Blink, and you might miss Bea's of Bloomsbury, the cosy London patisserie that's been drawing dessert fans to Theobald's Road since opening in 2008. Despite being located off the usual foodie trail, the bakery's assortment of baked goods (think Valrhona chocolate brownies and raspberry pavolvas,) all visible in copious heaps from the shop window, is well worth the trek.
Bea Vo is the American proprietress of the establishment, and honed her pastry skills working with Nobu and the Morgan's Hotel Group before setting up shop on her own. Cupcakes are most definitely her forte; Vo's versions are comprised of light, moist sponge and topped with generous helpings of buttercream. Apart from the usual suspects, flavours also veer away from the norm. Imagine a passion fruit with vanilla sponge, carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting and a chocolate cupcake topped off with Grand Mariner ganache.
This weekend, the bakery is taking its popular afternoon tea outdoors and trading Bloomsbury for the lawn of Cardinal Place in Victoria. Tucked amid the area's soaring skyscrapers, guests can partake in traditional afternoon treats, such as mini meringues, crumbly shortbread, rustic smoked salmon sandwiches, and of course, cupcakes, all accompanied by a glass of champagne and Pimms.