Poppy seed brioche roses

A pretty, sweet-savoury treat from Karaway Bakery

Image: Regula Ysewijn

There are certain foods at Borough Market that come with some gentle words of warning: not because they’re dangerous, or anything less than delicious, but because they can catch you out if you don’t look lively. Artisan du Chocolat’s salted caramel balls are one such example, liable to send caramel streaming down your chin should you attempt to bite one in half rather than pop the whole thing in; another is Karaway Bakery’s poppy seed brioche.

“You need to check your teeth after eating,” instructs Nadia, Karaway’s founder. “The poppy seeds can get stuck, which isn’t a good look,” she laughs. Yet even if you fail to heed her warning, the embarrassment of black specks on your teeth is but a small price to pay for such a pillowy soft, savoury sweet delight.

“They are made with brioche dough, which we roll out and brush with a mix of poppy seeds, sugar and butter,” Nadia continues. “Then we roll it up into the shape of a rose.” The result is whorls of rich, merry brioche, laced with butter and encrusted with black seeds, which crackle pleasingly as you sink your teeth in.

Muse as we munch
Is it savoury or sweet? We mused as we munched, for the poppy seeds are less nutty, more herbaceous. “I toast it and spread it with butter for breakfast,” says Nadia—a move that favours a sweeter state of mind. Here at Friday feeling, however, we found ourselves with a more savoury craving. We had some cheese—a pecorino from Emilia Romagna—and in a moment of inspiration decided to marry the two; the sharp, citrusy pecorino and the aromatic folds of the brioche. The resulting flavour will blow all thoughts of checking your teeth from your mind. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.