Beak Street’s Branch of the bakery mini chain is the first one that’s a proper café: the kind you pop into for a midday reprieve. It’s a place of Parisian marble countertops, wooden bistro chairs and robin-egg-blue walls. It also has an impressive spread of the kind of things you smell before you see: cinnamon buns, spinach and cheese quiche, stacks of pain au chocolat. Of course, there’s also the famed bread (though in far smaller quantities than at other locations), plus the signature doughnuts, in a holy trinity of flavours: classic vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel.
The menu is the all-day sort, full of international breakfast faves (Greek yoghurt with granola and compote, croque monsieur, French toast with maple bacon), but the sugar-dusted amaretti biscuits are a highlight. The size of golf balls, these had a giving, delicate crust that dissolved immediately and a soft almond interior with that glorious under-baked chewiness that’s hard to achieve without tasting less than cooked. Too bad the slightly soggy (and slightly boring) avocado toast – a whipped spread on sourdough sprinkled with a few pomegranate seeds – didn’t deliver the same indulgence. Nevertheless, BA is a handy little spot for carb-lovers.