Gail’s is a well established bakery with branches all over London, and one recently opened near me. Their brownie goes a little off-piste (but only a little) with its nuts: it’s a chocolate and pecan brownie.
Summer has really come to London suddenly. It’s 33 degrees today! Or, if you’re American, it’s really hot today! There’s queues around the block for all the swimming pools, all the shops are selling out of ice-cream and cold drinks, all the coffee shops are empty but selling iced lattes to go, etc, etc. I came up with a wizard wheeze to get around this by going to the local hospital and donating blood: an hour in an air-conditioned room, being encouraged to drink a whole bunch of cold fluid, what’s not to like? On the way back, I got that rumbling in my stomach that only brownies could satisfy, and wouldn’t you know it, Gail’s turned out to be open until 7pm.
I’ve never been to this particular Gail’s before, but I used to frequent the one in Blackheath semi-regularly – it was convenient when my girlfriend lived in Blackheath. Now she doesn’t, and she’s not my girlfriend anymore, so it’s somewhat less convenient! However, when my brownie today was delivered to my table, I realised I had probably eaten one of these before – vague distant memories started to stir in my head of it – but not recently enough to really remember what it was like.
I really like the texture of pecans, to the extent that for about a year my breakfast cereal was the same brand of ‘maple and pecan crunch’ and I never got tired of it. I think they make a great addition to desserts which is why I was surprised to realise I’d never seen the chocolate-and-pecan combination on a brownie outside of this one. Chocolate and walnut is much more common in brownies, and outside of that pecan seems to be an unusual nut to pair with chocolate: think about how there are chocolate bars with peanut, almond, walnut, hazelnut, probably some others I’m not thinking of immediately. But this brownie has pecans, how exciting! Let’s try it out.
Taste: Very rich and chocolate-y, nicely balanced with the relatively bland pecans. It started to become a bit too much towards the end of the brownie, but not in an awful way. 8/10
Texture: Great texture, with a good crust on the top. The pecans really bring this alive. The fact that the brownie is covered in them means every bite ends up with pieces of pecan mixed in with a soft and fudgey brownie base. Top brownie with a top, uh, topping. 9/10
Presentation: It looks excellent – see that continuous cross-section – and was served on a white plate with a fork, in a very civilized fashion. Gonna give this the whole 5/5
Value: This was £3.70, but I noticed that it would have been £3 to take away. I guess this means I need to split the value difference a bit: it’s a bit pricey for the former option, but it did mean I got to sit in Gail’s and write this blog, out of the sun and with good music playing. I reckon it’s good, but not great, value. 7/10
Fudge Factor: Buying and eating this brownie was just a really nice experience. The inside of Gail’s is aesthetically pleasing without feeling cluttered. The staff were friendly and polite and also provided fun eavesdropping fodder as it was a slow afternoon. What a pleasant way to spend half an hour on a Saturday afternoon. 4/5
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
Heck yeah, this is a great brownie. The standard rule about nut allergies applies, I guess, but otherwise go buy and eat it.
Man, it’s kind of weird that VAT applies differently to food depending on whether you eat in or take away.