Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2 East London Bakeries Within A Glab : Lily Vanilli and Violet

Returned to London for the first time after 7 years, we had a chance to visit a couple of bakery joints as well. Both of them are not quite in Zone 1 but still in an acceptable distance. One of them is lovely and adorable whilst the other one is nice but overrated in my opinion. It seems that there are certain trends going on in London either for local or for tourists. So I decided to hop by places with its own personality rather than typicity. Here are the two bakeries.

The Lily Vanilli Bakery and Flour Market @ Columbia Road Flower Market

Charged Price: GBP7 per person for a piece of cake and beverage
Visited: 21 June 2015
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 7/10
Services: n.m.
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Lily Vanilli Bakery is my very first stop during the trip to UK. It is just a little bakery hidden in a courtyard on Columbia Road. The most important thing to remember when visiting this lovely bakery is it only opens on Sunday: i.e. when Columbia Road Flower Market gets busy with its visitors. Coming to Lily Vanilli can be a little tedious but it's worthwhile. If you are taking tube, the shop is approx. 15 minutes walk from Bethnal Green Station.

As mentioned, Lily Vanilli might be just a small bakery but satisfaction is not small at all. The place is kept clean and tidy with minimal but lovely decoration. There are a few tables and benches for you to sit while sipping your coffee and eating your cake. I believe it is best to visit during nice summer days when you can enjoy outdoor weather (fingers crossed for rain). It is more like a half self-service here. You choose your interested cake at the counter, where there will be choices to be chosen but the range can alter each week, order your beverage, pay your bill, and enjoy. Range of cake here is interesting and pretty too. I promise they are not those weird combination that would make you think "Uhhh....what is this?".

Lily Vanilli Bakery hidden in a courtyard

variety of freshly baked cakes on store counter

It's tiny but comfy enough inside

What I had during the visit was Elderflower & Almond Layer Cake (8/10) and Banana Choc Rye Cakes with Tonka Beans, Banana, Cacao, & Toffee Shard (7/10). I, especially, fall in love with the elderflower cake one. The texture was nice and dense whilst the frosting added sweetness to balance. The aroma was as well wonderful. Cheers for this pretty cake. On the other hand, banana choc rye cake was enjoyable too. However, its stiffness was a little too much to my liking. Each component played its role harmoniously well.

Indeed a cup of coffee or tea would be nice with these rich cakes. I had cafe latte and it was decent. Not the best but decent. Lastly, I do recommend this little place to anyone who is fond for cakes and those who are visiting Columbia Road Flower Market. It would be wonderful to have half an hour relax before strolling around and shopping your favourite flowers.

Elderflower & Almond Layer Cake (GBP4.20)

Banana Choc Rye Cakes with Tonka Beans, Banana, Cacao, & Toffee Shard (GBP4.20)

nicely together with cafe latte

The Lily Vanilli Bakery and Flour Market @ Columbia Road Flower Market
6 The Courtyard
Erza Street
London, E2 7RH
United Kingdom

Open Hours: Sunday from 08:00am - 04:00pm


Violet @ Hackney

Charged Price: GBP7 per person for a piece of cake and beverage
Visited: 1 July 2015
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 4/10
Services: n.m.
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Violet is another interesting bakery. However, it is a little further from Lily Vanilli in Hackney area. The concept of Violet is chic bakery making american style cake. You can find those classic range of pastry here: cupcakes, loaf cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, and etc. This place is kept in an even more plain style: hardly any decoration in a two storey house. Yes, it is small and there is no seat indoor. There are some seats in front of the bakery and a few more in the backyard.

Walking inside the store, you can find ranges of pastry in a window shelf on your right and on your left, you will find working space for staffs: i.e. open kitchen right there. To me, this place is enjoyable but not really kick my butt just yet. Things tend to be on the sweet side here but thanks to minimal amount of frosting that keep it alive. In term of pricing, it is expensive in my opinion, especially for a place outside centre of London.

the very local bakery but chic in Hackney

American style cake and bakery products

sliced cakes range

cupcakes of the day

For the day, we Chocolate Violet Cupcake (6/10) and Chocolate Caramel Rum Slice (6/10). Both are kind of similar for me. The chocolate violet cupcake has frosting with violet floral scent whilst chocolate caramel rum slice is topped with cream cheese frosting and is richer on the palate. The texture of both were decent with softness and moisture. To coupling with cakes, we had Iced Coffee: Salty vs. Sweet (5/10) to attack the heat of such a hot day in London. Both were brewed in the same way but one was stirred with a touch of salt and the other one was obviously sugar. They were different in contrast but were just similarly enjoyable. It was ok to drink this beverage. But GBP3.00 per small glass of coffee is just too much indeed.

If I have to choose to go back between the two places, Lily Vanilli indeed has won my heart. I would not hesitate at all to return to the place.

Chocolate Violet Cupcake (GBP2.90)

square cut view of Chocolate Violet Cupcake

Chocolate Caramel Rum Slice (GBP3.50)

Iced Coffee: Salty vs. Sweet (GBP3.00)

Violet @ Hackney
47 Wilton Way
London, E8 3ED
United Kingdom

Open Hours: Tue - Fri from 08:00am - 06:00pm, Sat from 09:30am - 06:00pm, and Sun from 09:30am - 05:00pm

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