Couture chocolate shop, Cocomaya has branched out with a boutique bakery next door. And with the team behind it consisting of ex-Agent Provocateur owner Serena Rees, fashion designer Walid Al Damirji and Liberty's former head of concept Joel Bernstein, it’s every bit as decadent as you’d imagine.
Its location is a little bit off the beaten track but as soon as you set foot through the door of the Cocomaya Bakery you quickly forget your quibbles. In a world where daintily decorated cakes are king, it would be churlish not to. In contrast to the chocolate shop’s languidly seductive styling next door, the bakery is cosily charming. Freshly baked loaves of bread and cakes line the shelves and elsewhere you’ll find bags of fresh chocolate shavings, boxes of Postcard Teas and jars of honey so that you can re-create the experience at home.
In such a small space the attention to detail is both necessary and impressive – from the timber clad walls to the beautifully arranged cakes on individual stands, everything has been carefully thought out. The seating is limited to a few wooden stools with tapestry cushions tucked by a window and a further half a dozen chairs arranged around an oval-shaped marble topped table where you sit elbow to elbow with other fans of artisan baking.
There is certainly something warm and reassuring about Cocomaya – a haven where creativity and passion are given free reign and wend their way into the very pores of the building. When pollution and the drabness of city living gets too much, this is the place to escape to whether you’re enjoying a relaxed date or are catching up with fashionable friends who will appreciate the craftsmanship that’s gone into every crumb of the handmade cakes.
Sensible savoury options are available but the afternoon tea (served on a three tier cake stand and scattered with edible, crystallised rose petals in pastel shades) is certainly the star of the show. Miniature egg and cress baguettes and smoked salmon and cucumber sit on the bottom plate, scones and rock cakes (served with homemade jams and fresh thick cream in miniature pots with antique spoons on the side, £1.50) are in the middle and individual pies including a light lemon meringue pie, a dense dark chocolate ganache (£4.20) topped with a sliver of gold leaf and a rich hazelnut, caramel and milk chocolate tartlet (£4.20), each cooked with beautifully, buttery-soft pastry take pride of place at the top.
Whilst the miniature slices of bread topped with smoked salmon are a little too tough the generous portion of topping slathered over each one ensures that if you eat them in one bite, you won’t notice the texture of the bread. The egg and cress miniature baguettes are, in contrast, perfectly crisp on the outside with plenty of give to the bread inside. On the next tier, scones (£1.90) are served warm and are reassuringly misshapen although not nearly as much as the rock cakes beside them which are as craggy as you’d expect and studded with plump sultanas and raisins.
The mini cakes served on a separate pearlescent plate are the true showstoppers and provide an excuse for the bakers to show off their artistry. The tiny honey cakes make up for their size as they are swimming in honey and the cakes themselves whilst just the right side of sweet and dense would be unpalatable if they were any larger. A small chocolate cupcake is competent but can't compete with the raspberry and blueberry cupcakes. Topped with a feather-light swirl of cream and a fresh berry, inside the tiny body of each cake there's a whole berry at the bottom and another in the middle – about as far from stodgy cakes as Agent Provocateur lingerie is from control pants.
Their attention to detail at the Cocomaya Bakery doesn’t falter even when it comes to the jug of free water on the table that’s filled with sprig after sprig of fresh mint and slices of apple. Tea is served in gold antique teapots and ranges from traditional Earl Grey to decaffeinated Japanese herbal teas (£1.80). You won’t be able to unwind over a glass of wine but there is something endlessly comforting about a good old-fashioned brew that chain coffee shops can’t come close to replicating.
The Last Word
At Cocomaya, the simple, snug surroundings are the perfect showcase for plate after plate of seductively stylish cakes. Artisan baking just got even more fashionable.