There’s something truly beautiful about a good doughnut. Pillowy pale – gold dough, a straightforward glazed ring or filled with jam and dusted with sugar. But they can be difficult to get hold of, especially with the increasingly ubiquitous Krispy Kreme commanding more and more attention. There are three separate outlets in Glasgow now (three more than any city needs), punting those sickly, overpriced rings of sugar – the best part of a Krispy Kreme do(ugh)nut is the hole in the middle.
Yorkhill’s Tantrum Doughnuts doesn’t have Krispy Kreme’s quasi-mythological American glamour, but it does have properly good doughnuts. Walking into the shop, the first thing I see is a handful of doughnuts in different flavours and fillings, displayed behind glass on the counter like precious museum objects. Some flavours are regular and some seasonal, and there’s also a decent range of drinks (some of these are seasonal too – hot butterbeer!) and milkshakes. The doughnuts certainly look like everything a doughnut should be: soft brioche-style dough, pale golden with a beautiful light band stretching across the centre. The flavours are great, too—while a pistachio and hibiscus artisan doughnut may be the most West End thing I’ve ever come across, it works so well, delicate and floral, that I am entirely on board.
The crème brûlée, a vanilla custard filled doughnut gussied up with a crunchy caramelised topping, is a definitive highlight. The vanilla-flecked custard is velvety smooth in that sweet spot between disconcerting wobbliness and so free-flowing that more ends up in your lap than your mouth, and the brûléed top yields with an infinitely satisfying crunch. There are a couple of places where the blowtorch has caught the doughnut underneath to create gorgeous black spots, the char highlighting its delicate sweetness.
There’s a real focus here on local freshness, too. The dough uses Ayrshire free-range eggs, and the raspberry jam inside Tantrum’s doughnuts is made in-house from Scottish berries. It’s very clear that the jam doughnuts here occupy territory far from the Greggs pink jammie – the filling is fruity without being over-sweet; the sticky-fingered sugar coating almost like sherbet.
Not everything is perfect, though: the cake-based ‘old fashioned’ doughnuts look (and taste) a little flat and underwhelming next to their yeasted siblings, and the hot chocolate could do with being a few shades more chocolatey. But when everything else is so good it’s difficult to mind, especially when the hot chocolate comes crowned with a gorgeously pillowy marshmallow, huge and homemade, the underside melting silkily into the froth. The kind of marshmallow that looks like it wouldn’t mind if you curled up on it to stress-nap and escape your essays.
I may be a tiny bit besotted with Tantrum. The flavours, the beautifully soft brioche, the marshmallows. Would it be hyperbolic to say that they’ve managed to create art out of fried dough? Possibly. But this is about as close as doughnuts can get to an art form, and best of all it’s right here in the west end. Eat your heart out, Krispy Kreme.