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LIFE IS SWEET AT THE PUDDING BAR by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O'Sullivan

My friend, Tania, and I share a sweet tooth. So when I heard about a pop-up restaurant in London’s Soho serving nothing but puddings, I knew who to call. The Pudding Bar, which opened in July, is the brainchild of three desert-enthusiasts called Emily Dickinson, Pete Cawston and Oliver Whitford-Knight. They realised that if you’re only going to serve one thing, it has better be good, so they brought in pastry chef Laura Hallwood, who trained with Gordon Ramsay. First impressions were encouraging: chalked on a blackboard outside was the maxim: “Because no good story starts with a salad…” I couldn’t help noticing that Tania, a lifelong lettuce-swerver, was grinning from ear to ear. But oh, it was full. I had forgotten to book and every table in the tiny room was taken. Luckily, The Pudding Bar is spread over three floors and there were more tables upstairs. We ordered a glass of Prosecco and settled down to survey our surroundings. “Shabby chic” ventured Tania. “Soho Bohemian” I offered. Whatever. The room was pretty, the waiter was charming and helpful, and we were hungry. There were six tempting puddings on the menu, priced between £6 and £8. We plumped for the tasting menu for two which would allow us to try a little bit of everything. 10 minutes later, the waiter returned with a large plate laden with little puddings. Banoffee Delight, Blackberry Pannacotta with Honeycomb (Tania’s favourite), Apple and Maple Syrup Baked Alaska (my favourite; above), Brown Sugar and Hazlenut Sponge, Blondie & Brownie (neither of us were mad about the Blondie), and S’More Cheesecake. It took us precisely half an hour to polish them all off.

The wine list included a couple of rosés, a prosecco, a demi-sec and Bollinger Special Cuvée. There were also four desert wines – a Maury Grenat, a Sauternes, a Tokaji, and a Chardonnay Dulce – served by the glass or by the bottle. Alternatively, for £16, you can order a Flight, which pairs puddings with three dessert wines.The Pudding Bar doesn’t only serve puddings. From 1pm-6pm (noon-6pm at weekends), it does afternoon tea, featuring scones and cake (but no boring sandwiches). Tania and I had our puddings instead of dinner, but equally you could eat elsewhere and call in for a pudding afterwards. And yes, most of our fellow diners were women.

The Pudding Bar will close for good in early January, but plans to reopen “somewhere in Soho” next year. Tania and I will be back for another sugar fix soon.

The Pudding Bar, 26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE. 020 3620 4747; The Pudding Bar

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