Our favourite baker Clare Zerny went out to find the best banana bread in London. Banana bread began appearing in cookbooks in the 1930s, popularised by resourceful housewives of the Great Depression keen not to waste their over-ripe bananas. Today, they are still the most popular snacking fruit and a slice of banana bread with its low GI is an ideal choice if you fancy a slow-release pick-me-up that won’t send your blood sugar levels rocketing.
This excellent chain of cool contemporary cafes makes incredible banana bread, served toasted on a wooden board with a generous side of honeyed Greek yogurt and pistachios – a winning combination. I particularly loved the visible chunks of banana and the crunchy sugared edge gave it a wonderful firm texture. Even after eating poached eggs on sourdough, I happily polished off two slices of their brilliant banana bread.
Big Banana Bread Co.
Aussie founder Sharon Luff started making her own banana bread after she couldn’t find the perfect slice in the UK. Every Big Banana Bread slice is ethically sourced and locally produced. It contains 40% bananas and even bagged a Great Taste Award in 2014. I tried mine served plain and then again toasted with honey, just to be sure. The banana bread was not too sweet, with a gentle cinnamon and ginger twist. It is excellent, and I have been told that Sharon is planning a DIY ‘Just add Bananas’ bread mix.
From £2.25, for local stockists see bigbananabread.com
The Coffee Jar
This place serves the best coffee in Camden. Just ask regulars Paul Weller (scream) or Yotam Ottolenghi. Responsible for this coffee haven, owner Maria also makes much of their baked goods onsite, including their popular banana bread and a gluten free option. Served plain or toasted with butter, the banana bread is fresh and really moist. I loved it.
£2.40 or £2.50 gluten free, thecoffeejar.co.uk
Recently launched in the newly finished Regents Place, The Refinery is a surprisingly quiet spot. Sitting in the morning light, I’m brought two slices of warm banana bread accompanied by a jug of honey and a dish of salted butter. The banana bread is moist and packed with wonderful chucks of banana. It’s good enough to be eaten alone, but the addition of the salted butter is an unexpected joy. What’s more you can add as much butter and honey as you want – happy days.
Owner Claire Ptak, a former Chez Panisse pastry chef, food writer and stylist, has a wealth of experience under her belt. Her East London bakery turns out a plethora of baked treats, including ‘that’ infamous Buttermilk Banana Bread. It is a steadfast for locals. I wasn’t disappointed. The addition of buttermilk provides the perfect flavour balance and makes it the ideal Americano accompaniment or mid-morning snack. Even better, it’s also available as a loaf to take away.
£3 for a slice, £8 a loaf, violetcakes.com