7. Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market (DSM)
DSM is as high-end a high-end department store could possibly get. Created by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, it has five floors of artfully hung, shockingly expensive clothes and accessories in ultra- cool, minimal, stripped back ‘spaces’ (as they say) plus terrifyingly stylish assistants. Yet hidden away on the top floor, is the homely-sounding Rose Bakery where very homely cakes, brownies, slices and crumbles are served to smartly dressed/shell-shocked shoppers and companions. Incongruous though it may sound, by dint of its France-meets-England-by-way-of-Japan food and style, it is in fact the perfect fit.
This is an offshoot of the legendary Rose Bakery in Paris, owned by the English Rose and her French husband, and offers the same range of baked goods (and savoury tarts and salads) that has given the bakery its formidable foodie reputation. It’s small (seats approx 24, plus a table or two on a tiny balcony) and simply done in stainless steel and pale wood, filled with light from the large corner window, and the staff are polite, friendly and very unintimidating. Plus the cakes are delicious.
At any one time there will be a choice of six or so: on this visit there were brownies, lemon polenta, fruit loaf, apricot slice, apple crumble, scones, and the trademark dinky, round, individual carrot cakes. The latter are textbook stuff with just enough but not too much cinnamon, a moist, spongy texture and a generous layer of cream cheese topping, while the apricot slice was dense, chewy and full of sweetened oats. Just as you would expect, tea is taken seriously, as is the reading material provided (cutting-edge design magazines).
Rose Bakery is a little oasis of calories and cake in a thin person’s department store, and is worth a detour if you are in the Mayfair/Piccadilly area. Unsurprisingly, though, it’s not cheap.
Dover Street Market
17-18 Dover Street
Tel: 0207 518 0680
Open: Mon to Weds 11 – 6.30, Thurs to Sat 11 – 7, Sun 12 – 5
And a slice of culture: Rose Bakery at DSM is close to the Royal Academy, Hatchard's bookshop, Fortnum & Mason, Green Park, The Ritz, St James's Church, Piccadilly (Wren, excellent programme of concerts) and the Burlington Arcade (no whistling).