I know, it’s a mouthful but let me tell you, the vatrushka is most certainly a delicious mouthful. As a sidebar, and an introduction, I must say that Victoria Stewart’s (@vicstewart on Twitter) food contributions to the London Evening Standard are not to be missed. Her taste buds are spot on and her recommendations haven’t let us down so far. So if you see her byline in the London Evening Standard, read it! She has thoroughly impressed me especially since I once saw her attempt to demolish a heart-stoppingly huge burger from Red Dog.
I first heard of vatrushkas via Victoria Stewart’s article on ES. It was an article about Easter bakes featuring hot cross buns. It featured Karaway, a Russian bakery in Stratford City Westfield and its featured pastry was the vatrushka. The article piqued my curiosity because Karaway is one of the kiosks near the escalators on one end of the Ground Floor of Westfied Stratford City, near Waitrose. Their breads always look good and inviting but I’d never tried any of their products before. The Premier Inn at Stratford is a favourite of ours for city breaks because the rates are always good and the rooms are really good for what is classed as a budget hotel. When you stay at Premier Inn in Stratford, it’s easy to walk into the mall when you come from the hotel and a walk past the Karaway kiosk is almost always a certainty, unless you take a different, more circuitous route!
So on the weight of Vic Stewart’s article, I tore the pages of the article to reread when I got home and vowed to try Karaway when I had the opportunity. And, oh boy, I was definitely NOT disappointed!
A vatrushka is described as a ring of dough with a creamy filling in the middle with the addition of fruits in the middle. For my first foray into the vatrushka world, I chose the peach vatrushka (mostly because I liked peach danishes and I imagined it to be similar to a danish). I usually split things with Alan and this time was no different. As I sliced into the pastry, it felt very dense, almost like a bagel, and I struggled to slice through it (to be fair, I was using one of those disposable wooden knives, so it wasn’t exactly the sharpest of slicing tools!). So I was worried. I was worried that each bite of the vatrushka was going to sink like a leaden weight and I would be digesting my yeasty breakfast untl the early afternoon! But as I started to chew on what seemed to me as a slightly dense briochy bread, it wasn’t as heavy as I thought! It was different from a Danish because a Danish is made from flaky pastry. The vatrushka base is more bread than pastry but was lovely and light and the filling was yummy creaminess! I enjoyed every bite of it. I love peach danishes but I think there will be days when the peach vatrushka will give my favourite peach danish a run for it’s money. I washed it down with a capuccino and I must say, it was one of the more satisfying breakfasts I’ve had!
We also tried the cinnamon apple bun, because the cinnamony breads are hard to resist! I wasn’t disappointed. It was DELISH! It was the perfect combination of sugar, cinnamon, apple and a hint of cardamom all enclosed in their signature briochy bread.
After that first taste, we went back to get some more Karaway goodies. They make delicious cakes too! Really, really good cakes that are airy but oh-so-decadent! Everything can be washed down by really good (and not watery weak) coffee of your choice.
The little Karaway kiosk offers good coffee that goes very well with their delicious bakes! The staff are so pleasant as well, always ready with a smile and an answer to the most simple of questions! So if you’re ever in that neck of the woods, stop and sit down and have a cup of coffee and one of Karaway’s excellent bakes! It’s not only amazingly good, it’s also amazing value for money!