2 Charlotte Place, London
Three words: gluten free croissants. Beyond Bread was on the top of my London list from the day I booked my plane ticket. Beyond Bread Bakery is “a culinary pioneer who – through a range of naturally gluten free foods – inspires you on a journey to discover new, yet familiar tastes.”
The original Beyond Bread in Fitzrovia opened in 2015, a second location in Islington opened in 2016, and a third branch in Selfridges food hall in 2017; additionally, with their whole sale business booming, you can find Beyond Bread products in Whole Foods across London. When I was doing culinary research for my trip, I came across their delicious Instagram page and my mouth watered from the first photo. And then I scrolled across a photo of one of their gluten free croissants and I actually shrieked, as I have been searching for a gluten free croissant for a long time and never had any luck.
I was so excited when I walked in that I honestly thought I was going to cry. Everything looked absolutely incredible: the cakes were piled high with frosting and designs, the loaves of bread were large and crusty, and the pastries were delicate, flaky, and what dreams are made of. And that’s not all; they have a full brunch menu with open faced sandwiches, pancakes, and a full English breakfast. It took me fifteen minutes to decide on my order. I finally settled on a croissant, a grilled halloumi sandwich, and a chocolate and custard danish.
There are not words to describe the overwhelming deliciousness of that croissant. It had that light and flaky texture that is integral to a croissant and so hard to replicate with gluten free flours. It was buttery and soft and just a little crispy on the outside. I ate it plain and toasted, and I still cannot imagine a more perfect, delicious treat.
The grilled halloumi sandwich was the perfect brunch: two slices of their sourdough bread with grilled halloumi, hummus, pomegranate, two poached eggs, greens, sumac and coriander. The bread was chewy and tangy, with an excellently soft texture and made for the perfect base to the open faced sandwich. I imagine it would have been awe-inducing just toasted with some butter.
The hummus and spicy greens were flavorful and fresh, and the pomegranate gave it an unexpected yet welcome tartness. The halloumi was creamy with just a little bit of char. The eggs were poached soft and once pierced, spilled their perfectly runny yolk over the whole thing. It was a terrifically lovely meal.
The chocolate and custard danish was truly spectacular. I believe it was made of the same dough as the croissant, but it was then slathered with chocolate, custard, and chocolate chips. It was irresistibly decadent and absurdly delicious.