Hot out of the oven stuff at Tetote, Wembley, London
Tetote is one of the best bakeries in the London area. (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672200)
If you prefer hot out of the oven stuff, be sure to check out their cooling rack behind the counter. Ask nicely -- they're willing and happy to sell the stuff before it cools. Had an awesome melon pan that was still very warm and thus exceedingly crisp on the sugar coated surface over the wispy bread.
Only managed to make the pilgrimage to Ealing recently. The stuff is as good as I remember from Wembley.
Sesame bread is amazingly soft and light. The custard bun is also excellent, filled with soft clumpy rich custard, the bun a medium dense weave of wispy bread. Beef curry bun had a pitch perfect Japanese curry beef filling, the bread slightly stiffer than I would have liked, but still good, and covered with crispy breadcrumbs. The tuna roll with sweetcorn is remarkably savoury. Butter rolls have a nice gloss and slightly denser cushiony texture, still fantastic.
A bit late but a report back as I got a lift a couple of weeks ago to Tetote (which means hand in hand) in Ealing.
As I went with a couple of friends I got to sample a good variety of the wares, many fresh from the ovens.
I brought a curry pan back for my husband (Japanese) and he was very happy with it. His opinion was that it had a shitamachi (downtown or working class depending on how you want to translate this word) taste but without the low quality oil aftertaste you might expect from regular shitamachi curry pan bought at a regular shitamachi neighbourhood bakery.
I think this probably sums up why Tetote is so good.
Rather than going the high end route, Tetote does a wonderful job of bringing neighbourhood favourites to England but using the very best quality ingredients possible - imagine an artisan baker introducing perfectly executed Yum Yums and crumpets to the Japanese market and you can start to understand why this place is special. I honestly can't think of very many places in Tokyo where the same offerings are as good as those sold here.
For me the anpan stood out as the bun had a wonderful koji yeast taste. The 'an' filling made with azuki beans was also of stand out quality, tasted home made not from a tin or jar. I believe the cream buns were also made with the same dough as the anpan and this was devoured by my husband so I only got a little taste - the custard filling not quite as divine as Beard Papa's but pretty close and extremely satisfying as a filling in that particular dough.
If you see the custard buns pounce on them, we spent about twenty minutes at the shop and in that time a whole tray of them came out and were all sold before we left.
The melon pan was excellent, better than I can make (I'll be adding vanilla to my cookie toppings from now on).
The shoku pan was also very good. However, to get the best from this get the thick cut sliced bread (shoku pan is the white bread sold in plastic bags), take it home, grill each side under a very high heat so that is crisp and golden on both sides but uncooked and fluffy in the middle, and add butter to the top just when it gets cool enough so that the butter will get very very soft but not melt completely into a puddle. Tetote's shoku pan will help you get a first rate example of this classic "morning service" component モーニングサービス.
Together with Koya on Frith Street Tetote is a real London jewel where shitamachi stalwarts are given the respect and dedication they deserve. As I said, you'd have to search long and hard to find anywhere offering better examples than those from either establishment in Tokyo. It's wonderful that both are here on our doorstep.
Alas, Tetote is way too far away for me to be able to visit with any regularity.
Thankfully, I've found a recipe for something close enough to melon pan for me to be able to make it in less than the time it would take me to get to Tetoe and back.
You can get Ammonia Bicarbonate for £1 at the Scandinavian Kitchen (61 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PP) it makes the cookie topping that little bit more crispy than without it.
I make the tang zhong (yudane) with flour and milk only, no water. This makes a much stiffer roux so the dough would be easier to make without a bread machine to knead it for you. With a bread machine it is a doddle. (recommend that you add no more than 120g flour in the cookie dough rather than the 125g called for).
Fresh out of the oven the coating almost crackles (much softer a few hours later although it can be revived a little under the grill). It is truly wonderful so worth the attempt.
Easier still is her recipe for Hokkaido Milk Toast which is good as is, but outstanding when you slice and toast it (again I use an all milk and flour tang zhong for this) http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2010/...
For me, both recipes classify as desserts.
Well if you do get out this way you should check out Munson's for a great coffee and interesting filled rolls and cakes. http://www.montauk.co.uk/munson's.htm
Next door they have opened a frozen yoghurt place, Finster's Fro Yo, also delicious.
Perhaps combine this with a pizza at Santa Maria, http://www.santamariapizzeria.com/, Time Out's choice for best pizza in London (debatable).
Alternatively try Eatalian across the road from Santa Maria for some delicious standard Italian fare with a nice Italian vibe in the restaurant and in my opinion better pizzas.
Next door to that is Butlers Thai (not been there for ages) and next to that is Joie de Vivre, an interesting Mediterranean place.
All these places are within 10 mins walk.
Turned up too late at Tetote this afternoon so will have to revisit next week.
Munson's coffee was quite handy the macchiato was solid, in the fruity/acidic light roast Square Mile vein. Didn't pay attention to what roaster they got the beans from.
Santa Maria was disappointing, the crust floppy, without any crispness, and while I like the scorching, uneven cooking of the pizza meant that there was excessive burnt carbony flavour on some slices. Topping were ok, the tomato sauce pretty good, the mozzarella rather ordinary (best I've had so far on a pizza were the ones at Eco, which weren't baked but topped the pizza post baking, or the fior di latte at Il Baretto), with a few strategic leaves of basil. A basic tiramisu for dessert, equal parts well set mascarpone, dense and stiff, and a coffee soaked cakey layer.