Sitting under a leafy canopy, around a table full of goodies is how I found myself last weekend, on a visit to Violet Bakery in Hackney. I’ve been a huge admirer of the founder, Claire Ptak, for a long, long time: cutting her recipes out of the Guardian newspaper and pawing over her cookbooks. It was high time for a visit to her tinsy café and bakery.
Situated in a quiet, and what look’s like a mostly residential area of Hackey, Violet is a not-so-hidden gem. Although super tiny, on our visit it was rammed to the rafters with people filing up for coffee, brunch, and cinnamon rolls. I went with my best bud of 10+ years, Saira, and we sat outside in the sunshine (there are no tables inside as it’s too small) to enjoy epic avocado toast with garlic and chilli, washed down with tea, coffee, and then, of course, we had to sample some pastries. The cinnamon rolls at Violet are not yeasted and are made with baking soda, which was refreshingly different from the kind that I usually make myself.
The flavours on offer were all very seasonal, and there were some healthier options too, such as the sweet potato, coconut, date, and rye muffins. The ambience was lovely: the kitchen was open, and while queueing to order our food we could ogle the chefs pulling cakes out of the oven, sandwiching cream and jam into scones, and cutting quiches into generous wedges. It’s like being privy to a masterclass on how to perform magic in a tiny space.
I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Violet, and it’s somewhere that I’ll definitely be returning to in future. I couldn’t help myself but go back in just as we were leaving to get some of the tahini and dark chocolate cookies to bring home with me! I’ll also be adding Claire’s latest book – The Violet Bakery Cookbook – to my list of wants. It’s a lovely place, and if you haven’t already, you should totally check it out!
Special thanks go out to Saira for letting me photograph her cinnamon bun before she tucked into it, even though she hadn’t had any breakfast, and was moments away from killing me. The tribulations of having silly food blog friends. I apologise profusely.