Where To Go When You Just Want Sticky Toffee Pudding

Nothing raises the spirits like sugar, cream, and butter. Especially in the form of London’s finest treacle-based puddings.
A sticky toffee pudding with a quenelle of cream on top.

photo credit: The George

Wikipedia claims the origins of sticky toffee pudding are ‘disputed’, the BBC say they’re ‘contentious’, and we say… thank you. To whoever and wherever first made this glorious combination of sponge, toffee sauce, and more toffee sauce. Some people like it with ice cream, others want it school dinners-style with custard, and then there are the clotted cream and the crème fraîche heads. However you like your sticky toffee paired, these ones are the best you’ll find in London.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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Few restaurants maintain the gold stamped guarantee of a good time quite like Quo Vadis. The British Soho restaurant and members' club is a white tablecloth kind of institution that’s also home to a sticky toffee pudding that we dream about. The rich, deep toffee sauce pools around and forms a moat for the light sponge. And the fact that it comes with two big dollops of comforting custard and smooth cream feels correct. This dessert also happens to be a magnet for restaurant staff who, upon seeing it on your table, will drift over to tell you it’s one of their favourite things here.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch



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The mega-popular steakhouse with locations across London, the UK, and now the USA, is home to London’s best, if not most consistent, sticky toffee pudding. The sponge is the same domed cup shape as the kind you microwave yourself at home, and that’s very much a compliment. It’s not just soaked but drenched in a torrential downpour of warm toffee sauce, and sits in a paddling pool of it for good measure. Sweet, moist, and topped with a creamy but still light quenelle of clotted cream, this is a top-tier sticky toffee pudding.

The Grill Room at The Devonshire—with its snug atmosphere, wood panelling, and burgundy paint job—is the kind of place we’d like to be during a blizzard. Sipping a pint of Guinness and spooning excellent sticky toffee pudding into our faces while the wind howls outside. This Soho pub’s version is a perfectly uniform small square of sponge—which is the correct size when the caramel-coloured syrup is this rich. The choice to serve it without cream or ice cream is a bold one, but it doesn’t need it. The sponge is moist and there’s a generous pool of sweet, nutty syrup which we recommend using to baste your pudding at regular intervals.

Sink into The Abingdon’s pillow-laden sofas and the sticky toffee pudding on a chilly evening. The dessert at this Kensington gastropub is comfort in a bowl. The soft dome of airy cake comes in a shallow pool of dark, sticky, caramel-y sauce—there’s enough to have some with each bite but not so much that it's overpowering. The sweetness of the dates is complemented by the small scoop of refreshing vanilla ice cream, and makes for the kind of dessert that’s as cosy as a day spent in bed.

Some restaurants suit certain foods and Sweetings definitely suits a sticky toffee pudding. The old-school seafood spot has been around for well over a century and is, for all intents and purposes, a boarding school canteen for suits who work in the City. There’s a pleasing generosity to everything, rather than anything close to perfect cooking, and the same goes for its sticky toffee pudding. The sponge square is cut from a tray bake, soaked in a loose toffee sauce, and sits in a bed of hot yellow custard. Three or four spoonfuls and it’ll be gone.

Rules is London’s oldest restaurant and is mostly frequented by people who moderate Facebook groups and have a Union Jack in their profile name. It’s traditional in every way, so it’s no surprise that this British Covent Garden destination makes a fine old-school pudding. This sticky toffee has three layers that are individually soaked in caramel sauce before being reformed, and the rectangle of soaking sponge is served with a quenelle of crème fraîche. It’s classic, it’s classy, and could comfortably be served inside Buckingham Palace.

The George in Fitzrovia is a glorious and decadent take on a gastropub, with an upstairs dining room that mixes Big Tudor Energy and the posh bit of the Titanic. Its sticky toffee pudding is similarly refined, indulgent, and might come with a side of gout (in the best possible way). Malty domed sponge floats in a shimmering moat of richly spiced sauce, topped with a quenelle of clotted cream. The pub’s sticky toffee Old Fashioned on the side is probably unnecessary but also encouraged. You’re here to go big, after all.

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