When you’re roaming central London craving a sugary hit, your options tend to be rather limited. There’s the Nutella pancake stalls and they’re ok, but you’ll be eating standing up or you can try duck into a restaurant and convince them to let you jump straight to dessert but you may get some strange looks. I’ve long since lamented this lack of dessert love in London and have learnt to work around this London failure.
But when friends came a-visiting from Australia and they wanted a break between lunch and dessert, whilst also achieving a bit of sightseeing, I was well and truly flummoxed and making noises like hmm I wonder where the nearest Mr Whippy might be, when inspiration struck – we could go to Fortnum and Masons and surely somewhere in this haven of Queen approved fine food, there’d be a corner for us to have dessert. Well, it was that and so much more.
The Parlour Restaurant is located on the first floor of the iconic department store and after a happy little time browsing and exploring the store, which is so much more than just a purveyor of fine foods, it was already time to indulge in dessert. Like all of the store, teal and golds play a large part in the decorations and everything is light, open and airy. And of course, it helps that there’s a stonking big case of ice-creams and gelatos right at the front should you choose to just grab a takeaway cone!
As soon as I see mention of a Black Forest cake on the menu, I am sold. There just aren’t enough places in
London the world that still dedicate a corner of their kitchens to this 80’s classic but it is my all time favourite and I’m never to turn down a chance to have some. The folk at F&M clearly know the value of this cake, it’s even referred to as ‘The return of a long lost friend’.
Long lost friend, this cake could be my long lost love. Not too sweet and not too cold, which is a pet hate of mine as it means they’ve just whisked it out of the fridge, this was served at optimal temperature and the glut of liquor soaked cherries sends a deliciously warming boozy hit to the back of the throat. I’m in heaven.
Husband is of course thrilled as it means he can order his own choice of ice-creams without the fear that I will ultimately end up eating half of his and so he’s only too happy to encourage my retro tastes. He opts for a simpler dessert of Vanilla and Pistachio ice cream and pronounces both perfect. I can vouch for this as I still had to help myself to a few bites.
Visiting friends have opted for the Original Dusty Road sundae to share – Coffee & Chocolate ice creams with butterscotch sauce, whipped cream and dusted with chocolate flakes with the addition of a couple of coffee macarons to add to the indulgence factor. Even with the two of them sharing, it almost broke them. But oh what a glorious sundae it really was.
Absolutely full to the brim of sugar and cream and all that is good with the world, we depart back onto Picadilly, confident we did our part in showing the tourists a fabulous part of London and more importantly, a fabulous part of London dessert. As for me, I’ll remember this the next time I really want dessert, but none of the bother of a big sit down meal.
Maybe, just maybe*, I’ll even forego my slice of Black Forest cake for a sample of their ice creams.
The Parlour Restaurant of Fortnum & Mason can be found on the first floor of this iconic department store at 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
*Highly unlikely – I’ll probably have to have both.