The Best Mince Pies in SW London and Surrey 2023

The Best Mince Pies in SW London and Surrey 2023

Tara Robinson reports on a festive tradition…

Yesterday saw the grand return of what has now become an annual Time & Leisure tradition: the festive mince pie tasting afternoon, in partnership with Love Wimbledon.

Each year, the question of where to find the best mince pie in south west London and Surrey becomes a hotly debated topic in the office. In the spirit of fairness (and fun) we host a blind tasting and put the answer up to a panel of judges, who are burdened with the very serious and responsible task of eating as many mince pies as they can.

Clients and friends gathered in Tampopo Wimbledon, stepping into a veritable festive tableau. The fabulous restaurant was festooned in Christmas decoration, from the gorgeous Christmas tree coated in baubles to the ruffles of holly that circled the bar. Complementary teas and coffees were served out – including an absolutely gorgeous Vietnamese coffee, made with a splash of condensed milk and tasting like a dream.

Nine plates were laid out on the long table by the window, each bearing a bundle of mince pies from a different independent bakery or patisserie. As has become de rigeur for this event, guests were each given a score sheet, upon which they were to rank each pie on various metrics: pastry, filling, pastry-to-filling ratio and appearance.

A bottle of Fantail Rum was cracked open to assist with the tasting – Time & Leisure’s very own rum brand. Glasses of the spiced rum were handed out – distinct for its flavoursome notes of manukah honey, which proved to pair excellently with the citrus and spice of the festive pies.

As the tasting began, it became clear that each pie shone in its own way. Bakehouse Putney – which is rebranding in the New Year to Harvey’s Bakehouse – was presented gorgeously, with a decorative pastry star on top and a light squiggle of white icing like droplets of snow. The Elys third floor restaurant mince pie scored highly for appearance and a super soft, light pastry.

The French Table – last year’s winner – also scored very well this year, noted for its distinctive crumbly pastry topping and cinnamon spice.

The Luso Brasil gluten free mince pie (available from Love Wimbledon Market) was remarked upon by one judge for having the best filling, while Raynes Park-based Philippa’s Kitchen’s entry was described as “nicely balanced in all categories” and scored highly across the board. Cuppa Chai’s pies were noted to have very tasty pastry and for its appealing traditional look, while Cavan Bakery took the cake (or, shall we say, the pie) for the best pastry-to-filling ratio.

The judges were tasked with sniffing out which pie was the supermarket-bought one – and it proved harder than thought, thanks to the tastiness of M&S finest! This was from the bakery as opposed to the boxed variety.

Overall the winner of the blind tasting was revealed as The French Table – second winners in a row! Every pie was delicious in its own way, however, and a light was truly shone on the brilliance of our local bakeries and patisseries.

Huge thanks to our fellow judges from Love Wimbledon, Merton Chamber of Commerce, Elys, Swords Travel, Polka Theatre, Lucie White & Co.

Click here to read our full guide to the best bakeries and patisseries in south west London and Surrey