Leading food writer Anuja Gaur visits the Royal Artisan Bakery in central London.
A desperate search for a non Pret or Eat lunch recently drew me to the newly opened, Royal Artisan Bakery, a stone’s throw away from St James’s Park station. Brought to life by Doron Zilkha in December 2019, his passion for food and knowledge of the UK’s culture rich diversity drove him to create this upscale international gem, which focuses on healthy, high-quality flavours and fresh ingredients. Barely opened a month they have already generated over 5000 Instagram followers, creating a buzz that gives even the long-standing luxury café chain, Paul a run for their money.
The cafe was impossible to miss as I exited the tube into Petty France street and, moments later, I was greeted with an utterly delicious display of exquisitely artistic cakes and gourmet sandwiches. I could smell the bread and pastry aromas as I entered, while admiring the minimalist, yet tastefully sleek, surroundings with a large, bright red neon sign on the wall.
Drawn to a display of large buttery croissants just pulled from the oven, I was soon approached by the modelesque marketing manager, Alina and greeted with a million-dollar smile. Noticing the painstaking struggle etched on my face as I gazed at the array of delights on offer, she confidently selected a perfect array of dishes for me after asking about my likes, dislikes and, for the first time in a cafe, dietary requirements.
There were hearty chicken baguettes crammed with fresh salad and a touch of mayonnaise, energy balls jam packed with fruits and seeds and too-pretty-to-eat vanilla cake slices with fresh whipped cream and a colourful assortment of berries on top. The beverage selection was no less disappointing with fresh juices, smoothies and real Italian coffees, and while temptation almost steered me to a steaming hot chocolate, I opted for a simple green tea.
No sooner had I sat down than the first of my dishes made its way over to me – a piping hot and generously sized tomato and mozzarella pizza slice, followed by a chicken and cashew salad and a dark chocolate brownie and strawberry cheesecake tart.
Never in my life had I swooned over a pizza as much as this; the dough, thick, yet incredibly light and fluffy, the tomato sauce was packed with flavours of fresh herbs with just the right sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, and, as I polished the last bite, I saw Alina appear with their must-try Arancini balls. Initially hesitant thanks to many past disappointments with this dish, she promised this would change my mind. She couldn’t have been more right; piping hot and crispy, the rice filling was cooked to perfection, loaded with herbs and subtle cheese notes and was absolutely delightful!
Saving the salad for later, I eagerly pulled the desserts towards me, starting with the chocolate brownie. Loaded with rich, gooey dark chocolate of the highest quality, it appeared to be more of an infusion of Swiss ganache and a chocolate fudge cake. The cheesecake tart was beautifully delicate with a velvety mousse-like filling, complemented with the sharpness of fresh strawberries and a buttery biscuit encasing.
Filled to the brim and barely able to sip on my green tea, I spotted a wide screen TV showcasing some expert bread making skills, all of which take place in house in The Royal Artisan’s beautiful kitchen by their incredible Italian chef. The staff, all bubbly, warm and clearly loving their jobs, I also discovered were armed with after work talents from professional dancing and singing, to name a few.
As I was preparing to leave with my salad, I resisted the urge to grab a gourmet pizza slice loaded with hearty vegetables, although found myself unable to hold back on buying a pot of my favourite sun-dried tomato hummus.
For those wanting to experience this café’s delights in a more formal setting, The Royal Artisan also boasts the beautiful Royal Quarter Cafe restaurant in Buckingham Gate, Westminster, where diners can indulge in mouth-watering dishes complete with an extensive list of wine and cocktails. If you have no time for a lunch break then, fear not, as they are soon to launch deliveries of their healthy, tasty meals directly to your offices.
The Royal Artisan certainly isn’t your average cafe with its gorgeous food and high energy staff, they also offer some of the best gluten free, hot and cold sweet and savoury dishes, bread included, that put many of the high-profile cafes to shame. I couldn’t have been happier to discover this charming delight, so for those wanting to experience an authentic, luxurious, yet, affordable experience, be it a leisurely cake treat or a grab and go lunch, The Royal Artisan is a must visit.
Address: 84-86 Petty France, Westminster, London SW1H 9EA
Phone: 020 7799 4999