Peyton & Byrne is a treasure trove of cupcakes and other sweet & savoury delights nestled between Heals & Habitat on Tottenham Court Rd, London. Owned by Oliver Peyton, a Mayo born London based restaurateur, it opened in September 2006 along with Meals in Heals next door. This is not Peyton’s first venture, far from it, he started with nightclubs which he proclaimed a means to an end, dallied with the import/export of Japanese beer & absolut vodka and then moved into restaurants with the opening of the critically acclaimed Atlantic Bar & Grill in Picadilly. Since then he has opened Mash, Isola, the Admirality restaurant at Somerset House, Inn the Park at St James Park, The Wallace Restaurant, Peyton & Byrne, Meals, The National Dining Rooms & finally The National Café.
Peyton has always championed the use of quality ingredients and British cooking and this is obvious in his establishments. He is well known as one of the judges on the Great British Menu, a BBC show where top UK & Irish chefs compete to cook part of the banquet for the Queens 80th birthday in the first series and to the British Ambassador to France at the British Embassy in Paris for the second series.
At Peyton & Byrne, the intent is to reproduce old favourites the way our mothers used to make them, specifically Peytons mother whose maiden name was Byrne – hence, Peyton & Byrne. Her recipes are, in fact, the inspirations for the produce at the bakery. Award winning chef Roger Pizey aims to put a modern twist on old classics and I think he does this quite well. These include savoury staples like tarts, pies, scotch eggs & fresh sandwiches (done well – lancashire cheese & picallili anyone?) and sweet treats like bakewell tart, victoria sponge, chocolate cake and amazing cupcakes, my personal favourite is the frou frou cupcake (raspberry & coconut), but there are 5 flavours in total to try and you should!
It’s done so well, it’s difficult to fault them. The design of the shop itself is lovely, fronted by a large window with gold lettering displaying their wares with the cakes on charming cake stands, it’s all so pretty and inviting. The packaging is also fantastic, pretty pastel cake boxes with bold lettering. It shouldn’t matter, but it does.
I’ve been a few times now, it’s a must for the cupcakes alone, and it’s been consistently good. It’s on the pricey side, mind, at £10 for 5 cupcakes, but they’re so good it’s worth it. They’ve recently opened a café at the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road also, I’ve been into inspect and it looks very smart, I plan to lunch there quite soon.
Any lactose intolerants wondering how I managed this – the power of lactase pills, lots of them!
For vegan cupcakes, there’s a gorgeous little bakery in West Hampstead (nearest tube Kilburn), Bake-a-boo. It’s very cute, all shabby chic, I get the feeling they like Cath Kidston. They serve a variety of lactose free and gluten free cupcakes, and while they’re not as impressive or tasty as Peyton & Byrne, they’re very good considering. They serve afternoon tea with tea in gorgeous china teapots, both a normal one & a sensitive one for coeliacs and lactose intolerants. It’s in our area so we frequently pop in for take aways but the café itself is gorgeous and I would recommend a visit.
If you’re not in London or just want to stay at home and have your cupcake and eat it (see what I did there! ;-)), there are many cupcake blogs and books out there. First stop for me has to be Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s blog – Vegan Cupcakes take over the world. Perfect for lactose intolerants like me but also great for coeliacs. I’ve long been a fan of Isa’s and her post-punk kitchen, fantastic vegan recipes and while I’m not vegan, I used to be vegetarian and I still use the site for their dairy free recipes. Their food is so good, it’s an inspiration really. Her first book Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-free Recipes is fantasic, but her cupcake book is the one I’ll talk about here: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule. It’s a great little book! I am forever browsing it picking which one I’ll make next. It’s a lactose intolerants dream. There’s also lots of recipes for coeliacs. The recipes go from traditional to original & quirky – green tea cupcakes, pistachio & rosewater cupcakes, coconut & lime and lots more. I will blog one soon.
The cupcake bakeshop by chockylit is also great. It’s full of inspiration, great recipes & photographs. A recent recipe is just begging to be tried: Blueberry & Raspberry Ricotta Almond Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
That’s it for cupcakes at the moment but expect to see some here soon :-)