Bubble Tea Cafe
We were on the shopping mission from hell and at around 7.30pm our weary feet needed resting so we took a break from the crowds at Westfield and went in search of food. We stumbled across Bubble Tea Cafe and decided to give it a try despite not really knowing what the food was all about.
We’re so glad we did because what we found was our cheapest cheap eat to date. Nothing over $10 on the whole menu. Usually those prices come with food court decor but this place was actually quite funky and aside from the large screen with Taiwanese pop music blasting (you don’t notice it after a while) was quite a pleasant place to eat. The decals on the wall of the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and Big Ben were cute as were the orange booths and leather chairs in the corner.
I lived in Japan for a couple of years and even though it’s not Japanese it had the same young asian vibe I so clearly remember. Groups of young hipsters playing cards, eating and chatting and – in this case – drinking all kinds of interesting looking drinks. There were families too. It was a nice feel.
The drinks are an enormous part of the menu: Milk Tea, Black Tea, Green Tea, Hot Tea, Slushies, Yoghurt drinks and Smoothies all in every flavour under the sun. These were all around the $4 – $5 mark. You could also get cream and pearl toppings on some of them which looked interesting but we weren’t feeling brave enough and just stuck with slushies (one lychee, one mango). They were huge and tasted great but were too enormous to finish.
We were in the sharing mood and, to tell you the truth, slightly apprehensive about the food so we decided to go with small plates to share until we knew if it was good. We had green soy beans ($5). These were almost the same as the edamame you get in Japanese restaurants but in this case we thought they may have been fried in a little flavoured oil. They were great. The seaweed was also good ($4) – lovely and soft. We also had a rice dumpling ($5) which was sticky rice with a mix of pork, boiled raw peanuts and asian mushrooms inside. It had a sour, sweet sauce on it and was also very good.
The Taiwanese Sausage ($6) was our only disappointment as we found it too dry but it was more than made up for by the delicious salt and pepper squid ($6). This was our highlight. Beautifully crispy and gorgeous flavour and a generous portion for the price! We tried the fried rice cake ($6) (a traditional Taiwanese dish) and were slightly frightened when something that resembled a black rice bubble cake came out. Turned out it wasn’t crunchy like it looked but nicely chewy with a light dusting of spice powder. Seems you dip it in a special sauce and then in chopped peanuts. It was delicious and became quite addictive!
The only problem was that now we knew the food was fab, we had no room for mains. The menu was hilarious and because of the late night hours (they close at 2am on Friday and Saturday) included thick slices of toast with different toppings -strawberry, chocolate, peanut and even green tea ($3.50). There were more standard dishes such as noodles, pork belly, noodle soups, taiwanese curry on rice and they all looked delicious as we saw them coming out at tables all around us. We definitely want to go back and try them although we’re not sure about the ‘marinated pork ear’!
All up a great little find with very tasty food. Extremely reasonable prices and very generous portions. The staff were really helpful too as we didn’t know much about Taiwanese food and they explained everything to us very gently. Because of the music video screen, probably not a first date venue but great for a family meal or bite with friends.