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What: A traditional teatime treat, crumpets are spongy, cratered little savory cakes meant to be toasted and spread with butter, which drips and soaks into the many pits on its top surface. Those holes are a characteristic feature today, but it’s likely they didn’t appear until the Victorian era, when bakers added yeast and then baking powder to a pancake-like flour-egg-milk base. In any case, the buttered crumpets of today are addictively tasty, in a restaurant or from a grocery, with tea or for breakfast. They are like the actual British version of Thomas’s English muffins—these nooks and crannies are the real deal.
When: The Brunswick Centre branch is open Mon-Fri, 8am-10pm; Sat, 8am-9pm; Sun, noon-6pm
Order: We had access to a toaster—and wanted multiple crumpets on multiple days, natch—so a Warburtons-brand six-pack (95p) was the way to go. They toast up nicely: crisp on the outside and spongy inside, with plenty of holes for butter and jam soakage. Indeed, a package of these crumpets may or may not have ended up in our luggage home.
Alternatively: If you’re looking for crumpets in a restaurant setting, try Soho’s Dean Street Townhouse (69-71 Dean St., map), Market Coffee House (50-52 Brushfield St., map) in Spitalfields, or Caravan (11-13 Exmouth Market, map) in Clerkenwell, which offers “two crumpets with too much butter” (as if!) alongside excellent house-roasted coffee and a good breakfast/brunch menu.
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