Bubblewrap Waffles

Food courtesy of Bubblewrap

Written by Reuben (@reubenwee91)

Bubblewrap has been making the popular Hong Kong egg waffles in London since 2015 and has now officially opened a store at Wardour Street within Chinatown (Such a strategic and convenient location)! Tony and Sunny lead a small close-knit team with their venture. Incredibly inspiring people who had turned, what had started off as an Imperial College project, into a proper business.

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HOW TO ORDER:
You first take a pick from three different base waffles – plain, cocoa and matcha – and then match them with your favourite type of gelato and toppings.

Once you made your pick (and paid for it), one of the workers picks the order and starts making your waffle. Your choice of base (waffle) batter is then poured onto the unique waffle machine. It smells absolutely amazing as the pancake-like batter sizzles on the hot iron. When ready, it comes out hexagon in shape and is then folded into a cone to contain the gelato and toppings. My favourite is the matcha base, topped with dark chocolate gelato and bananas.

Crispy and light on the outside; soft and fluffy inside. You feel absolutely good about eating them on any kind of day in London.

Amanzi Tea

Amanzi Tea (28 of 28)
Widest selection of teas on Brewer Street, Soho

History and background:

Drinks courtesy of Amanzi Tea. 

With over 150 different types of loose-leaf tea, Amanzi Tea hosts one of the widest range of premium quality unique blends in London. Amanzi offers a range of white, black, green and exotic teas. Matcha latte and Matcha frappes also highlight the menu, a range from super-detoxing matcha ginger to matcha chai.

Classic teas are also available such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey, with food available sourced from Cocomaya. Situated just off Brewer Street is its second branch, with the original Amanzi located in Marylebone offering a similarly extravagant range of teas.

Calling themselves ‘tea-ristas’ you’ll come to find them to have extensive knowledge on the variety of teas. Tasting stations and tea tasters are widely on hand to help you pick your choice.

The drinks:

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A selection of little goodies can be consumed alongside your drink
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A range of drinks in cute bottles on display, tea sets and stirrers are available for purchase too
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Packets of premium quality loose leaf teas also available for purchase
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Bubble teas!

Priced competitively at £3.95, Amanzi offers flavours which differ from your usual Chatime, Vanilla, Cherry, Lychee and Passion Fruit caught my eye, along with fresh tapioca. Albeit a small range, it’s pretty impressive for one a tea specialist to offer signature drinks from Taiwan!

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A unique matcha bar at Amanzi

Per my previous comments, Amanzi has a matcha bar available which can also be ordered as a frappe. Brewer Street is well known for its Japanese restaurants and Chinatown is just a stones throw away, the addition of the matcha bar at Amanzi proves popular for its Asian locals.

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Beneficial blends such as Immuni-Tea, Detox and Hangover are some of the most popular on the menu.

What is great about Amanzi is the description of each tea it gives you,the benefits and ingredients are also listed out. Great transparency here.

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Popping bubbles are available too
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This one caught me eye! Black tea – Golden Monkey King
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An array of colours – all organic though!

We had a selection of fine teas such as Gyokuro (Japanese), Jasmine Pearl (Chinese) and Cinnamon Spice (Indian).

Gyokuro is a Japanese rarity of the top class. The tea gardens are covered with bamboo mats two weeks before plucking. The liquor has a deep green flavor with a hint of sweetness. This was one of my favourite teas of the day, sweet yet bitter at the same time. Enjoyed it hot.

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Our frappe, green tea, and bubble tea

We had the Matcha ginger lemonade, Green Dragon Bubble Tea with lychee popping bubbles, and Taro bubble tea.

Matcha Ginger lemonade is a virgin cocktail shaken with pure matcha, fresh lemon, ginger and agave. Served over ice. A very refreshing drink and great to quench your thirst.

Green Dragon Bubble Tea is based on matcha green tea, blended and served with customised bubbles – we chose the lychee ones. The lychee popping bubbles came as a surprise, full of flavour and aromatic. All the fruit bubbles are filled with various kinds of fruit juice and burst in your mouth when consumed.

Taro is a starchy edible tropical Asian fruit eaten worldwide. Tapioca pearls are made from the starch from the cassava root and are cooked fresh daily.

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I can never resist Taro!
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Gunpowder?

Bits and bobs:

  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Feeling queasy? They’ll know the right tea for you
  • Walking distance from both Oxford Circus station and Piccadilly
  • Plenty of seats and spacious too

Price: £

Amanzi Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Yauatcha [Desserts]

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The Yauatcha extravagance
History and Background:

1 Michelin Star

Desserts courtesy of Yauatcha Soho. For an introduction into Yauatcha, see here. Its a rarity to see the combination of Chinese dim sum and European patisserie work together, and Yauatcha is a true example of this.

This distinctive trait is what sets Yauatcha apart from the rest, a characteristic worthy of its accolades. The video below is shared from its own website, go ahead and click play!

Yauatcha Sweets from Touchfood on Vimeo.

Executive Head Chef Graham Hornigold leads the pastry team and highlights 3 main characteristics that the Yauatcha desserts have;

  1. Should act as a palate cleanser and should not be overly sweet
  2. Should be light, dim sum and Chinese food can be carb heavy, aerated mousses and citruses are therefore used
  3. Correct balance of flavours to off-set the strong flavours from the dim sum

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Rainbow coloured macarons
The desserts:

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The Yauatcha Mooncake, £3.00 retail, £6.20 served with a vanilla ice cream and crème anglaise
As we are currently nearing the Mid-Autumn festival period, Yauatcha has released their take on the moon cakes. Moon cakes have been a long standing tradition at the Mid Autumn Festivial and are regarded as an indispensable delicacy.  The exterior, made like the crumbly, sweet pastry you would typically have, filled with thick Chinese custard for its interior. Usually, traditional moon cakes consist of a lotus seed filling and main contain yolk from salted duck eggs.

These small Chinese pastries are spherical in shape to represent the full moon and unity.

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Passion fruit mango dome £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

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Chocolate pebble £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

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Red fruits fromage frais £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)
The Red Fruits Fromage Frais and Raspberry Delice caught our eyes, so these were the ones we ordered. The Raspberry Delice consisted of raspberry, Madirofolo chocolate and lychee. The intricate design with the touch of a silver leaf is always an eye opener. The mousse is light and the intense chocolate sponge can be tasted. The lychee pannacotta is creamy and complements well with the lychee flavoured ice cream. The Red Fruits Fromage Frais is equally as spectacular, fresh fruits and white strawberries are even used! The layer of pistachio at the bottom surprised me, adding further flavour to the dish. The mousse was light and fluffy with a subtle hint of soft cheese.

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Raspberry delice £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

Yauatcha (50 of 69)
Raspberry delice £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

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Chinese custard filled moon cake
Our choice of cocktail came from the Hakkasan Signature – the Earth Asian. This was made up of mount gay black barrel rum, apricot jam, lychee juice, lime, jasmine syrup and black walnut bitters. It was surprisingly a really refreshing drink and not too strong.

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Earth Asian £11.00

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Who can’t resist a box of moon cakes? Best served warm (heat in microwave for a few seconds)
Of course, we brought some mooncakes back for the family as well as buying some of their signature macarons. £1.80 per piece of £9,70 for 6, which is a pretty reasonable price in comparison to some other bakeries. What makes Yauatcha’s macarons distinctive is the influence of Asian tastes incorporated into each flavour. Toasted Rice, Sesame Cashew, Sesame, Coconut Lychee and Pandan are just a few they sell. Traditional favourites such as matcha pistachio are also available on the menu.

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Brought some macarons home too!
Service: The waiters here have a breadth of knowledge, ask them anything and they’ll recommend you dishes suited to your taste buds!

Bits and bobs

  • A great selection of teas, some are slightly pricier than others but their teas are a must try!

Price: ££

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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: £

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Flesh & Buns (desserts only)

Flesh and Buns  (1 of 12)
You can come to  Flesh & Buns for desserts only, just let them know before sitting down
See the full meal review on Flesh and Buns here. Once I saw the Kinako doughnuts on the menu I knew I had to return and try, I’m not a fan of doughnuts but anything to do with roasted soybean (kinako)….I’m there.

Below is a breakdown of the desserts you can get at F&B, (less the Yuzu tart, and Black Sesame Creme Brulee)

Desserts:

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S’MORES – passionfruit marshmallows, biscuits, almond chocolate £8
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2 pieces of marshmallows, 2 slabs of green tea/ or almond chocolate of your choice, and 4 slices of biscuits
Their signature dish, a small bonfire is placed in front of you while you make it a bit of a plaything and make s’mores. It’s overpriced for what it is, but you should try at least once!

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BONE DADDIES SUNDAE – matcha ice cream, blueberries, honeycomb £6
Nothing can go wrong with a matcha sundae, lthough it can get a bit fiddly with the shape of the glass being so tall.

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Vanessa and I eating our way into Covent Garden
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Kinako Doughnuts – (with roasted soybean custard filling) £6
Flesh and Buns  (12 of 12)
Warm and oozy
The inside of the kinako doughnuts were warm, and you can smell, and taste, the strong kinako aroma as the custard oozes into your mouth…The doughnuts were coated with too much sugar though I think!

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CHOCOLATE FONDANT and matcha ice cream £6
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A repost from my previous visit with Grace
Service: 12.5% service charge

Bits and bobs:

  • Do visit restrooms – you’re in for a treat
  • £15 corkage fee if you want to bring cake
  • No signal as it’s below ground level, but they have wifi!

Price: ££

Flesh and Buns on Urbanspoon

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Gelatorino

Gelatorino (7 of 13)
Steph is happy after discovering a new favourite crepe place with Gelatorino!
History and Background:

Gelatorino knows how to keep high quality gelato fresh by having them scooped straight from pozzettis (lidded steel tubs).

Centrally located, at the heart of West End, with some of the top theatres within walking distance, Gelatorino pulls people in with their signature gelatos such as the coffee-flavoured ‘Breakfast in Turin‘ and ‘Dark chocolate and Gianduja‘.

It may be another Gelateria who boasts premium, top-quality gelatos, but it’s another one to add to my recommended list!

They use authentic traditional gelato machines and ingredients sourced from different regions of Italy. The way Gelatorino make their gelatos are by the traditional method of ‘mantecazione’, a churning and freezing process absorbing much less air as a result, creating a more velvety texture.

The desserts:

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One thing to note though. They’re not great ‘scoopers’ look at our gelatos…

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Nutella filled crepe with Hazelnut ice-cream…oh yes

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Definitely another crepe worth getting, crepe is thicker than its competitor Amorinos, and the nutella is served in abundance

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So Pete was served by the gentleman, who seemed to be much more experienced in scooping out gelato, allowing Pete to get his moneys worth!
Bits and bobs:

  • Prices are similar to all other dessert cafes, flavours differ daily with specials. (Popular ones remain of course)

Price: £

Gelatorino on Urbanspoon

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Shackfuyu (Desserts only)

Shackfuyu (2 of 4)
A MUST TRY
History and Background:

(I’ve talked about Flesh and Buns which is also under Ross Shonhan here)

It was first introduced as a Bone Daddies pop-up meaning that its not here to stay for long (12 months in fact), with the name of the restaurant deriving from ‘Shack’, I guess, meaning a ‘Shack’ and fuyu which translates to ‘winter’ in Japanese. (It opened during Winter of 2014.)

Desserts:

Shackfuyu (1 of 4)
(There is actually only one dessert option)
Can I first, please mention that you can definitely come in just for desserts. I highly recommend you to.

The first visit (with Winnie and Allan), we just about ordered nearly everything on the menu, but dishes were over-seasoned, salty, and simply not up to par. You can actually smell the oil and salt in the air from the bibimbap ordered from next door…

Take-out green tea ice-cream can be ordered for £3.50, and it’s a very generous pot of serving. So if you are craving some soft serve you know where to go!

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Kinako, Japanese for roasted soybean, french toast, and green tea ice-cream….nothing can go wrong with this (£6.00)
Shackfuyu (4 of 4)
French toast is thick, and sweet, topped with Kinako powder, accompanied with a massive soft serve of green tea…I’m already salivating
Bits and bobs:

  • You’ll probably have no problem coming in during weekdays, come Friday and the weekend, expect a queue. Most recent visit was actually Friday evening (05/06/2015) and it was a half hour queue.
  • Queuing – you will receive a buzzer, be brought down to the far back of the restaurant to its downstairs bar where you wait… (we chose to stand outside)

Price: £

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