When I go out for a walk I like to have a destination in mind – which I have to admit is usually somewhere that serves coffee and cake. My destination today was the Royal Festival Hall and the Real Food Market. However I got waylaid as I was passing by County Hall. I spotted a sign for BB Bakery. So out of nosiness rather that anything else I peeked inside. The signage had me expecting some kind of Pret a Manager or at best a Le Pain Quotidien or a Patisserie Valerie type venue. BB Bakery does after all share a building with McDonald’s. However I found that it was actually more in keeping with The Marriott Hotel which is also part of the County Hall complex. I was very surprised by its unexpected warmth and elegance, something that chain Patisseries rarely if ever manage to achieve.
To the left of the entrance is the counter area surround by tables and shelves of beautifully presented cakes and baked goods or as BB Bakery calls them Viennoiserie. I spent much longer here than I expected too, it was just so peaceful and relaxing sitting in the smart and comfortable seating area, indeed if you can ignore the rather drab walls and ceiling it does rather feel like the lounge of a good hotel. I ordered a slice of lemon and butter cream cake and a coffee from the counter. The waitress delivered it quickly and it was a pleasant change to have my coffee served in a china cup rather than a mug. The portion of cake was large, light and moist with a creamy butter filling and lemon flavouring that was strong and refreshing.
UPDATE: April 2011 – I returned for lunch. My salmon quiche was seriously good, tasty with lots of salmon and a nice balance of tomatoes, peppers and courgettes. I followed this with a small piece of heavenly strawberry roulade this place is definitely my favourite London Patisserie now.
UPDATE: BB Bakery also have a small selection of wines, including a dessert wine – see BB Bakery Wine list.
BB Pasta Bar
UPDATE: April 2013 – BB Bakery is still going strong – so nice to have somewhere central that does a decent cup of coffee. They have also now extended into another room in County Hall, opening the BB Pasta Bar, which like The Bakery is easy to miss – look out for the multi-coloured tables outside. I have not tried it yet, but will do soon. See Menu below, concept involves selecting your own pasta options – pasta, sauce, oil, cheese.
BB Crepe Stand
I have also just discovered that they have a Crepe stand on the terrace outside BB Bakery – Spoilt for choice!
Marks out of 10 for BB Bakery
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – London, UK
The Real Food Market
I then moved on to the Real Food Market, which I am pleased to hear is doing so well that it is going to be a weekly event soon, rather than a monthly one. Alas I was too full from my cake to indulge, but I have to admit the aromas from the various stands were wonderful.
There was a nice mix of ethnic food stalls, including La Fromagerie and a stall selling Ostrich meat, which I might try next time.
UPDATE : June 2011 – The weekly Real Food Market is in full swing now, even on a grey day like today it was busy, with live music adding to the atmosphere.