Friday, 24 June 2011

Snacks in Soho: Paul A Young and Bubbleology

Heading in to town for a lunch date on the South Bank I decided to cut through Soho to check out Paul A Young's new flagship store before a quick refreshment stop at London's new bubble tea shop.

Holding a prime corner spot the striking new premises is far larger than his Islington and Bank shops.  He has also managed to secure the basement space of the neighbouring buildings and transformed them into a smart kitchen and potential workshop area.

The interior is spacious and classy, decorated in dark purples and golds with a wall papered in Cola and Son cocoa pod wallpaper. There is also an impressive counter made from an reclaimed wooden altar and a dresser stacked with various different pave and artisan bars.
A large, circular elm table, laden down with a cornucopia of delights, takes centre stage.  As well as the house collection, including the famous Marmite truffles, salted caramels and champagne truffles, Paul is also debuting his new summer collection.  Featuring intriguing combinations such as parsley and Limoncello, passion fruit curd and coffee, coconut water and lemongrass, and Kernel Brewery stout and dark muscovado.
Top picks of the chocs we tried included a tomato, olive oil and basil number, where the fruit and herb flavours evoked an Italian summer, and the Saint Germain liqueur with elderflower which combined sweet floral notes with a decent punch of alcohol. I'm also a big fan of the goats cheese, rosemary and lemon; a beautiful feather light centre with a lovely lemony zing. The Pimm's truffle, an old favourite, is another must try, especially during Wimbledon week.  Gently scented with mint strawberry and cucumber it's a match winner.

We also shared one of the very good new summer pudding chocolates.  A behemoth of berry and basil compote,  raspberry ganache and caramelised hazelnut covered in white a chocolate shell.  Despite their super size the delicious basil compote left me wanting more.

And then the legendary brownies.  First the summer berry blondie, a dense blueberry and raspberry studded confection that managed to be gloriously rich but not sickly.   Then a sea salt caramel brownie with pecans.  Pure salty, sweet bliss with a nice nutty crunch.

As well as being conveniently central the new store is also gorgeously opulent, and luckily it's full of fantastic chocolates to match.  A bit pricier than that other famous purple wrapped chocolate purveyor, but certainly worth it for quality products that are still hand made daily with all natural ingredients.

Bubble tea, a beverage that originated in Taiwan in the 80's, became a bit of an obsession on a recent trip to Hong Kong. The sweet milky drink, with a layer of gelatinous black tapioca balls, became a refreshing pick me up on sultry evenings while wandering the night markets.   Apart from a few Chinatown Cafes it was rarely seen here in London until now.

Bubbleology is a new Rupert Street cafe selling the 'boba' based drinks in a variety of different milk and fruit flavours.  A slick looking operation in a grimy area of Soho, it is set up to look like a laboratory complete with staff dressed in lab coats and the crazy glass flasks of potion bubbling away in the window.  There's even a little outside seating area to enjoy (those all too few) summer days.

From the myriad of flavours on offer we chose the classic plain Assam milk tea and a passion fruit green tea, both with classic black tapioca pearls. There is also a selection of flavoured jelly add ins as well as the option to have your drink half sweetened, served hot, or to combine two different flavours together.
The milk version was comfortingly sweet and milky, just as delicious as I remembered.  The pearls are an interesting addition. Sucked up and chewed through an extra wide straw you can't help but grin as you're drinking it. The passion fruit flavour was also good although time I would be tempted to have it half sweet, as it was a little sugary for me. I'm also looking forward to trying out some of the flavoured pearls and jellies too. 

A fab little stop to pick up a authentic, fun beverage.  After grabbing our drinks we crossed the road into Chinatown for some pork buns to create a sort of Asian version of tea and bacon sandwiches, the perfect breakfast!

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Bubbleology on Urbanspoon


  1. will try both of these places as I work just up the road, was going to go in the chocolate shop the other day but they had a sign up saying they didn't take cards.

  2. Definately worth it. You'll need some cash for Paul A Young, but the chocs are delicious! Think he's going to stock his ice cream for the summer too.

  3. Excellent recommendation re Bubbleology - loved it. Next time your on Rupert Street check out Sputino - absolutely amazing food, impeccable service and reasonably priced.

  4. Hello You! Definately keen to check out Spuntino soon, hearing lots of good things.