There are good bakeries, great bakeries, and then there’s The Dusty Knuckle.
The Dalston bakery-slash-café has garnered a cult following thanks to its next-level loaves, near-perfect pastries and sandwiches the size of your head.
Hidden down a graffitied side street and housed in a former car park (the same site as the original 40-foot shipping container it inhabited as a bakery back in the day), the space is an urban oasis, of exposed brick, steel light fittings and hanging plants. Shelves are stacked with sourdough loaves (the signature potato sourdough is a must-try) and a glass counter displays glossy buns and other sweet bakes.
When the weather’s nice, nab a spot at one of the chequer-clothed tables in the charming yard out the front and enjoy one of London’s finest sandwiches in the sun. The menu changes daily, but usually features two heavy hitters — think the likes of porchetta with rhubarb, apple chutney, red onion and kale, or roasted beetroot with red cabbage, dill, zaatar and whipped feta, served between two slices of oily, bubbly focaccia. These filled-to-the-brim bad boys aren’t for the faint of heart. And don’t even attempt to eat one gracefully.
Alongside those, you’ll also find classic toasties and soup on weekdays or an all-day breakfast menu on weekends, featuring bacon sarnies, homemade granola with compote and yoghurt, and toast with spreads.
In the same way that The Dusty Knuckle’s sandwiches are more than mere sandwiches, The Dusty Knuckle is more than a mere bakery or café. It’s a social enterprise that endeavours to help at-risk youth (including those with a history of criminality) transform their lives through on-the-job training and mentorship.
It’s feel-good food.
NOTE: The Dusty Knuckle is open now. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
The Dusty Knuckle | Abbot St, E8 3DP
About those other great bakeries… here are the best bakeries in London