Soho House are it again. Just months after moving into Kentish town with their pizza, chicken and burger trio of restaurants, they’ve moved onto Portobello Road to reopen the Electric Cinema. Together with Chicago chef Brendan Sodikoff they’ve also opened a Diner and Donut shop all under the Electric name.
The news of the donut shop got me particularly excited because we have so few good places for donuts in London. Apart from making the trip to Maltby Street market on a Saturday morning for a St Johns custard donut, we don’t really have that many options. And with Sodikoff one of the people behind Electric Donuts I had reason to be excited. Back in Chicago he has built quite the reputation around his shop the Donut Vault. The donuts were voted best in America earlier this year by Food and Wine magazine, and there are apparently sometimes queues of up to a hour to buy them. So when I went to try them this morning I had pretty high hopes.
The shop is located in the foyer of the cinema, at the Ladbroke Grove end of Portobello Road. It feels very much like an old fashioned sweet shop with antique till on the counter and jars lining the walls. The shop opens at 8am every day and stays open as long as they still have stock. The donuts come in three varieties, the cinnamon stack and chocolate glaze are always on the menu (I think) with one flavour as a daily special. Today’s special was a pistachio glaze, and as I turned up nice and hungry I ordered one of all three flavours.
The cinnamon stack, taken straight off the Chicago menu, is actually just two donuts sold as one. While most cinnamon donuts give you the flavour in the sugar, these actually have a cinnamon dough which means the flavour is much stronger than you might normally expect to get. These were probably my favourite as the texture was perfect, not too dense and it had a great flavour.
The chocolate glaze was also pretty impressive, more of a cake donut than a yeast based one. The glaze had a great chocolate flavour and was just the right amount so it didn’t become sickly sweet.
The only disappointment was the pistachio glaze which was just a bit middle of the road. What I’d hoped would pack a great pistachio flavour (one of my favourite flavours) in the end just offered a hint. The glaze seemed really thin with the pistachio crumbs a little sparse. Looking at pictures on twitter of other people’s donuts, I think I may have just been unlucky as they all seemed to have been much more generous with the topping.
Either way Electric Donuts is a very welcome addition to London’s sweet places, and makes a nice change from just another cupcake shop! If you’re heading out West it’s well worth a visit.