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One of London’s Destination Bakeries Thinks Staying Local Is the Future

Opening in Chiswick, Bread Ahead’s plans to open residential sites are set to be adopted across the city

Chocolate, caramel and vanilla doughnuts at Bread Ahead, one of London’s best bakeries Bread Ahead [Official Photo]

Bread Ahead, which remains one of London’s destination bakeries in Borough Market for its doughnuts — if not one of the city’s best — will open in Chiswick on 24 July as part of a strategy that could define the next few years. Businesses that would have looked to expand centrally before the novel coronavirus pandemic looking to London’s neighbourhoods, whose long-knotted community ties have grown stronger through lockdown with the centre of London a ghost town.

The new bakery at 316 Chiswick High Road is described as “Borough on your doorstep” — reflecting the desire to move something usually treated as a trip into a regular rotation. Borough Market, of course, is also a local market while it’s a destination one. Bread Ahead’s typical line up of loaves, focaccia layered with bursting tomatoes or sticky red onions, and sweet pastries will be on the menu, lining up as a takeaway-only offering just like fellow new arrival Fortitude Bakehouse, which has added a spot on Turnham Green Terrace to its Bloomsbury hub. Bread Ahead already has sites in Soho, Pavilion Road, in Chelsea, and Wembley, but the first is closed, the second is part of an established “travel-worthy” food community, and the third is a large bakery school and sit-down affair.

As Bread Ahead makes its move, Nuno Mendes is preparing to launch a menu at his local Hackney pub, The Scolt Head, while Japanese udon specialists Koya are looking at a third residential site. Buoyed by the models that have taken loyal customer bases and fed them what they need, whether suya on Old Kent Road, fresh pasta in Cambridge Heath, or Malaysian economy rice in Holloway, the way in which many people see London has changed, and will continue to change as the pandemic evolves. As London embraces outdoor dining for the summer, looking outside the city itself may become a priority for significantly longer.