I cannot believe how debased the art of baking is in this country. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few decent bakeries in London, but if you go into even quite an up-market supermarket they will have a wide selection of breads with all kinds of flours, flavours and seeds all of which are utter shit. Going into a branch of the ubiquitous Gregg’s is to suffer a fate worse than death. Somehow, between them this unholy alliance has managed to rid themselves of all other competition thus leaving us with little choice but to accept their pap.
Food can not get any simpler than bread, yet few things are more delightful than sinking one’s teeth into a fresh baguette, bloomer or boule. As the inheritors of 7000 years of civilisation, we have a right to expect fine, properly made bread to be easily available locally, daily and affordably. In Britain this seems to be far too much to ask.
If you you are lucky enough to live near, don’t mind either travelling for hours, or eating stale bread I suggest you try the Exeter Street Bakery (15 Exeter Street WC2E, 1b Argyll Road W8, or selected branches of Waitrose). Degustibus is also worth investigating, they have a shop in Borough Market.