Five of the best: teatime treats in Soho

Florence Knight, chef at London’s Polpetto restaurant, shares her tips for afternoon pick-me-ups – not least a cake from Maison Bertaux

Maison Bertaux

I have a pasteis de nata habit – I find it hard to go a day without one of these Portuguese delights. The crispiness of the pastry is perfectly balanced by the velvet richness of the custard. Berwick Street market has a wagon of them stacked up which is hard to walk past and Fernandez & Wells also keeps a pile ready to be eaten with their coffee.

Fernandez & Wells, 16a St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BH, 020 7494 4242; Berwick Street market, W1F 0PH


Apart from having London’s best jam-filled croissants for breakfast, this Milanese outpost has the perfect afternoon Italian pick-me-up: tiramisu. I love its boozy coffee fragrance, with that hit of chocolate for sweetness, and the soft, luxurious layers of egg-enriched mascarpone. Eat a slice at the long bar looking out on Wardour Street to people-watch like an Italian.

135 Wardour Street, W1F 0UT, 020 7478 8888;

Maison Bertaux

The shelves here are laden with tempting pastries and French fancies, and through the window you can watch the steady stream of tourists snapping away at the faded navy awning and peeling paintwork. The round tables and rickety chairs run ramshackle inside: you have to weave your way carefully through them so as not to land a strawberry tart or dollop of cream in someone’s lap.

28 Greek Street, W1D 5DQ, 020 7437 6007;

Nestled at the end of Silver Place is Society, one of the few dog-friendly places in London. Special editions of books fill the shelves, objets d’art among them, and bigger pieces for sale are mounted on the walls. Thanks to two enormous windows the room is light, even on a rainy London afternoon, and you can happily hide for an hour or two of coffee and Tunnock’s teacakes. Later on there are cocktails and poetry readings.

12 Ingestre Place, corner of Silver Place, W1F 0JF, 020 743 71433;

The Kati Roll Company

I was recently introduced to this tiny place on Poland Street, proving that even when you live somewhere there are still new places to find. Flatbreads are grilled in front of you and filled with a topping of your choice, then rolled up. It’s a great savoury smackerel for those late afternoons when lunch has escaped you: just be careful of the red onion before a meeting.

24 Poland St, W1F 8QL, 020 7287 4787;

Florence Knight is author of ‘One: A Cook and her Cupboard’ (Saltyard Books), £26

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