St. John Bakery
Discarding more than half of the underwhelming leftovers from Comptoir Gourmand as I progressed down Druid Street it would not be long before I arrived at Archway 72 and with smiling faces behind piles of bread ready in wait my first of two experiences with the team of St. John would prove well deserving of accolades long received. Far more focused in scope than several of the Druid Street stalls with no more than a half dozen sweets plus a well culled collection of breads it was entirely with focus on the former that my order arose and with 9£ exchanged for four items weighing what seemed like literally 4lbs I made my way to a small park to enjoy – a wise choice considering the delicious mess soon made. Beginning first with something of a signature before trending to things more familiar it was the flaky golden shell of an Eccles Cake that first met my tooth and breaking through to a dense pocket of currants and spice I couldn’t help but smile, the flavor unlike anything found stateside though somewhat reminiscent of a fruitbread that would pair well with coffee or good cheese. Moving next to a more ‘American’ pastry offered only on Saturdays and equally well praised it was in a duo of doughnuts that I indulged and with crunchy sugar crystals overlying fluffy pockets of custard and jam I couldn’t help but reminisce of the paczki enjoyed on Fat Tuesdays past, each bite extruding filling onto my hand and the bench beneath. At this point taking a break given the day’s already substantial eating plus that yet to come it was not until a few hours later that I finally finished my sampling and although dubbed a “brownie” by the St. John team the item I actually encountered was something far more – a sort of fudge or ganache infused into a nearly-flourless chocolate base that slowly melted on the tongue.
RECOMMENDED: Eccles Cake, Saturday Doughnuts, and a Brownie as well.
TIP: Later dining at St. John Restaurant be advised that both brownies and Eccles Cake can be ordered from 11am onward at the on-site bakery but served plated with accoutrements both are offered at an upcharge and frequently sell out by the end of dinner service.