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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Executive Head Chef Graham Hornigold leads the pastry team and highlights 3 main characteristics that the Yauatcha desserts have;
Should act as a palate cleanser and should not be overly sweet
Should be light, dim sum and Chinese food can be carb heavy, aerated mousses and citruses are therefore used
Correct balance of flavours to off-set the strong flavours from the dim sum
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
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:
Regular (includes 1 topping of your choice) £3.45
Hot teas 50p extra
Coconut water 50p extra
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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)
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!
Nothing can go wrong with a matcha sundae, lthough it can get a bit fiddly with the shape of the glass being so tall.
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!
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!
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.
Bits and bobs:
Prices are similar to all other dessert cafes, flavours differ daily with specials. (Popular ones remain of course)
(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.)
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!
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)