Playing the long game: Longboys

What happens when high-end patisserie meets doughnuts? You get light brioche finger doughnuts with handmade fillings, glazes and toppings that embrace seasonal fruits, fine chocolate and classic flavour combinations. That’s exactly what Longboys is bringing to the UK doughnut scene.

Lavish but, unlike some doughnut purveyors in the capital, Longboys isn’t offering cheap sugar.

“We’re more about flavour and less about sweetness,” explains director/chef Heather Kaniuk. “Our dough is baked three to four times a day and all our fillings are made from scratch, so we can use less sugar.”

The same goes for the soft-serve ice cream on offer. As for the coffee and soft drinks on the menu, Longboys takes care to choose brands that align with its values. As such, Karma Cola is the soft drink brand of choice, while the caffeine comes from Assembly Coffee.

Why doughnuts? Longboys’ investor hoped to offer high-end patisserie but Kaniuk and fellow director/chef Graham Hornigold felt it wouldn’t work in the Boxpark setting. Doughnuts, meanwhile, are more accessible and on-trend.

“Both of us wanted to get back to our roots and do something we are passionate about. It’s amazing having high-profile jobs but it takes you a little bit away from the love and the passion,” she says. “This also allows us to connect with the customers.”

Longboys has already amassed several regulars, many of whom like to suggest new flavours. Last month, this resulted in the creation of a tiramisu doughnut.

And like many of today’s food outlets, Longboys has vegan-friendly options although Kaniuk admits she doesn’t shout about these credentials, preferring to let the flavours do the talking.

What the customers see isn’t even half the story. Housed behind the serving counter is a kitchen built with the future in mind. “We’ve got equipment that we’re not fully utilising right now, but have the space to make this our production unit in the future,” says Kaniuk.

“Sustainable and organic” expansion is already on the cards as Longboys is set to open a unit in a department store in the coming weeks, with sites in central London in the pipeline as well. This will require more staff. The duo currently employ a pastry chef and barista, but expansion will require the addition of night bakers to ensure there’s enough time for distribution to the new sites.

Longboys, Boxpark Wembley

Who: Heather Kaniuk and Graham Hornigold, directors/chefs at Longboys

What: High-end patisserie meets doughnuts. Both Kaniuk and Hornigold have had extensive careers in high-end patisserie, having worked for Michelin-starred Hakkasan Group and had roles as executive pastry chefs for renowned hotels. This passion is now being used to handcraft brioche finger doughnuts with delectable toppings.

Where: 18 Olympic Way, Wembley, HA9 0JT

When: Having set up consultancy Smart Patisserie in 2017, the duo opened Longboys in March 2019.

Why: “We want to keep the standards that we have always worked at and bring that high quality to the masses at an accessible price point,” says Kaniuk.

Doughnuts: Longboys’ flavours are “traditional British with a twist” with apple crumble, lemon meringue, peanut butter & jelly and banoffee among the 10 variants available daily. 

Boxpark: “It’s a great location and there’s a lot of investment in the area,” says Kaniuk. “The Boxpark community is amazing – there’s plenty of camaraderie amongst the vendors.”

Packaging: The logo and packaging was designed by Kaniuk’s sister. “We wanted the branding to be fun, hence the bright colours and fun logo, but it also had to have a luxury feel to it.” 

Caffeine hit: Longboys has partnered with Brixton-based roastery Assembly Coffee. It also offers homemade soft-serve ice cream and Karma Cola soft drinks.

Kitchen: Longboys uses a Rondo dough roller, a Unox combi oven, a Tom Chandley prover – chosen as the trays can be put into the fryer – and a Hobart mixer with interchangeable bowls.

Origin: The Longboys name stems from the finger doughnuts produced on-site. “Although traditional in England, people don’t identify with them quite as much as round ones,” says Kaniuk.

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