Monday, November 2, 2015

Cake & Biskie in Soho

Review: Cutter & Squidge

Biskies: a Cutter & Squidge creation.
Think of a soft cookie & cake dessert sandwich :)

Some of the earliest reviews I posted on this blog were about cake in Bangladesh. I've written (and complained!) about dessert at many venues since, but I've never really posted about any other bakeries or confectioners. I admit I've gotten into a habit of depending on chains and supermarkets. Trouble is, while I know independents that do good coffee, their sweets are rarely worth a special mention. Cutter & Squidge bucks that trend completely. They serve amazing cake and a nifty invention of their own called a biskie - best described as a mini cookie and cake sandwich. I first found them by chance one night in Soho, when we were walking around after an early dinner in search of something sweet. This was always a normal thing to do in Asia, where cafés and the like open late, but everything shuts so early in the UK! Luckily Cutter & Squidge had the right idea, and their then pop-up was still open around 8 pm. I bought myself a huge slice of their Choc O'Berry Dream Cake, which turned out to be extremely delicious. The cake itself was rich and moist, with generous helpings of flavoured cream filling the layers and covering the outside. Fast forward a few months and they now have a permanent store on Brewer Street in Soho, which is great news for anyone with a sweet tooth. Their new store opens later than most cafés, which remains a plus, though bear in mind it's not late enough for post-dinner dessert. 

The interior, bright and expressive.
More seating than some of the other similar shops
in the area, but I can see it getting busy.

I've visited several times with friends, squeezing into the relatively small space. The venue has a few tables at the back, along with some counter-style seating by the windows. The interior, as seen in the photo above, makes me think "bright-plastic-happy", and while I realise it won't be to everyone's taste I feel its true to Cutter & Squidge's overall branding. The store operates the usual pick and pay at the counter approach, and staff will bring over your drinks or order if it's not something they can just hand you over the counter. Apart from cakes and biskies, the menu on the wall lists a small selection of hot and cold drinks, as well as a few sandwiches. Notably, they do a salted caramel matcha latte - which is great as even today there are too few places in London that serve matcha lattes. If you order one just remember to stir the drink properly, as otherwise you'll finish a rather bland cup like my friend, only to discover all of the caramel left at the bottom!

"OMG It's Green":
green tea and raspberry "Dream Cake"

Eating as a group meant has meant I've sampled quite a bit of what Cutter & Squidge has to offer, and almost everything has been as impressive as that first Choc O'Berry cake. Amongst the cakes, the Banoffee and the Chocolate and Hazelnut stand out as excellent takes on classic flavours. I've also tried the OMG It's Green pictured above, and while I liked it, I remember wishing for a slightly stronger flavour flavour. Amongst the biskies, the rich Salted Caramel Brownies or lighter S'mores are safe choices. I'm torn between what I like more here, the cakes or the biskies, but a Key Lime Pie biskie my partner once had is definitely my favourite. Imagine two layers of soft biscuit with a filling of lime curd and vanilla cream cheese, finished off a crunchy meringue topping! Unfortunately this was a special edition, and I've not seen it since. This is something to bear in mind about Cutter & Squidge - they do rotate what's on offer any given day, and not all the flavours you see online are always available at the store. 

Close-up: a S'more biskie

There is also the issue of almost Marmite-like personal preferences to the food they serve. I love my cakes to be lavished drenched in cream and frosting, but I know not everyone does. I also love the soft cookie dough texture of the biskies, along with their cream/sauce/curd garnishes. Yet I have friends who aren't fans - apparently the biskies' soft and hard textures feel odd. Just a little something to be aware of before making a visit. And speaking of visiting - a note on the costs. Biskies cost around £4.50 each and a slice of cake will cost almost £6. These prices won't come as a surprise once you experience (i.e. have trouble consuming) the generous portions, but they're still a bit higher compared to other stores. Given the quality of the confectionery, I wouldn't have minded, but prices for their full cakes online verge on the ridiculous and they lose points for that. Carry outs cost a little less, and the price of hot and cold drinks are quite competitive. But of course, you're not coming here for drinks!

Food: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value: 5/10

Final Score: 7/10

Contact Information
A: 4 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 0SB
T: +44 (0)20 7371 7056

NB. The final score, while influenced by the sub-scores, is a qualitative reflection of my overall impression of the establishment.

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