On an April evening in 2016, Mark and I ventured out to London’s newly opened dessert restaurant at Hotel Café Royal by pastry chef Sarah Barber. It was a first for us as well as a first for London, and with the added bonus of Mark’s seriously sweet tooth we were excited to try it out. As with all good things, they come to an end, and Sarah Barber moved on to the Dorchester in 2018. Earlier this year I was walking down Regent Street and noticed that the café was once again open under a new name and it was their signature dish that piqued my interest. Enter Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adria.
It has taken us a fair amount of time to fit in a visit it must be said, but it was undoubtedly worth the wait. We were warmly welcomed and introduced to the menu of entirely sweet dishes. They vary considerably in size and price so we appreciated the guidance on how many dishes to order between us and which ones were particularly recommended (not that any of them would disappoint I’m sure). We were served by the Sommelier and followed his suggestions almost to the letter and ordered a glass each of Gaston Chiquet Brut champagne to accompany our selection.
We began with two smaller dishes from the menu, the Chocolate Cork and Golden Egg Flan – both firm staples in the Cakes & Bubbles line-up we knew we had to try. The beautiful Golden Egg arrived in an egg cup as you might expect and appeared whole until turned over to reveal a beautiful creamy flan topped with passionfruit and with a bitter, dark caramel at the bottom giving it balance. The Chocolate Cork, served atop a golden bottle-shaped tray, indeed looked just like a wine bottle cork with “Cakes & Bubbles” imprinted into the delicate coffee steamed sponge. Inside was a light chocolate mousse, hazelnut praline and crunchy fuilletine, small shards of crispy sweetened crêpe.
Next to arrive at our table was a seemingly simple American-style pancake topped with a knob of maple syrup butter and a side of blueberry compote. The illusion was soon shattered – quite literally – when we cracked through the crisp outer layer to reveal a fluffy yoghurt foam filling. This was no ordinary pancake. The flavours would have you believe it almost was, but the textures told a different story. It was absolutely delicious and great fun to eat.
The finale, and the dish I was most excited and intrigued to try, was The Cheesecake, by far the most famous signature dish of Cakes & Bubbles. The centre is a cheesecake made with brie-like Baron Bigod cheese encased in a hazelnut and white chocolate “rind” with the effect of a cheese that has been wrapped in cloth. The Baron Bigod flavour was unmistakable and cheesy, but perfectly complemented by the sweet, nutty outer chocolate layer and the shortbread biscuits served alongside. With The Cheesecake we had a glass each of 30 year-old Palo Cortado “Apostoles” sherry from Gonzalez Byass which was dry enough to complement a dessert, but with enough sweetness to complement the savoury Baron Bigod.
This was an unbeatable dessert dining experience in London and I loved the varied tastes and textures with every dish, and the service was second to none. I can’t wait to come back and try some of the other dishes and to get another taste of that brilliantly brain-teasing cheesecake. Cakes & Bubbles even do dishes to take away and believe it or not you can order a number of desserts and champagnes on Deliveroo! Whilst the convenience is certainly a plus, I don’t think anything beats dining in the restaurant itself and I will be making my way back in the future without a doubt.
You can book a table at Cakes & Bubbles here: https://www.cakesandbubbles.co.uk/