This is LONG overdue, but I am here to finally tell you all about my time at Dough Bakehouse, a family-run bakery owned by Carina Lepore, the winner of 2019's The Apprentice, and her sister.
A friend suggested that we visit the bakery which was very sweet (no pun intended) of her because she was keeping my food reviewing in mind.
I sauntered to a free table amongst the several occupied ones and soon after I was seated, it was wiped down ready to be filled with sweet and savoury delights. Every staff member that my friend and I spoke to was friendly and attentive. Thanks to my friend, we even got a chance to take a photo with the famous Carina, who was so bubbly and warm! I was ecstatic for her win (she and Scarlett were my favourites) and so to actually get to meet her was an honour.
Coconut Hot Chocolate
To start, I indulged in a deliciously smooth coconut hot chocolate drink, which was presented with a perfectly formed heart etched into the blanket of foam. For those of you who try to stay away from cow's milk, just know that alternative milks in hot chocolate is the way forward. There was no powdery ending (I hate that) and the drink didn't taste like it had been packed with sugar.
The Pastries and The Cake
Before I entered, I had no idea what I would be eating. I was quite overwhelmed when I saw what was on offer. So naturally, I couldn't just choose one thing. I had to buy three, and that was me showing restraint.
Let's start with the pastel de nata - otherwise known as the Portuguese custard tart. My, my, my. The pastry was flaky and yet slightly firm, and the filling was sweet but not saccharine. For me, my favourite element of a pastel de nata is the slightly scorched, caramelised skin of it. I love the way it clings to my teeth slightly before everything comes together. It feels kind of ... forbidden. These pastries are so small, yet so complex and they taste like skill. They look like skill. Very enjoyable.
I then followed that up with their vegan sausage roll. I actually am not sure if this was filled with a meat substitute (e.g. seitan) or if it was made using vegetables. All I know is that it didn't taste much like meat to me but that was fine, because it was delicious. The filling was very delicate and broke apart easily in my mouth. It was refreshing to eat a sausage roll that focused less on look and more on taste. I think one thing that is important to remember when it comes to curating vegan dishes, is that substitution doesn't always have to mean finding something that is exactly the same in every way or only the same visually. I think Dough House did very well with the texture, taste and appearance here. The filling looked more like minced meat to me, but sausages can be minced too, so. Again, great pastry. Very flaky and buttery, although not as firm as the pastry of the pastel de nata.
Last but not least, was the carrot cake. I didn't eat the frosting because I never do. The most important part is the cake. What a delightfully moist baked good. I missed the larger and more obvious slithers of carrot that I normally look forward to when eating carrot cake but this is an issue regarding preference as opposed to skill and quality, obviously. The cake was fantastic. When I slid my fork down it (this is the test), it was springy and gave very little resistance. Once again, a great product offered by Dough Bakehouse.
Everything cost me around ten pounds in total and was well worth it. I am never around Herne Hill but I think I may start visiting more regularly because the food at Dough Bakehouse is not only of high quality, but the variety is crazy! I don't see how a person can visit and not find one thing that they can at least tolerate.
Thanks for having me, Dough Bakehouse.
If you'd like to know more, check out Dough Bakehouse's website: https://www.doughbakehouse.co.uk