Remember how I was going to rescue Monday with good coffee and even better pastry at Skittle Cafe? Well, it never happened. Skittle Alley may be a darling cafe with a reputation for excellent broiche, but it has terrible hours. It closes at noon. Noon. It’s like they haven’t heard of afternoon tea. And it’s in England!
So there we were. Monday morning. 11:30 am. Bleary-eyes, bed head and jammies. We’d survived a terrible night with the dream of a delicious food adventure. What could we do but change our clothes, put on our hats and “head outside for an adventure,” a phrase that always saves the day. We made a beeline for the high road, and a cafe bakery that I’d had my eye on since day one – GAIL’S Bakery.
GAIL’S and I are kindred spirits, if a person can be a kindred spirit with a cafe. GAIL’s knows all about the afternoon tea needs of its neighborhood. “That 4 pm slump need not hit you at GAIL’s – our range of sweet treats would pick anyone up.” You see what I mean? GAIL’s gets me.
GAIL’s can also read minds. Are you, like the man who held the door for me, out walking with your pregnant wife when she casually mentions an immediate need for chocolate? GAIL’s is there for you, with one of the best chocolate pecan brownies in London. You know how the cream cheese icing is the best part of carrot cake? GAIL’s gets that and makes her carrot cake in three layers, with icing in between each layer. Like all of the kindredest of kindred spirits in this world, GAIL’s is committed to great coffee. GAIL’s uses French butter for her croissants, and we all know how I feel about butter at this point. And, finally, GAIL’s makes what I can only call the very best sausage roll that I have ever had.
You see, by the time we had changed our clothes, put on our hats, and made our way to the high road it was nearing lunch time and my pastry desires had veered sharply from sugar town to savory land. And then, with Leo wildly pointing at the croissants next to his spot by the window, I spied the sausage rolls. GAIL’s sausage rolls do not mess around. The free-range pork filling isn’t trying to be anything but hearty, meaty, and well-flavoured. The flaky pastry exterior is perfect, with little crunchy chewy bits at the bottom where the pastry meets the pan. To literally top it off, GAIL’s sprinkles toasted sesame seeds on the finished product. It’s as if GAIL’s is saying, “Dude, you’re the sauciest of sausage rolls. Have some fun! Wear two colours of sesame seed. Work it.” Or something like that.
In short, GAIL’s saved the day. I can’t wait to return for afternoon tea one day soon.