LondonFilter: Custard Edition
September 18, 2019 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of any restaurants in or around central London which feature custard on their dessert menu? Creme anglais is an acceptable alternative.

I CANNOT believe I am wasting a question on this.

It is a standing joke in my family that my dad cannot ever have enough custard. And yet - every single time my dad comes to visit me in London and I take him for dinner, he is disappointed to find that my chosen restaurant does not feature custard on the dessert menu. He hides it well, but I know that this disappointment is starting to reflect on me, my character, my choice of lifestyle, my decision to live in London, my morals, ethics, enfranchisement etc etc. Ultimately, my repeated failure in this area is making him second-guess what horrible mistakes he's made whilst raising me, that things have come to such a pass.

I would love to surprise and delight my lovely Dad when he comes to visit for his 70th birthday later this year by taking him for a meal in a restaurant where he can have as much custard as he can eat.

Ideally this will be Zone 1. In a utopian world, it will be around Covent Garden. But friends, almost nothing else about the venue is as relevant as the fact that they have custard on the menu.

I would even take a dessert cafe, if I could find one that wasn't just french pastries and chic japanese mochi.

Please, help me. I am googled out and my dad deserves better than endless jús and generic coulis.
posted by citands to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rules has syrup sponge and apple crumble with custard. In Covent Garden.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you tell them it’s his birthday and he loves custard, they’ll probably bring you a bowl of custard with a candle in it. or something.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:00 AM on September 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

So, I will take your question from a non Euro-centric/ white perspective: There are a lot of restaurants in Chinatown with custard buns on their menu. They have BOTH steamed custard buns and baked custard buns and they are amazing. And hey, Chinatown is right next to Covent Garden. I generally head to Imperial China in Chinatown, but any of the large Chinese restaurants would have them.
posted by moiraine at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm fairly sure any chef worth their salt in London would be able to whip up a uh, un-crusted creme brulee (?). if you ask ahead, some places let you order off menu (i do this on occasion, when the vegetarian options are few/non-existent). some have actually been happy to do stuff they dont get to do every day.
just a quick google, the Ivy market grill has creme brulee, and a restaurant called RedFarm has custard bao which looks like a yummy thing! both located in Covent Garden. and now I'm craving custard.
posted by speakeasy at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

These might be promising:
this one ring and check perhaps:
posted by runincircles at 11:08 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would recommend Simpsons in the Strand for this kind of traditional British fare on a special occasion, and I see custard on their menu.

P.G. Wodehouse called it "a restful temple of food".
posted by w0mbat at 11:21 AM on September 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Quo Vadis is currently listing a Pistachio Cake, Figs, Mascarpone and Custard on their pudding menu. I’ve had QV custard (their sticky toffee pudding is worth the booking alone, but only available in the winter) and it was good.
posted by featherboa at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

If he's staying in a hotel with an even fairly decent restaurant, I would call them up and say exactly what you've said above: my dad's staying with you, it's his 70th birthday, he loves custard - do you think chef may be able to whip up some custard if we come to you for dinner one night? Most hotels would be delighted to meet that request.
posted by humuhumu at 12:20 PM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Budget option: the Café in the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields, right by Trafalgar Square. It's self-service and can be a bit school-dinners, but they will *drown* your dessert in custard-- as opposed to the artistic dribble you might get in a higher-class establishment.

The custard, to be sure, will be either made from powder or out of a tin; but it will be the custard of old England, on which a nation grew strong.

Alternatively, grocery stores and M&S will sell you a whole tub of custard to take home and pour over the dessert of your choice. Look in the dairy section next to the cream.

And don't forget the rhubarb-and-custard sweets.

Custard is such a great British invention. Like ice cream, but *warm*.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:40 PM on September 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

I wish upon your dad the custard dessert version of this burger, and therefore think you should visit a few establishments ahead of time and talk to them to make that happen (or something close to it). As people above have said, many restaurants will be happy to accommodate you (maybe not higher end if you wanna verge on the gross side of custard overload *lol*).
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:52 PM on September 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

I would also keep an eye on the Harwood Arms menu (which changes a lot), as they don't currently have one but it's definitely within their repertoire and you'll get a good dinner to go along with it. Maybe you'll get lucky.

I remember the Cafe in the Crypt custard as being tooth-rottingly sweet.

British desserts are underappreciated. I mean a lot of them are horrible, but the custards and cream-heavy desserts are uniquely satisfying.
posted by praemunire at 9:11 PM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pubs are a good shout-- most pubs that do standard British pub food will have a something-and-custard on their autumn/winter dessert menu, be it a fruit crumble or a sticky toffee pudding. And they'd probably be happy to supply extra custard if asked.

A lot of the pubs near Covent Garden are tourist traps with terrible food, though, so choose wisely.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:14 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Queens Arms in Pimlico has custard with their bramley apple crisp. Their sticky toffee is amazing.
posted by terrapin at 8:25 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

THANK YOU so much to everyone - I just packed my dad back off on a train, full and happy after his long weekend in London.

We ended up going to Bill's and The Fellow, both of which currently have custard on their menus. I really appreciate all the suggestions for other places with live custard menus though and have bookmarked them for the future; and it hadn't occurred to me to just call and ask a nicer restaurant for a favour. The place we went for the main 'event' meal ended up making us a lovely birthday cake but I feel like they would have done custard if I'd asked.

To those who suggested non-Euro custards - it's my dearest wish to get my dad to eat a pastel de nata or a custard bun, but he's seventy and set in his ways. We went to a fancy French brasserie and he ordered FISH AND CHIPS for god's sake.

Vive la custard!
posted by citands at 9:46 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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