Yelly Eats

So Fuwafuwa!

So apparently, according to a google search, fuwafuwa means fluffy, airy, light – like a pillow or foam.

A few months ago, I noticed an interesting photo on Ed T’s (@onehungryasian) instagram feed.  He said he had a recipe for fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes and I wanted to look at the recipe.  I was on the verge of perfecting my version of a Japanese matcha cheesecake and I was curious about the pancakes, whether they would really be soufflé-esque.  I noticed that one of the comments was this guy saying they were  opening a pop-up for Japanese soufflé pancakes.  I thought it would be good to find out where it was to try it so I knew what I was aiming for.  I followed the Instagram account and thought I’d look through the feed later.  And then I promptly forgot about it.

© by @onehungryasian

Then Ken Mok (@kingken_photography) wrote that he finally went to try the pancakes and they looked fabulously soft and pillowy.  Exactly what the name of the purveyors of these heavenly pancakes meant: Fuwafuwa.

© by @kingken_photography

So since then, I’ve been thinking about these gorgeous pillows and wondering when I can go and taste them and find out for myself how they felt in my mouth!

Yesterday, we were going to London to see a friend who was going on a trip at the end of the month and we wanted to spend time with her before she flew off on her adventures.  Alan suggested we stop over at Westfield in Stratford where Fuwafuwa (@fuwafuwalondon) had their pop up shop.  It was just before 9AM and on Saturdays they open from 9AM until 9PM.  I was looking forward to ordering the matcha pancakes, but they weren’t on the menu.  So I settled on Nutella and banana and Alan ordered S’mores.  But they changed the menu at the last minute and said they had the matcha pancakes and the lovely manager of Fuwafuwa allowed me to change my order from the Nutella and banana to the Matcha Love pancakes.

I absolutely LOVED them.  They are as airy, soft, cloud like, light, pillowy and soufflé-esque as I built them up in my head to be.  The matcha cream that accompanied my pancakes were generously flavoured with matcha and you could really taste the green tea, which I loved.  They were also VERY generous with the red bean paste that was served on the side.

Alan’s S’mores pancakes were yummy with marshmallows and chocolatey goodness that reminded me of childhood memories of marshmallows and chocolates melted and sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers.  Alan’s pancakes were topped with a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of pretzels.  Knowing I loved pretzels, Alan very generously shared one with me!

I need to know what the name of that lovely manager of FuwaFuwa is.  He asked if he could take photos of our pancakes because, apparently, they were so busy that they rarely had time to photograph their heavenly creations.  We, of course, obliged.  I had brought my little Olympus EPL7 on this trip (I wanted to capture the cherry blossoms in London) so I was also busy snapping away with the sole purpose of posting it on Instagram.  I was also determined to write about it on the blog.  I offered to take photos of the pancakes with his phone.

He had a surprise for us though.  There was a Salted Caramel Miso and Popcorn pancake option on the menu.  I loved salted caramel.  I loved popcorn.  I loved miso soup.  I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted them all together on a plate.  So I was more than a little dubious and didn’t order this particular flavour.  He came back to our table and he gave us a double stack of the salted caramel miso and popcorn pancakes.  To say thank you for waiting for the pancakes (they opened late) and for taking photos.

It was absolutely gorgeous!  It was sweet and fabulously savoury with the crunch of the popcorn for brilliant texture.  I know miso was good but I didn’t know that it would be a great flavour that could be used for sweet treats as well.  You learn something new everyday.

Fuwa Fuwa London (@fuwafuwalondon on Instagram) is currently at their pop up at Westfield in Stratford City and according to Westfield’s website they will be open this week (16 April to 22 April) Monday to Friday from 10AM to 9PM, Saturday from 9AM to 9PM and on Sunday, 12PM to 6PM.  They’ve just announced that Matcha Love will now be available on weekends too!  I’d recommend going when you can and bringing a bag of patience with you because if you can’t get there early and be first in the queue, it might be a substantial wait.  The pancakes are made to order and can take until 30 minutes to make and if they’re busy, the wait will be a little longer. I know 30 minutes might seem to be a bit too long to wait for pancakes, but they are very definitely worth it.  It’s a heavenly party in your mouth!

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Yelly Eats

Something about the Bird

So…I’m all for second chances.

Last year, we went to Bird in Shoreditch because I wanted to try the chicken.  I think I’ve written about my love of chicken so many times that this trip to try Bird’s chicken is completely self-explanatory.  I also had my Chicken Bucket List (I will be posting an update to that post in the next few weeks, so please watch this space!) to consider.  So off to Bird we went!

And needless to say, I was quite disappointed.  If you want to find out how dismal our dining experience was, read about it here.  The chicken was dry and overcooked, the service was a lackadaisical and a bit blasé and I said I was never coming back to any Bird branch ever again.

Until we saw a voucher for Bird on TimeOut London for a three-course offering (sides, a chicken burger and a dessert).  Alan said there was no harm in trying Bird again, especially at that price (I can’t remember exactly how much that voucher was for but it was something like £15 per person plus drinks).  So I reluctantly agreed to purchase the vouchers and off we went.

The two visits couldn’t have been any more different!  It was like coming into a different restaurant all together.  I mean, same name, same decor, same menu, same venue…BUT totally different dining experiences.

The staff were absolutely friendly, and wanted to talk about their food.  I know the word passionate is overused in the food business, but they were.  They were actually excited about their food!  They were completely happy that we had the vouchers and they explained how we could get the most out of our vouchers.  So order the food we did!

We both ordered wings as sides.  Alan ordered wings with the honey and ginger sauce.  The sauce was on the sweet side but had that lovely ginger hit that stopped the honey from being sickly sweet.  It was a lovely sauce for the perfectly cooked wings.

I ordered the buffalo wings.  I loved it because it wasn’t blow-your-head-off spicy.  I love spicy food but I like it when it’s not so spicy that you can’t taste what you’re eating because it was too hot!  It was just the right blend of spicy, tangy and the floral peppery notes.   Plus, the accompanying blue cheese sauce was yummyyyyy and was an absolute bonus.

Then we ordered the chicken burgers.  There are 6 burgers to choose from the menu.  Being the buffalo addict that I was, I ordered the buffalo blue chicken burger.  This burger is a battered boneless chicken thigh fillet served on a brioche bun with buffalo sauce and a blue cheese slaw.  I don’t think I got a chance to take a photo of Alan’s burger but he ordered a bacon cheese burger.

Then we ordered Bird’s doughnuts for dessert.  Alan ordered a doughnut ice cream sandwich which I thought was a dessert big enough to feed a family of four!

I ordered the daily glazed doughnut special – which was, on the day, a mint chocolate glazed donut.  I thought it wouldn’t be as formidable as Alan’s desert of choice, but when my dessert arrived, it was bigger than I thought!

It was such a HUGE MEAL and which came to about £20, including drinks and service charge, per person.  But it was such a different experience from our first Bird meal.  We were looked after, but it wasn’t saccharine-sweet sincerity.  It felt very genuine, and they really wanted us to have a really good Bird experience.  We didn’t feel smothered and I was quite impressed because they asked us if the food was okay before we took bites, which I thought was nice.  It’s never nice talking around a mouthful of food.

When they saw me taking pictures, one member of staff, a cheeky but charming French guy (I wish I’d taken his name), encouraged me to take photos and to tell people about Bird and to write a review on TripAdvisor!  I thought was brave because he hadn’t asked me yet whether we had a good time.  I think he knew that we ate well and that the food was good.  That confidence in their product speaks well.

And to be fair, we like it so much, we went back again for just the wings!