No matter how many Christmas puddings, roast potatoes, pigs-in-blankets and chocolate oranges you've had in a day, there's always room for one more mince pie.
Even if you're feeling as stuffed as the turkey, London's top restaurants and bakeries are producing versions of the festive treat that will make you want a whole box to yourself.
From deep fried delicacies to mince pies with actual ground meat, these are some of the best mince pies you can treat yourself to in the capital this Christmas.
Fergus Henderson’s world-famous restaurants are already renowned for their Eccles cakes – flakey pastry parcels stuffed with spiced currants, and served with a slice of Lancashire cheese. A little bit of Christmas wizardry later, and the foundations of this famous dish become a seasonally fit mince pie, with crumbly, buttery shortcrust pastry. They are available to take away at the Neal’s Yard, Druid Street, Smithfield and Shoreditch locations, with the option to eat in at the latter two, and enjoy them warm with a dollop of clotted cream.
Various locations, stjohnrestaurant.com
Robin Gill’s Nine Elms restaurant boasts its own in-house bakery, so it’s unsurprising that mince pies made it onto the menu for its first Christmas. The pies at Darby’s have been devised by head baker Matt Thornton, and feature dried fruit topped with a layer of creme patissiere, all encased in a shortcrust pastry. For extra festive aesthetic, you can even take home a selection in a wicker basket.
3 Viaduct Gardens, SW11 7AY, darbys-london.com
Hackney hotspot Jolene takes baking seriously – and that means preparing the mix for its mincemeat nearly a year in advance. They save a portion of the stuffing – a blend of dry fruit, rum, brandy and beef fat – from the previous Christmas and use it in the following year’s mix for some seriously well-stewed flavour. Puff pastry is the casing of choice, which is covered in brown sugar before baking for a caramelised finish.
21 Newington Green, N16 9PU, jolenen16.com
The Quality Chop House
As its name suggests, The Quality Chop House isn't averse to a bit of mincemeat – it’s the fruity sort that is taking the reins this Christmas though. The mince filling here is traditional, but comes topped with sweet almond frangipane and is finished with a brandied almond crust for a layer of extra crunch.
88-94 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3EA, thequalitychophouse.com
Flor opened its doors to some meaty critical acclaim this year for its baking skills, but its sister restaurant Lyle’s has been playing a similar game for years. Flor will this year be adopting its predecessor’s penchant for making its mince pies with actual ground beef mixed with the more familiar dried fruit, apple, brandy and spices. The curious pies will be available at both restaurants, alongside a vegetarian option made with poached quince.
1 Bedale Street, SE1 9AL, florlondon.com
Perennially popular bakery Konditor knows how to sweeten up a celebration. While its cakes and brownies hit the mark all year round, Christmas time is all about its golden, flaky mince pies filled with a vegetarian mincemeat made with sultanas, apples, orange oil and vegetable suet. Vegans can even get involved with a dairy-free version made using margerine.
Various locations, konditor.co.uk
Holborn Dining Room
Holborn Dining Room chef Calum Franklin has quite the prowess with pies, and has even launched an open kitchen dedicated to the British classic at the five star Rosewood London hotel. This Christmas, the British brasserie is serving up Franklin’s superlative pastry with a traditional spiced mince meat filling and Cornish clotted cream on the side. They’re not the most pocket-friendly pies on the list, mind – a full sized portion of Franklin’s festive creation will set you back £9.
252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN, holborndiningroom.com
Jacob the Angel
The festive-sounding moniker of this Covent Garden bakery actually has limited biblical background – it’s named after a Lebanese bloke called Jacob who started London’s first coffee house, the Angel Inn, back in 1651. Cakes and coffee come from the team behind The Palomar and The Barbary, in a menu inspired by the Middle East, where the recipe for mince pies originated. The mince pies at Jacob the Angel used mincemeat flavoured with apple and carraway seeds, and are topped with either a pastry star or angel.
16 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP, jacobtheangel.co.uk
Pophams has a lot to celebrate this Christmas. The picture-perfect pastry connoisseur has expanded from one to three London sites in the last year, and the trio are celebrating the festive season with a unique take on the the mince pie. Its version stuffs mincemeat inside a croissant cup, which is served warm and topped with both clotted cream and icing sugar.
N1, E8, WC1, pophamsbakery.com
Mince pies come in all shapes and sizes – but this is the only one on the list that comes with its own Michelin star. Clapham restaurant Trinity holds the prestigious accolade, and will be serving a mince pie dessert this festive season. Mincemeat that has been aged since autumn is encased in goose fat pastry, and served alongside a piece of Cropwell Bishop Stilton and precise quinelles of Chantilly cream and Christmas pudding-flavoured butter.
4 The Polygon, SW4 0JG, trinityrestaurant.co.uk
Gail’s Bakery is pulling out all the stops this Christmas, with festive-themed bakes cramming its many counters. Its mince pies feature thick, buttery shortcrust pastry, topped with a sprinkling of demerara sugar for an extra crunchy exterior. With plentiful locations around the capital, they’re bound to be one of the easier pie pitstops to locate while driving home for Christmas.
Various locations, gailsbread.co.uk
The mince pie is going Mexican at Thomasina Miers’ popular group of fiesta-throwing restaurants. The pie here isn’t actually a pie at all – it’s an empanada, a pasty-like turnover that is usually stuffed with savoury fillings in its native South America. At Wahaca, the mincemeat for its empanada has been infused with mezcal instead of the traditional brandy, and is served with brandy butter ice cream.
Various locations, wahaca.co.uk
Fortnum’s Lodge at Skate
For classic British recipes, you can always rely on Fortnum & Mason – and these mince pies can be enjoyed alongside another wintry treat. The historic grocers look after the food offering at Skate, the ice rink currently taking over the magnificent courtyard of Somerset House. Head into the Fortnum’s Lodge to enjoy its own-brand classic shortcrust pastry, cognac-infused mince pies with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA, fortnumandmason.com
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Cronut creator Dominique Ansel is having plenty of festive fun at his London bakery. As well as a Christmas afternoon tea featuring an edible Santa, he’s also styling his mince pies after Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Flavoured with spiced currants, cider and clementine jam, the pie is topped with white chocolate eyes, milk chocolate antlers and a glowing red or brown chocolate nose.
17-21 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9RP, dominiqueansellondon.com
Black Axe Mangal
Heavy metal-themed Turkish restaurant Black Axe Mangal loves a bit of rebellion, and is doing something particularly anarchic to its mince pie offering this year. Its fruit-stuffed pastry parcel comes deep fried and crispy, served alongside a scoop of bourbon and honey ice cream – that’ll get you on Santa’s naughty list.
156 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP, blackaxemangal.com