Yumchaa – Goodge Street

Reviewed on August 16th, 2015 by Dina

For those of you who enjoy tea, you will be spoilt for choice at Yumchaa. At Yumchaa, it is all about the loose tea with signs saying “No tea bags, no tea baggage and no tea bagging” and “Drink loose leaf tea”.

The variety of teas are displayed in little labelled milk jugs. Take your pick from the black, green, red and white teas. All the teas are listed with the ingredients, the type of tea, the caffeine level and also whether it is available hot or iced.

As there is so much choice, be warned it may take a while to decide. After narrowing it down to have a caffeine free tea, the Raspberry Vanilla Rooibos tea was chosen. The components of this red tea were raspberry, vanilla pods, rose petals and rooibos. The tea was fragrant and fruity with a hint of vanilla. It was pleasant together with some hot soya milk.

The counter is adorned with sweet and savoury scones, thick slices of cake and a tower of brownies. It is a shame that it is an open display of the food and items are not covered. But Yumchaa did inform us that this is going to change by September and all of the food will be displayed behind a glass counter. If you want something for lunch, then there are also wraps, sandwiches and salads.

The cheese and chive scone was of a good size. It came toasted with butter on the side. The scone was dense with cheesy pieces and was filling.

The staff at Yumchaa are friendly and don’t rush you to order your tea. They make sure that the tables remain clean and come round frequently to clear up anything that you have finished with. It’s great that they also don’t mind refilling your teapot with more hot water.

Different wallpapers with different themes decorate the walls. There is a cuteness about Yumchaa with its displays. A big wooden table and chairs make up the window seating. The rest of the cafe is brought together by cosy sofas and smaller tables. It feels fairly spacious.

Even though Yumchaa is a popular cafe and tearoom, it is not overly noisy. Maybe this has something to do with the calming effect that tea has on people! There is a nice buzz about the place.

Yumchaa sure has got things right with going back to serving loose teas in a relaxed environment. It is easy for the hours to pass by at this wonderful cafe. All of the loose teas are available to buy so once you discover your favourite, you can enjoy it at home.

Yumchaa, 9/11 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 2AQ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Waiting Room – Whetstone

Reviewed on May 10th, 2015 by Dina

A slightly different take on a cafe, The Waiting Room teams itself with its small home furnishing store. The Waiting Room is a really cute cafe adorned with fairy lights, dressers lined with lamps, frames, tealights and flowers. A garland of hearts decorates the cafe window. Stars hang above the lamps and small chandeliers also make up the lighting.

At the back of The Waiting Room, there are a few cosy seats. The rest of the cafe is made up of table and chairs. The soft lighting and jazz music create a lovely ambiance. Even though the cafe was busy, it was not noisy. There was a gentle hum about the place.

The staff were friendly and not intruding. They provided excellent personal service. The Waiting Room seemed to have its regular customers with the staff taking time out to chat to them. It made it feel like the staff were caring.

The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room TeaThe Waiting Room InteriorThe Waiting Room SandwichesThe Waiting Room Afternoon TeaThe Waiting Room SconesThe Waiting Room Interior 2The Waiting Room CakesThe Waiting Room Interior 3

As I was seated at the back of the cafe, I was next to the kitchen. It looked clean and compact. There was not much noise from the kitchen and hence it did not impact on the atmosphere.

The tea that caught my eye was the rooibos with cherry. The tea was from the Little Sparrow range of loose teas. A heavy silver teapot with its own stand contained the tea. There was a traditional feel to the teaware. Small flowers decorated the teacup and saucer.

The aroma of the cherry was strong from the loose tea. Sometimes teas can be a letdown, as in they do not taste as good as they smell. With this Little Sparrow tea, the taste of the cherry with the rooibos was divine. The staff had no problem refilling my tea when the pot was empty.

The Afternoon Tea continued with the silver theme and it was presented on a square silver cake stand. Squares of soft bread, one filled with classic cucumber and the other with cheese and pickle were the fresh sandwiches. It was nice to have a combination of white and brown bread.

The two small fruit scones were delightful. The attention to detail really made the Afternoon Tea at The Waiting Room great. Shot glasses with teaspoons contained thick clotted cream and strawberry jam. Whole pieces of strawberry made the jam more special.

The last of the cakes were the macaroon and chocolate brownie. The almond macaroon was perfectly crispy on the outside with a chewy texture and creamy filling. Rich, gooey and moist made up the intense chocolate brownie. Just to make it more indulgent it was lovely to have it with a little bit of the clotted cream and jam.

The Waiting Room gives a ray of sunshine to a dull rainy day. It definitely brought me that happy feeling. It is a gem of a place and I am excited to introduce my friends to the wonderful world of The Waiting Room!

The Waiting Room, 50-52 Totteridge Lane, Whetstone, London, N20 9QJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Old Tree Bakery – Golders Green

Reviewed on March 29th, 2015 by Dina

Old Tree Bakery is a Taiwanese bakery with displays of its buns and cakes in the shop window. This bakery is a little different in the sense that it prides itself on trying to keep their products low in salt, sugar and fat. All of their food is baked fresh every day on site. Trays of small bags of hand made cookies are also on display.

It was great to see that the baked good items were all covered on the shelves and that it was not self service. After we were seated, we went to the front of the store to choose our delights. One of the staff picked all of our items and packed them for us as we had wanted some for takeaway.

To dine in at Old Tree Bakery, the Chinese mushrooms, bamboo and vegetables in soup was ordered. The big bowl of steaming soup was packed full of the vegetables and garnished with coriander. The soup was very flavoursome with a slightly sweet and sour taste and it was also thicker than I had expected. It was a hearty soup with its gravy like broth.

Old Tree Bakery SoupOld Tree BakeryOld Tree Bakery Coffee BunOld Tree Bakery DisplayOld Tree Bakery InteriorOld Tree Bakery Interior 2

As I was not feeling adventurous to try the milky bubble tea, a decaffeinated Americano was had instead. Coffee and cake are a match made in heaven. The coffee bun was soft and had a light texture to it. The coffee paste that intertwined through the bun was just sweet enough.

Old Tree Bakery felt clean and well maintained. The cafe area is of a medium size with some comfy seating by the windows and normal tables by the counter. There are a few tables and chairs outside too. The staff were friendly and gave us good service.

There are so many cakes, buns and savoury dishes that Old Tree Bakery has on offer and it really is hard to decide which ones to choose. It is great that the products are available for takeaway. The Curry Bun that was had as a takeaway was equally delicious as the other food had at the bakery. The bun was fresh, soft and had a slight sweetness to it. The curry filling was potato based and not too spicy.

It was great to have such a wonderful first experience of Taiwanese food and it is all thanks to Old Tree Bakery!

Old Tree Bakery, 105 Golders Green Road, Golders Green, London, NW11 8HR

Rating: ★★★★☆

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