Biju Bubble Tea Room

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Nick (Founder of Biju) makes a shy appearance on eatwithsteph! (pictured far right)

History and background:

Drinks courtesy of Biju Bubble Tea.

For those who know me, you would remember when I would fanatically queue up for Chatime weekly due to consistent cravings for some Milk tea… those days were long gone once I found out how unhealthy those drinks really were.

By word of mouth however, friends mentioned of a new bubble tea place in town and before you know it, I was hooked on Roasted Ooolong Milk Tea!

Opened by Nick Phan late 2014, he introduced a new, healthier bubble tea concept to Soho with organic products and freshly brewed as soon as you order.

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Biju is the real deal. See the tea leaves brewed in front of you in action.

Many people misinterpret what bubble tea is, which they deem as a drink with bubbles in it (with the bubbles referring to the tapioca pearls).

Bubble tea neatly explained by justopenedlondon are actually:

the practice of blending natural flavours, colours and ingredients into one of many types of tea, shaken and not stirred

So the tapioca pearls are an add-on!

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Note the coffee/ espresso machine on the counter, there’s no use of powder, nothing is ready-made!

The cosy and uniquely decorated bubble tea room houses up to  30, where you’ll be greeted by friendly and enthusiastic staff upon your arrival.

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My ‘eatwithsteph’ temps, regular eatwithsteph companions Tom, Fia and Louise

The drinks:

The following drinks have been customised by Biju, with toppings and flavours they recommend which would complement each other. A description of these drinks are very well explained by them here.

The pricing for your typical bubble tea:

  1. Regular (includes 1 topping of your choice) £3.45
  2. Large £3.95
  3. Toppings 50p
  4. Hot teas 50p extra
  5. Coconut water 50p extra
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Vivid and vibrant colours! Little did we know how many bubble teas we would be drinking…

Intense flavours are brought out by the fresh brew with specially imported tea leaves, alongside the use of ‘nectars’ instead of white sugar and organic milk, Biju creates a whole new level of high quality, aromatic bubble tea.

Toppings are made in-house too, from your expected tapioca pearls to the popping fruits in mango pineapple, guava, Asian lime and other flavours.

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Lychee Coconut Water (Iced) with toppings: Basil Seeds and Pearls
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Black Mousse Tea (Iced) with topping of choice: Egg Pudding

Mousse teas are astonishingly dense and flavourful but at the same time, surprisingly light. One of eatwithsteph’s recommended!

The Hong Kong Milk Tea below is truly reminiscent of the teas people from Hong Kong brew, another favourite of mine – and a heavily recommended one.

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The Classic: Hong Kong Milk Tea with topping of choice: Tapioca Pearls
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Honeydew Melon Milk Tea (Iced) with topping of choice: Popping Banana and milk of choice: Almond Milk
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Matcha Milk tea (iced) with Milk of choice: Almond Topping of choice: Basil Seeds Sugar of choice: Honey
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Pineapple Coconut Water (iced) with topping of choice: Basil Seeds
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Matcha Milk Tea (iced) with topping of choice: Pearls

I avoid matcha drinks in London as I feel they can be so terribly misrepresented, but no thick wallop of sugar is added here, you can really taste the matcha in your drink to its bitter extent.

If you want something very light after your meal, the wintermelon with herbal grass jelly is a good option, its light – but sweet.

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Wintermelon Tea (iced) with topping of choice: Black Herbal Grass Jelly
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Honeydew Melon Milk Tea (iced) with topping of choice: Egg Pudding
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Taro Milk Tea (Iced) with topping of choice: Pearls
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Apple Tea with topping of choice: Mango Jelly
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Its the hot teas! Pictured left to right: Genmaicha, Matcha, Hong Kong Milk Tea, and Roasted Oolong Milk Tea
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Genmaicha Milk Tea

Of course we had some hot drinks too, and I really can’t pinpoint a favourite here, the Hong Kong Milk tea, Gemaicha Milk and Matcha Milk tea were so aromatic I almost finished the drinks by myself…

Something that I would get even now despite the summer!

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Matcha Milk Tea

Bits and bobs:

  • There’s wifi, ask for the password if you need
  • You can always customise your bubble tea at non-peak times
  • All sugar levels above were at normal levels – these too can be customised
  • Quiqup, Jinn and Deliveroo deliver bubble teas to your doorstep
  • Say hi to Norbert when you’re in, he’s the friendly supervisor there!

Price: £

Click to add a blog post for Biju Bubble Tea Room on Zomato

Bao London

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Founders, Erchen Chang, Shing Tat and Wai Ting Chung’s inspiration of Bao London comes from Taipei’s street stalls
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Photo taken by Melody Yau – Lexington Street, Soho

History and Background:

A pillowy soft cloudy steamed bun. Ours is made using milk.

Bao themselves, couldn’t have given us a better definition of Bao.

Hirata Buns (or Gua Bao) has been the latest food trend in London over the course of last year, following the burger craze and the ramen bar joints, London has become somewhat a foodie’s capital. These type of buns have slowly materialised onto London restaurant menus and can be ordered from Shoryu, Shoryu pop-up (outside JapanCen), Ippudo, Rock Lobsta (Mahiki), Jubo, OntheBab (Shoreditch review here), Yum Buns, and Flesh and Buns (review here).

Keeping it short, Bao London has settled for solid ground after starting as a pop up over at Netil Market (for around a year). Queues at Netil Market can be seen time and time again in the media, rapidly becoming one of the best, if not, the best Gua Bao’s in London. There’s not much to giveaway with its simplistic website, the restaurant is small and dainty, but surprisingly spacious given the size, (it should fit between 20-25 people).

The meal:

Small plates are on offer, to mirror Taiwanese street style dining, with unique dishes such as Pig Blood Cake present on the menu.

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Peanut Milk £1.50 (Pretty pricy for a small drink, but I loved this!)
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40 Day Rump Cap, Aged White Soy Sauce £6.00

I’m a bit hesitant to ‘review’ anything since it has only just opened, but since my opinions are fresh in my head… I’m not a big fan of eating fatty bits, so I thought the 40 day Rump Cap was okaay. I also couldn’t taste the full flavour of the century egg (dish below) that my mum makes so well with congee at home with, the plate was too bitty for my liking.

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Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce £5.00
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I loved how succulent and tender this was and seasonably sauced
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Eryngli Mushroom and Century Egg £4.00
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Confit Pork Bao £4.50

The Confit Pork Bao was my favourite for the night, with shaved shallot, pork belly braised really well, soft and tender, complementing the steamed buns very well.

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That PORK BELLY (Mel, you would love this).
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Aubergine, and Wonton Crisp £3.50
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The won ton crisps that came with the aubergine, you can make your own little canape!
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The second of the buns, Classic for £3.50

4 hour braised pork belly topped with preserved vegetables and peanut shavings gave it a sweet, finishing touch! The buns are truly soft and fluffly and surpass those I have eaten from Shoryu, and Flesh and Buns by a mile.

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The buns are on the small side, but its £3.50, expect small but by no means does this depict how great it tastes.
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Pig Blood Cake £3.50
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This was really salty, and I’ve never had pig blood before so not sure if it was the dish or that if pig blood is that salty…. we didn’t finish.
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Always a desserts person! The Fried Horlicks Ice-Cream Bao £4.00

The Horlicks ice-cream is genius, something different to the matcha, or pistachio gelatos I’ve been having. Can be quite fiddly especially if you’re sharing, I couldn’t chew through my bun, so I’m not sure about them. A bit on the hard side. (Menu states that it has condensed milk, not sure if I tasted any). This dessert is also reminiscent of Little Bao in Soho, Hong Kong, but Little Bao have really, really tiny portions in comparison.

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Tasty mess led to a request for forks!

Service: As I sat at the bar, they were attentive, service was prompt (aside from waiting for the ice-cream which took longer)

The bits and bobs:

  • No bookings, expect queues
  • Founders are looking into including three cup frog legs, and shaved ice desserts (such as mango, red beans with condensed milk) Exciting! 
  • Other recommendations include cold foam tea, and the Fried Chicken Bao looks appetizing
  • Takeaways available, open 12-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Monday to Fridays, Saturday 12pm-10.30pm

Price: £

Bao on Urbanspoon

Square Meal