After my sister bought me the Hummingbird Bakery cook book for my birthday this year, it seemed silly not to go to one of the London outlets when I had the chance just over a week ago. The cakes in the cook book looked divine, and I wanted to see how it was really done.
Visually, I was not disappointed: the window display was edgy and colourful, and when you reach the counter inside, your eyes are assaulted by a veritable rainbow of colour and glitter. The branch that I visited – the Wardour Street branch – was a little on the small side (there was not really enough seating – or perhaps the problem was that there was too much for such a small space – and people were liable to trample on your bags or push past you on their way in or out), but there was at least plenty of room to see the cupcakes in all their glory.
However, you could also see the price tags in all their glory as well. The eat-in prices for two Tropicana orange juices, one cupcake (purple with butterflies on it; vanilla icing and cake) and one frosted chocolate brownie came to what seemed a slightly staggering £11.50. This seemed a bit much for what we got, perhaps exacerbated by our trip to Windsor two days before, where we’d seen cupcakes for the same price with equally luridly-coloured icing that were about the same size as your average five-year-old’s face. While the brownie that my fiancé chose at the Hummingbird Bakery was of a goodly size, my cupcake was on the small size (and yet I felt duty-bound to have one regardless of the price just because that’s what they’re famous for. Silly eh?).
The staff were certainly friendly there, and I liked the innovation involved in the Bakery’s election cupcakes, wheeled out a week ahead of Britain’s general election (red sparkly cupcakes for Labour, blue sparkly cupcakes for Conservative, yellow sparkly cupcakes for Liberal, and white for undecided). We spent a good few minutes debating whether or not the number of cupcakes that had been sold for each party really reflected the views of the electorate…
I’d therefore say to go once to the Hummingbird Bakery just for the experience; however, you are ultimately better off buying the cook book yourself and doing this at home for maximum value for money, and taking yourself off to one of the higher quality tea rooms that London has to offer instead. All in all, a bit of a let down.
47 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3JP (tel: 02075 840055)
133 Portobello Road, London W11 2TY (tel: 02072 296446)
155a Wardour Street, London W1F 8WG (tel: 02074 343003)