THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Dominique Ansel Bakery comes to London

Slowly rotating 135m above the River Thames, trapped in a small capsule with only a select number of food influencers and a gluttonous number of pastries, may seem like an unusual place for breakfast. This extraordinary setting, however, was perfectly suited to celebrate the launch of Dominique Ansel Bakery London, the first European venue opened by the chef responsible for the Cronut craze, numerous other foodie inventions, and the most popular bakery in New York.

Whilst Dominique Ansel is particularly famous for creating the Cronut, the delicious croissant-donut hybrid that has caused his New York venue to have hour long queues every morning, it is but one of a host of creative sweets being served in his bakeries. A particular favourite of the chef’s (and mine) is the DKA, or ‘Dominique’s Kouign Amann’, which is a sort of caramelized croissant, with a flaky interior surrounding by a crunchy shell. He is not resting on his laurels either, constantly innovating, changing the menu, and updating the flavours (the Cronut changes every month and has individual flavours for each city location). It is because of this that visits to one of Dominique’s bakeries are so unique and worth the morning commute.

I thoroughly recommend heading down to Elizabeth Street in Belgravia as soon as you can to see what Dominique has in store for you, just be prepared to wait in line!

More information about the new Dominique Ansel Bakery in London here.

Photographed and written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

At the Chapel, Bruton

Bruton is home to the hip Hauser & Wirth gallery space so it makes sense that there is somewhere suitably stylish and creative for visitors to stay nearby. In the centre of the charming town of Bruton you will find At the Chapel, a beautifully restored medieval chapel with eight minimalist luxury bedrooms, a relaxed restaurant and an artisan bakery.

We were staying in Room 8 for a night, an indulgent mid-week escape from London. This large ground-floor room opens out onto a garden terrace and has a stunning spacious marble bath with free-standing bath and walk-in shower. Rooms range in price dependent on size, from £150 for the most petite to £250 for Room 5 which can accommodate families. I loved Room 2 which features the original 19th century stained glass window and Room 6, a first floor, south-facing bedroom which is gloriously light and offers views of the surrounding area. The rooms are decorated with modern artworks and vintage furniture, whilst ensuring the top comfort with king-sized decadent beds and smart tvs and ipod docks. The bathrooms are elegant and smart with Ren toiletries and cosy bathrobes.

The food at At the Chapel has a widespread reputation for good reason. Homemade pizzas at night and freshly baked croissants in the morning (delivered to the room) kept me satisfied. Locals visit the bakery throughout the day to pick up lunch or pastries and we couldn’t help buying a few of the irresistable loaves before we left.

During the day the building is at your disposal. Choose to enjoy an aperitif in the Clubroom or out on the terrace, or read the newspapers with a coffee upstairs in the secluded balcony. There are regular arty events held here and a wineshop stocking a carefully chosen selection of organic and biodynamic wines from small producers.

Without much competition nearby, At the Chapel is single-handedly making Bruton a must visit destination for hip foodie travellers.

Book a stay At the Chapel here.

Orée Boulangerie, Fulham

There are plenty of bakeries in London claiming to offer authentic Parisian patisseries, fluffy baguettes and flaky croissants, but few deliver. The new Orée Boulangerie in Fulham, however, exceeds all expectations. Last week I joined a group of fellow foodies for a morning of sampling. Pitching to a table of unforgiving French bloggers was not an easy task, but our expressions softened as the buttery soft pastries were delivered to the table each, smelling more delicious than the last.

The Orée bakery and café stands out immediately, a creamy shade of baby blue with golden cursive writing. Inside, the décor is just as delectable with white marble surfaces, sophisticated furniture and lots of natural light. There is plenty of space for guests to sit and relax with their breakfast. Founder Laurent d’Orey brought the concept to England, after setting up bakeries elsewhere in Europe, and hoped to win over Londoners with his irresistible French pastries – he is definitely succeeding.

The boulangerie prides itself on offering a huge range of gluten-free treats in addition to the standard baked items. Highlights from our breakfast included the ‘escargot’ – a swirled pastry filled with pistachio and white chocolate – and the beautiful egg breakfast dishes, which are accompanied with the bakery’s organic sourdough bread. Those brunch-addicts hoping for something more substantial will enjoy the ‘tartines’, essentially an open sandwich topped with delicious ingredients such as avocado, smoked salmon or ratatouille.

A week later and I’m still relishing my bag of Orée almond financiers, each bite is a reminder of the beautiful baked treats at this wonderful new breakfast hang out.

More information about Orée Boulangerie here.