Biju, Soho - New Opening

Josie Price |

Thought bubble tea was all artificial and plastic-y? Think again. Biju opened on Old Compton Street in Soho last week and is fast making a name for itself.

Owner Nicholas, sure did do his homework before opening Biju. He saw an opportunity to bring a healthier version of the bubble tea concept to the Western market and then quit his job and went to work in bubble tea shops in Taiwan for two months in order to get the real low-down on this Asian craze. A fellow health-fanatic, Nicholas sought ways to strip back bubble tea and turn a notoriously sugary and over-processed drink offering into a far more natural product, even throwing in some added goodness with ingredients such as basil seeds - a chia-like little thing.
Biju keep their menu smaller than their competitors and pride themselves on doing less but doing it well. With perfectly simple options such as Iced Peach Tea or a more adventurous Iced Matcha Mousse Tea, you can build your own drink with a combination of milk, soya milk, coconut water and traditional tea bases and add in natural fruit syrups and those textured "chunks" that make bubble tea, er, bubbly. From traditional tapioca pearls to egg custard pieces (don't knock it 'til you've tried it) and coconut water jelly amongst many others, there's something to please everyone. I can recommend the Honeydew Melon Milk. Each of the tea-based drinks start as a freshly brewed-to-order cup of tea, made in machines that look coffee machines...but aren't. No big vats of pre-made stuff here, thank you very much.
The shop space gives off a good vibe and is a prefect fit for the neighbourhood with good-natured staff, upbeat music, playful decor and quirky seating made from cork, in keeping with the natural theme. ico Design, the creative team behind Snog and Yoobi, took care of the branding and creative design for Biju and interior architects, Gundry and Ducker handled the fit-out of the shop itself.
This latest Soho hangout is the place for all you cool kids out there and even I went from bubble tea cynic to bubble tea convert in a matter of minutes.Get on it, I say.
Kansas Smitty's, Hackney
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