The Hummingbird Bakery

My friend from college came to stay with me in London a few weeks ago. I’m always a little apprehensive when my friends come to stay. Living in London, they usually think I’m a culture queen, a distinguished explorer of the cool capital, with a wealth of Instagram opportunities at my fingertips and an encyclopedic knowledge of ‘What’s On’ . Not exactly true. In fact, living in a city in which so much is taking place at any given moment has it’s limitations. More often than not I panic a little and opt for a weekend in the countryside…

“We need to visit the Hummingbird Bakery!!!!” my friend excitedly informed me as she arrived in the capital. Bashfully I agreed, even though I’d never heard of this winged, flying cake shop. A quick Google search and we were South Kensington bound.

Exiting South Kensington tube station always induces a strange mixture of emotions within me. Having been born a few miles down the road, I am first overcome by a wave of nostalgia, a smile, a feeling of familiarity. Next, I’m in awe: awe at the effortless cool of the 20-something year-old girls with their Céline handbags, the elegance of the 40-something year-old women with their Hermès scarves and the occasional old man in his olive green corduroys. Feelings of awe usually rapidly descend into envy: envy that I have yet to find the job that will allow me to have all of these things.

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Situated on Old Brompton Road, the Hummingbird Bakery really is as girly as it sounds. Petite, tidy and chic-ed out to the hilt, the amount of pink per square meter verges on hazardous and male presence is noticeably lacking (most probably due to the Lamborghini showroom a few meters down the road). However, once you’ve come to terms with the rose-tinted, um, everything, it doesn’t take long to establish that this little cake shop has a big heart and an even bigger ambition, not to mention calorie intake.

Although famous for their Red Velvet cupcakes, I chose Hummingbird’s Thursday special: the Nutella cupcake (with a cup of tea, of course). The tea was decidedly underwhelming for the £2 price tag: a mundane mug filled to the brim with warm water and a flimsy teabag, it belonged in a backstreet greasy spoon rather than an upmarket, South Ken cake shop. I began to fear for my high expectations  as the solitary, £2.95 cupcake stared ominously at me from the table below. I took a bite…

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It was ineffably scrumptious. Just enough Nutella, a delicate sprinkling of crunchy hazelnut and a sponge consistency that would turn Mary Berry green with envy, my only qualm was that there wasn’t more of it. Of course, this was soon remedied by another visit to the counter (sorry, waistline)…

All in all, I have mixed emotions about the Hummingbird bakery. My taste buds say ‘YES!’, my tea buds say ‘DEFINITELY NOT.’ and my overall impression was mostly ‘MEH…’. There is a lot of hype around this cupcake chain and it seems to have gone to their head. The staff are uninterested, the furniture is lacklustre and the atmosphere seems distinctly average. Yes, the cake was good, but I still say screw South Ken: I’ve had better in Brick Lane.

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4 thoughts on “The Hummingbird Bakery

  1. Nice one Alex. Very good review. The same is true in NYC. All this fuss about cupcake bakeries and the truth is they are really over priced and the cupcakes are usually dry and boring. I can make a dozen cupcakes, a thousand times tastier, in my own kitchen for the price of one or two of theirs.

  2. Enjoyed your visit to home ground , went to Cardiff today had coffee and carrot cake in John Lewis , Carrot cake moist thats all where’s the carrot , coffee was called coffee ! Why ? £10

  3. My sentiments entirely, plenty of better taste experiences out there than the Hummingbird Bakery. Afternoon Tea at Sketch was a tea & cake experience and a half. Try “Le Chandelier, Lordship Lane or pop down to Cachepot Breaston Derbyshire (sorry I couldnt resist a plug!!!!)

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