East Asian cuisine in London is everywhere and we all seem to love it! From a cheeky chinese takeaway on a Friday night to unlimited dim sum Sundays, we have really embraced the flavours of the East.
What is still uncharted territory for our Western palettes however, are the sweet treats of the Orient – and there is much more to explore than sickly sweet lychee balls and fruit sushi!
With that in mind we had to take a trip to the Japanese-style cafe, Kova Patisserie.
Off the mains streets of Soho, this little gem is modestly decorated with bamboo tables, LED lit Insta-ready shelves and marble-like counters, seating only a handful of visitors. The main attraction is most certainly the glass counter filled with a variety of fluorescent green delights, swiss roll style cakes, and perfectly cut wedges of happiness.
Kova is best known for its mille crepe cakes – a cake made up of a “thousand” layers of delicate French crepes and lightly flavoured cream. Being both a matcha and crepe cake novice I had to go for the Matcha Mille Crepe, but it also comes in vanilla, chocolate or coconut flavour. The texture and flavour of the cake was definitely challenging at first, and not at all what you would expect from what is essentially a French classic, but it was surprisingly delicious. The cream was not over sweetened which is always difficult to get right, and the matcha powder gave it all a slight umami, seaweed meets cocoa powder tang. My brain couldn’t quite make sense of the flavour but it certainly did not dislike it.
Next came the Hoji roll cake, mainly because I had no idea what hoji was (excuse my ignorance). I have come to learn that hoji cha, much like matcha, is a type of green tea. What distinguishes it is how it has been prepared; it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal rather than being traditionally steamed, giving it a richer, darker colour. Once again, my brain struggled a little to pinpoint the exact flavour, but it was certainly reminiscent of brown bread ice cream.
*As seen on Buzzfeed* We also had to try the Japanese Souffle Cheesecake. As the name suggests, this is a glorious combination of the creamy, cheesey taste that you get in a New York Cheesecake but with the light, fluffy texture of a souffle. It is beautifully bouncy and just melts in the mouth. Unlike a regular cheesecake this has no biscuit base, contains an abundance of beaten egg whites and is baked in a bain marie giving it that airy texture that is oh so moreish. At Kova you can even order a whole one to takeaway, which is a fantastic alternative to the traditional celebration cake or dessert.
All of these delights were washed down by an equally adventurous hot cup of Yuzu Cha, a comforting citrus flavoured drink, but Kova are also known for their Matcha, Hojicha and Genmaicha lattes and large range of Japanese teas.
Personally, I loved Kova – it’s different, it’s challenging and it’s refreshing. It offers something new to the oversaturated patisserie scene and is most certainly worth a visit. So go, go take a trip to the orient without having to buy a plane ticket!