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Gail's Bakery

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published January 17th 2011
I first met Gail's bread in Notting Hill. It was mid Winter, and I was on my way home to heat up some soup, and then I came upon soup's perfect accessory: freshly baked bread. But not just your average loaf, this was artisan stuff – apparent not just from the title above the door, but also from the look of the loaves, and the selection: a Spelt and Sunflower tin next to a Poppy and Lindseed loaf and a Mixed Olive Sourdough Stick by a big Russian Rye Cobb. Not to mention bloomers, and fruit and nut breads packed with apples, walnuts and sultanas. For starters. And that was before I even turned my eyes to their selection of sweet-baked-goodness.

That first day I went for Potato and Rosemary Sourdough, just to finish the story off, but since then I've been back to sample more of the breads they take so seriously, along with the cakes (of course), pastries (made using only French cream in the butter), and coffees, that they serve alongside the sandwiches etc. in the cafe sections of their stores. They also serve proper breakfasts from 7:30AM until midday.

My most frequent purchase from Gail's is their Tiger Top Pain de Mile, which has the perfect crisp, but-not-gum-piercing shell, and white milky fluff of an interior. Mmmm....

In the beginning was the Hampstead store, which is old hat, having been around since 2005, but since then the business has expanded – which should be read as proof of the quality of their wares – and now there are Gails in Battersea, Chiswick, Exmouth Market, Queen's Park, St. John's Wood, and of course my old local, Notting Hill. But part of Gail's expansion has been onto the shelves of other retailers, including Waitrose, so now those delicious Tigers are even easier to come by.
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