring it over to London.
3. If you could only eat one dessert or thing on your menu for the rest of your life want would it be? IESPRESSO YOURSELF! Good espresso and good vanilla ice cream is a bomb combo !
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This list shows the inventiveness and creativity of young Londoners, who are using their skills and energy to make amazing desserts that keep the masses on a constant sugar high.
What’s your favorite dessert shop in London?