My mother never made donuts, and it’s a good thing; we were skinny kids because of it. My neighborhood friends were a Greek family a few houses away. Mrs. Varunes made donuts for her children on a regular basis. One snowy day while waiting for our school bus, they called me in to have some fresh donuts from the stove, cooked in an iron pot.

Is there a ‘best’ donut?

After all these years I can prove that the best donuts are made in London, England. Even though I have not tasted one in every state like Atlantan foodie, Alton Brown.

St John London Donut

St. John bakery; (and with a name like that) it’s curious if there is a heavenly connection.

Many years later, my brain is still telling me to have donuts. Well, I mean just one and I will be happy. We know they are not healthy at all, and that’s why I never want to make them at home. Every time I have one, it takes me back to my youth with neighborhood friends. Not to mention 20 pounds of memories with my job at the Burczynski Bakery (see Portland article). My Fitbit must register 4 miles that day to earn one. Don’t we all have one bad habit? I know, a donut is loaded with sugar and white flour…none of which I need.

Donuts are brain food, aren’t they?

Thanks to my friend Kathy who lives in London. She heard my donut cries for a long time after dropping several hints. We were actually on our way to the British Museum to have a special tour, (Archeology supports the Bible). Donuts are brain food to learn by!

Donuts are warm hugs from the past

The place was a huge surprise to me; under the railway arches, not even seating space to have a coffee. Never mind, I love utilitarian places for food anyway. I came for the donut, not a fancy shop. ( 72 Druid Street)

St john London

Although we had to eat them on the run, they were great sustenance. No line, imagine that, but it was Sunday and they were out of the custard filled ones and had few left. The rush for them came the day before. Rhubarb had to suffice for the moment, but I would have to come back for the custard one.

St John Bakery

Donuts have been around forever, every country has one…Zepole, oily cakes, fried dough. They beat out cupcakes and bagels. They are not a fad, they are here to stay.

Who makes custard better than the Brits?

Tell me where? They make custard sauce, custard pudding and custard filling…

One week later, on a rainy day, we ended up at the St John’s Bar & Restaurant in the Smithfield area.

St John

Where the newly renovated buildings sit nicely with the old— creating a bit of the past with the present. (26 St John Street)

St John Bakery


The simplicity of the restaurant (former smokehouse) was bare, whitewashed walls. Here it’s “nose-to-tail “ eating! Not really my favorite. But we eased into the experience.

St John

My husband was game for a few things, especially their famous bone marrow. He scooped around to release the hot jellied marrow and then spread it on the sourdough toast. Parsley salad was a contrasting taste. He had the healthy choice; protein, primal brain food!

St John

When he was completely done, he put it on the floor for the dog who was drooling over it the entire time. Yes, it was that kind of floor and dogs are allowed everywhere!

dog at St John

Dog and a bone St John

I had some of his healthy & delicious soup (celeriac with beans),

(celeriac with beans) St John

along with what I consider a snack…the classic Welsh Rarebit (cheese toast).

Welsh Rarebit St John Donuts - warm hugs from the past

Pretty spicy stuff, spread over toast; sharp cheddar, mustard powder, cayenne pepper and Guinness, extremely rich. Beer would have been better with this instead of wine. The donuts were not far from our table

St John donut Donuts - warm hugs from the past

…and I still had room for one. I can’t say anything more…

Michelin donut at St John Donuts - warm hugs from the past

Just look at that donut, “creme patissiere, and chantilly cream” honed to perfection! No improvement needed. Just perfect!

This donut can not compare with the boston cream I had at Voodoo in Portland. See for yourself!

Michelin Donut at St John Donuts - warm hugs from the past

If you love donuts like I do…tell me what is your special flavor and where can I get them!

This Bar-Restaurant-Bakery is so special I had to write a separate post. See more on London on my “6 great things to do in London.”