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Best buns in London: cinnamon buns at Fabrique Ed Smith

15 of the Best Buns in London

From Chelsea, to bao, to morning, it’s time to bring out the big buns

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London has the best buns and, well… if you’ve got it, flaunt it. From British classics like the Chelsea bun, to Taiwanese bao and Scandi cinnamon, they’re all here. All rise for the top 15 fluffy, pillowy, stuffed and spiced buns.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Morning Bun at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery

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Every morning would be vastly improved with one of the Dusty Knuckle’s sugary, buttery buns. Irresistibly flaky croissant-like dough is rolled and topped with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. Dusty Knuckle’s bun is the best kind of pull apart the layers, sugary finger-licking affair. Get to Dalston, stat.   

Belgian Bun at Percy Ingle

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The Belgian bun at the old school bakery mini-chain Percy Ingle embodies everything a proper one should be. A thick cinnamon-spiced bun is filled with juicy raisins and smothered in the best kind of teeth-rotting icing. The (literal and metaphorical) glacé cherry on top? They have bakeries all over north and east London, and Greater London.

Cardamom Bun at Fabrique Bakery

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Do as the Swedes do and fika — that is to say, take a break, have a coffee and eat something sweet. For a doughy sugar rush, head to Stockholm import Fabrique. There are various locations around London but the Hoxton café is also their bakery — the heady, comforting aroma of spice greets any who step through the door. Fabrique is well known for its cinnamon buns but give the cardamom ones a go — the heady buns still contain a hint of cinnamon.

Beef and Barley Bun at Marksman Public House

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The East End boozer’s trademark beef and barley bun is a lesson in simplicity: a two-bite sized pillowy bun reveals the rich braised beef inside. With a dollop of horseradish cream on the side, it goes well with an IPA, cider, Lambrusco… anything, really.

P.S. they sling brilliant bacon buns on Sunday mornings too.

Turmeric Bun at Pavilion Bakery

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A pleasing golden hue gives this bun’s secret spice away. While Pavilion Bakery’s cardamom and cinnamon buns are strong contenders at its East London shops, this delicious little knot of delicately spiced turmeric-spiked dough pulls out the big bun guns. A ray of sunshine in leavened bread form.

Challah Egg and Cheese Bun at Monty’s Deli

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Not content with just acing bagels and Rueben sandwiches, Monty’s Deli has thrown a challah egg and cheese bun gauntlet into the arena. Available at the Old Spitalfields Market stall, the glossy challah bun bookends a thick Swiss cheesy egg omelette — the stuff of dreams. Go, go, go. 

Red Choc Bun at Bun House

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Blood and chocolate might sound more like the ingredients for Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake but it’s exactly what these dessert buns contain. The fluffy steamed buns from Soho’s Bun House are filled with rich dark chocolate, chilli and pig’s blood which helps thicken the mixture and add depth of flavour. Pull apart the pillowy dough and prepare to be converted.

Bun House [official photo]

Lai Wong Bao at Kowloon Restaurant

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Step inside the Chinese bakery with shelves upon shelves of treats and stock up on their lai wong bao; egg custard buns. Biting into the steamed pillowy dough will release the soothing custard infused with creamy coconut paste. Buy one to snack on while wandering around Chinatown, and a few more to take home.

Cinnamon Bun at Nordic Bakery

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Live out a true Scandi noir drama over one of Nordic Bakery’s signature cinnamon buns. Available in little and large versions (is there even really a choice to be made?), these flawless buns have a sticky glaze and are perfectly sweet, spicy and buttery. They’re also baked throughout the day in the Soho café for that fresh-out-of-the-oven flavour.

Cardamom Bun at The Snapery Bakery

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Sold out of Black Swan Coffee on Bermondsey Street on weekdays and out of Maltby Street Market on Saturdays, the cardamom bun is one of London’s finest — maybe even the best. A stickily glistening glaze, the unapologetic, enticing reek of cardamom, and fluffy dough: impeccable, unimpeachable, a joy.

Bao at Yum Bun

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A great bao is a thing of beauty and Yum Bun’s never disappoint. The satisfyingly soft and squishy steamed buns are light and fluffy, the perfect parcel for their equally delicious fillings. There’s slow-roasted pork belly, crispy fish with coriander and lime sambal, and miso-glazed portobello mushroom with cucumber and spring onions. Find them at Street Feast locations around London and Old Spitalfields Market.

Wild Mushroom and Truffle Bun at A. Wong

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The sweet duck yolk custard bun gets the most Instagram airtime (it resembles a white peach) and is delicious in its own right, but don’t overlook the wild mushroom and truffle steamed bun. Appearing at first to be a portobello mushroom served on astroturf, this bun at A Wong in Pimlico has got hidden depths. It’s earthy, rich and immensely comforting. 

Bun Kabab at Empress Market

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“Flavour in the hand” is the literal Urdu translation for bun kabab, a traditional Pakistani street food found particularly in Karachi. And boy, does Empress Market’s deliver on this promise. Spiced, slow-cooked beef and a chilli omelette is sandwiched between a toasted brioche bun, with salad, coriander chutney and raita added for good measure. There’s also a chicken and a lentil version. After closing its Mare Street site earlier this year, Empress Market has been popping up at street food markets, supper clubs, and in mid-June will be opening at the new Eat17 food hall in Hammersmith.

Chelsea Bun at The Old Post Office Bakery

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The Chelsea buns at the Old Post Office Bakery in Clapham are generous in every sense of the word. The doorstep buns are satisfyingly plump, spiced with nutmeg and mixed spice, contain a smattering of currents and are liberally glazed. Just add tea.

Breakfast Bun at Brick House Bakery

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In Peckham or East Dulwich at the weekend? Make a beeline for Brick House Bakery for its spectacular brunch buns. Soft, sweet and super shiny brioche buns are stacked with all the best things: a free-range sausage patty, egg, burger cheese, spinach and house ketchup. Goodbye hangover.

Morning Bun at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery

Every morning would be vastly improved with one of the Dusty Knuckle’s sugary, buttery buns. Irresistibly flaky croissant-like dough is rolled and topped with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. Dusty Knuckle’s bun is the best kind of pull apart the layers, sugary finger-licking affair. Get to Dalston, stat.   

Belgian Bun at Percy Ingle

The Belgian bun at the old school bakery mini-chain Percy Ingle embodies everything a proper one should be. A thick cinnamon-spiced bun is filled with juicy raisins and smothered in the best kind of teeth-rotting icing. The (literal and metaphorical) glacé cherry on top? They have bakeries all over north and east London, and Greater London.

Cardamom Bun at Fabrique Bakery

Do as the Swedes do and fika — that is to say, take a break, have a coffee and eat something sweet. For a doughy sugar rush, head to Stockholm import Fabrique. There are various locations around London but the Hoxton café is also their bakery — the heady, comforting aroma of spice greets any who step through the door. Fabrique is well known for its cinnamon buns but give the cardamom ones a go — the heady buns still contain a hint of cinnamon.

Beef and Barley Bun at Marksman Public House

The East End boozer’s trademark beef and barley bun is a lesson in simplicity: a two-bite sized pillowy bun reveals the rich braised beef inside. With a dollop of horseradish cream on the side, it goes well with an IPA, cider, Lambrusco… anything, really.

P.S. they sling brilliant bacon buns on Sunday mornings too.

Turmeric Bun at Pavilion Bakery

A pleasing golden hue gives this bun’s secret spice away. While Pavilion Bakery’s cardamom and cinnamon buns are strong contenders at its East London shops, this delicious little knot of delicately spiced turmeric-spiked dough pulls out the big bun guns. A ray of sunshine in leavened bread form.

Challah Egg and Cheese Bun at Monty’s Deli

Not content with just acing bagels and Rueben sandwiches, Monty’s Deli has thrown a challah egg and cheese bun gauntlet into the arena. Available at the Old Spitalfields Market stall, the glossy challah bun bookends a thick Swiss cheesy egg omelette — the stuff of dreams. Go, go, go. 

Red Choc Bun at Bun House

Bun House [official photo]

Blood and chocolate might sound more like the ingredients for Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake but it’s exactly what these dessert buns contain. The fluffy steamed buns from Soho’s Bun House are filled with rich dark chocolate, chilli and pig’s blood which helps thicken the mixture and add depth of flavour. Pull apart the pillowy dough and prepare to be converted.

Bun House [official photo]

Lai Wong Bao at Kowloon Restaurant

Step inside the Chinese bakery with shelves upon shelves of treats and stock up on their lai wong bao; egg custard buns. Biting into the steamed pillowy dough will release the soothing custard infused with creamy coconut paste. Buy one to snack on while wandering around Chinatown, and a few more to take home.

Cinnamon Bun at Nordic Bakery

Live out a true Scandi noir drama over one of Nordic Bakery’s signature cinnamon buns. Available in little and large versions (is there even really a choice to be made?), these flawless buns have a sticky glaze and are perfectly sweet, spicy and buttery. They’re also baked throughout the day in the Soho café for that fresh-out-of-the-oven flavour.

Cardamom Bun at The Snapery Bakery

Sold out of Black Swan Coffee on Bermondsey Street on weekdays and out of Maltby Street Market on Saturdays, the cardamom bun is one of London’s finest — maybe even the best. A stickily glistening glaze, the unapologetic, enticing reek of cardamom, and fluffy dough: impeccable, unimpeachable, a joy.

Bao at Yum Bun

A great bao is a thing of beauty and Yum Bun’s never disappoint. The satisfyingly soft and squishy steamed buns are light and fluffy, the perfect parcel for their equally delicious fillings. There’s slow-roasted pork belly, crispy fish with coriander and lime sambal, and miso-glazed portobello mushroom with cucumber and spring onions. Find them at Street Feast locations around London and Old Spitalfields Market.

Wild Mushroom and Truffle Bun at A. Wong

The sweet duck yolk custard bun gets the most Instagram airtime (it resembles a white peach) and is delicious in its own right, but don’t overlook the wild mushroom and truffle steamed bun. Appearing at first to be a portobello mushroom served on astroturf, this bun at A Wong in Pimlico has got hidden depths. It’s earthy, rich and immensely comforting. 

Bun Kabab at Empress Market

“Flavour in the hand” is the literal Urdu translation for bun kabab, a traditional Pakistani street food found particularly in Karachi. And boy, does Empress Market’s deliver on this promise. Spiced, slow-cooked beef and a chilli omelette is sandwiched between a toasted brioche bun, with salad, coriander chutney and raita added for good measure. There’s also a chicken and a lentil version. After closing its Mare Street site earlier this year, Empress Market has been popping up at street food markets, supper clubs, and in mid-June will be opening at the new Eat17 food hall in Hammersmith.

Chelsea Bun at The Old Post Office Bakery

The Chelsea buns at the Old Post Office Bakery in Clapham are generous in every sense of the word. The doorstep buns are satisfyingly plump, spiced with nutmeg and mixed spice, contain a smattering of currents and are liberally glazed. Just add tea.