The Cult of the Cinnamon Buns – how LOAM has become a coffee shop fave

Written by Eleni Spirou

It would be easy to miss Loam. It is smaller size and the fact that it is nestled quietly in The Lanes. However, behind its dusty peach façade is a secret pastry lusted after by all those that try it. Having opened in 2022, Loam isn’t just a great new addition to Brighton’s billowing hospitality scene. It’s a community hub for coffee-loving regulars, and pastry fiends alike.

On a recent visit to Loam, I skipped through the doors feeling excited for my sugary morning fix, only to be disappointed as I scanned the counter. There were perfectly coiffed pastries and cakes in all shapes and sizes, but one was crucially missing. 

“Have you got any cinnamon buns?” I asked hesitantly. “Nope” said the barista, “none today I’m afraid.”

It turns out that only Francesco, one of the owners, knows the top-secret recipe and Tuesday and Wednesday are his days off. 

“There’s a cult following for those buns!” A regular chimes in. He sips a batch brew whilst stroking his dog laying attentively under the table. He chats jovially with the barista about the differences between Colombian and Rwandan coffees. Disappointed, I ordered a pistachio croissant and a matcha latte. I needn’t have been so disappointed, as the pistachio croissant was an extremely tasty consolation prize. During my short stay in the cafe, at least three groups of people came in asking, “Any cinnamon buns today?”. All of them left with slumped shoulders and an air of dejection.

I vowed to return another day, hoping to successfully acquire one of those elusive buns. On my second visit I am more optimistic. The sunlight leaks through the gaps in the buildings as I stroll down the lanes mid-morning. Upon arrival at Loam, I am greeted by the tantalising smell. Although the cinnamon buns are nowhere to be seen on the counter, their presence is given away by the rich smell of childhood dreams and Christmas Eve wishes. 

“You don’t have any cinnamon buns by any chance, do you?” I ask eagerly. “Yes, actually. They will be ready in two minutes.” 

On this occasion, another equally chatty regular enters the store whilst I’m patiently waiting for my bun. He strikes up a conversation with Francesco who mans the counter solo. “This batch brew is so malty” he says, “it would go so well with the cinnamon buns!” He eagerly recommends this combination to another couple who come in and are instantly enamoured by the sight of the cinnamon buns. 

The illusive bun finally arrives before me on a stylish plate that matches the cohesive, Scandi design of the whole shop. It is like no other cinnamon bun I have had the pleasure of trying. Lathered in a sticky cinnamon filling that oozes over the sides, the doughy layers curl around each other as if in an embrace.

They are served with a seriously decadent Biscoff butter that glides across each layer, melting almost instantly and vanishing as it is spread. Having spent a few months living in Copenhagen, I like to think I have tried some of the best buns in the business. None are quite like this. I savour every bite, having to refrain myself from licking the plate clean. In the time it takes me to indulge in this little bundle of luxury, most of the freshly baked batch is already gone as regulars swarmed in to get their cinnamon fix.

Francesco tells me that he bakes around 20 buns each weekday and up to 40 on the weekends. And do they sell out?

“Everyday, yes and they are gone before 12pm most days.” 

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Loam’s cinnamon buns is their elusiveness. The anticipation of walking through the doors, unsure if they will be there waiting for you, makes them taste even more delicious when you finally meet again. They are like a mythical creature: hard to track down but always worth it.

@loam.brighton

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