If you have read our previous post about London you would know that we were in Chinatown in Soho. We have tried out quite some Chinese restaurants in the area since travelling with Chinese parents means that at least one meal a day had to be Asian food (only rice can make the stomach happy haha).
The funny story is how we came across this Japanese café. To reach Chinatown, we have to cross this wide street with no pedestrian crossing nearby, which was in our opinion one of the scariest things we did in London (no kidding, our heartbeats would fasten every time we cross over). To recover from the shock, we would take a little break from walking to silently celebrate that we made it to the other side. So, on one of the occasions, we happened to cross over and ended up right in front of Shibuya, a place where they serve not only cakes and sundaes, but also rice and udon noodles.
Shibuya’s windows were mainly covered by their signature bing desserts and we didn’t hesitate to order them after we took a seat. When we arrived around 5 o’clock, the place was super crowded despite it consists of three floors (with limited seats). Most of the tables either host 2 or 4 seats, so it is not really recommended to come here with a large group. We were asked to wait outside of the shop because they didn’t have enough seats, and waiting inside was not suitable because we would be standing in the way due to the limited space. We waited outside for about ten minutes before we got our seats inside.
As you might have already noticed, we are the biggest fans of desserts, so we made sure we ordered enough sweets to satisfy our cravings and to compensate for the lack of sugar in our bodies since it has been like ages that we have had proper sugary and tasty desserts.
Described as ‘milk snowflake with sweet soy bean powder and azuki red beans, Kinako Bing’s soy bean powder is not as strongly flavoured as I anticipated. Despite that, the red beans spiced up the taste more along the condensed milk provided in a small bowl. The shaved ice was definitely soft compared to the ones I have tried before, but this patbingsu could taste better if they had gushed more soy bean powder on top so the bottom shaved ice could also have some flavour.
You must really really have to love matcha to like this one. The Matcha Bing was topped with matcha powder, azuki red beans and almond flakes. Unlike the Kinako Bing, this Bing had matcha powder in the center too so that you can enjoy the matcha flavour till the very last bits of your dessert. The matcha flavour was very intense thus you might taste a slight bitterness if you scoop a large spoon of ice and matcha powder at once. The condensed milk that you get with this shaved ice definitely added some sweetness to the bowl. In fact, I asked for extra condensed milk halfway through my bowl because the matcha flavour got too intense and considering that I had eaten up all my other toppings, it was a wise choice to offset the bitter taste.
Nama Cream Strawberry Cake
This strawberry sponge cake was naturally soft and not too sweetly flavoured, which is the perfect combination for a cake. However, I noticed that their whipped cream is indeed lightly textured and resemble the Asian style of soft whipped cream more.
Each piece of cake is decorated with half a strawberry and more pieces of strawberries are visible in the filling of the cake, which makes it pretty special. In the menu, they mentioned that the cake is made of free-range eggs and organic milk, which is pretty nice to know these little fun facts. This cake is definitely worth trying if you haven’t had Japanese strawberry cake before.
Matcha Roll Cake
Accordingly, the matcha is all the way imported from Kyoto, Japan. The sponge roll cake was also soft- just like the strawberry cake. This roll cake was also not too sweet and to our surprise it came with red beans as complementary. We came back for the matcha roll cake a day after our first visit, and purchased two rolls as our lunch since we were on a rush trying to catch the plane on time. Hence, we quickly clicked two photos of the cake from the takeaway box while we were sitting in the London’s classic double decker bus. In a way it’s like a flashback of all the rushing we went through.
The only place that offers patbingsu in Soho London, it is surely a cutely decorated café that houses a Japanese interior with wooden furniture and design almost everywhere. There were two workers making the patbingsu while the chef is located downstairs to prepare the Japanese cuisine. Perhaps it is also good to know that they serve sushi in their café too – but hey it is a place where they serve Japanese cuisine right?
Regarding the prices for the desserts, we did find that they were on the pricey side. A cake roll costs around four pounds while a small patbingsu comes to about six pounds.
We never thought we would be trying out Japanese desserts in London, so coming across this café was a complete surprise to us. What can we say? Who knows, we might be having trifle while sipping some English tea in Japan (?).
Until next time,
ST & EL
Address: 110 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5EJ, England