A Bubble Tea Shop in Maddox Street London.
All summer I keep seeing Ube bubble teas and drinks everywhere and it’s been my mission to try them all and do a review. Did I become the ‘UBE’ police? HAHA! You know maybe I should be, the way it’s going in the food scene in the UK at the moment I’m convinced people are confused what Ube is! They love the purple colour, I admit it’s very inviting, especially in photos. It’s very instagramable. Everytime I post something, my feed goes crazy! So I can understand when restaurants and cafes start serving Ube on their menu.
Let’s get one thing straight, Ube is Purple Yam NOT Sweet Potato or Taro (gabi in Filipino). I know this because growing up in the Philippines I have seen these Ube tubers with my own eyes from a tiny shoot into a plant ready to harvest. That’s the best thing about growing up in the province, you can see where your food came from. My papa used to plant vegetables in our back garden and we had pigs and chickens. Also my neighbours will have grown their crop and we sometimes swap veggies! Ube or ooh-beh has an earthy, nutty and vanilla-isk flavour. It’s very unique and it’s not the same as sweet potato and definitely not the same as taro!
Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan sweet potato can be easily distinguished by their lighter exterior (colors range from pale copper to purple) and smoother, almost slick skin. Ube yam, though, is different. It has a rough, bumpy texture that resembles a tree-bark, with dark brown skin. Taros might also have rough, brown exteriors, but their shapes are generally rounder (like ovals).Taro is a slightly sweet, starchy root vegetable – not yam. According to Jolyn Chua .
My worry is that now Ube is starting to become popular, most places don’t do their research and actually market it wrongly or not make it properly. The places I’ve been recently really lack the ube flavour in their drinks/food. I need these places to really commit to adding Ube flavours in their food or drinks and give it some welly! It’s a fantastic flavour for desserts, when a Filipino try your Ube and it actually tastes like Ube, I guarantee you that they will keep coming back for that food or drink! Trust! Filipinos are obsessed with Ube!!
Enough facts for now, let’s get back to the review.
So I went to The Alley in Maddox street, London with my youngest daughter Miss E. We had a little bonding day, shopping, lunch and some bubble tea.
The Service, we went after lunch and it was pretty quiet. The staff who served us were polite and helpful. I think he knew we came for Ube, I think he might be Filipino too. Ordering went smoothly and the drinks came not long after.
The drinks, we ordered Ube Taro Brown Sugar Deerioca Crème Brûlée. WOW! That’s a long name with so many things going on in one cup! We also ordered the Brown Sugar Deerioca Crème Brûlée to use as a comparison.
The verdict, the Ube taro bubble tea was nice, it was sweet but not too sweet and the creme brulee was also a treat! However, I can’t taste Ube there! Nor can I taste Taro, I think the brulee and vanilla flavour has taken over so then you can’t taste anything else. I can’t taste the earthy and nutty flavours from the Ube. Even though we tasted the regular brown sugar tea right after the Ube taro tea, they were almost the same. It was a shame really, because I had high hopes for this to go well after a food blogger reassured me they can taste Ube in it. Would I go back again? I would give it another try to make sure I give an all round review. Nevertheless Miss E enjoyed it and didn’t really mind but she thought it could be better in terms of the Ube flavour.