You might say that Violet is a backstreet Dalston establishment famous for making cakes. Now it’s had royal approval. In 2018, Californian owner Claire Ptak was asked to make the cake for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle. But guess what: it also serves delicious brunches and a heap of other non-cakey delights.
Halva tahini brownies were the star. Moist, rich and chocolatey, they had swirls of sesame tahini with a distinctly nutty flavour, but the cinnamon buns were also excellent. Dense and bready, their nicely savoury flavour was offset by a dusting of sugar.
In the absence of the famous cakes (which are only available in the afternoon), I tried all the mini cupcakes. They all had the same dense vanilla sponge base, but were made unique by their seasonal icing. The nicely sharp lemon was by far the best, followed closely by the delicate strawberry, then vanilla (with tiny specks showing they’d used bean, not essence). Only the mango – which was sweet but bland – disappointed.
The brunch menu (muesli, toasties, salads) is made thanks to a variety of local suppliers, and the ingredients in my salty ham and buffalo mozzarella toastie shone: especially the very fresh sourdough from E5 Bakehouse and creamy cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy. The Picklery (from Dalston Lane’s Little Duck) had made the kimchi on my blue cheese toastie, which was punchy but great, so I appreciated that you could get it (along with all the other toasties) in a half portion.
Upstairs, this tiny bakery is set up like a 1960s living room – with yellow curtains, a few mid-century tables and an array of the finest indie magazines you could hope for. It was all very cute. I will be back, for brunch, yes, but especially for that brownie.