UPDATE: This cafe is now closed.
Soboro Bakery is the latest venture by Dong Hyun Kim, owner of Wasabi, Kimchee and Kimchee To Go. After what seemed like an eternity waiting for the empty unit in the Lion Yard to open, Cambridge finally has the honour of being Soboro Bakery’s very first location.
It was worth the wait. The shop is beautifully designed and well laid out. Its minimalist décor offers clean lines and muted tones. There’s a good feeling about the place: it’s bright, cheerful and welcoming.
Taking its name from the classic Korean sweet bun, Soboro Bakery is very much a reflection of its founder Dong Hyun Kim who was born in Korea, learned his trade in Japan and makes London his home. The website states that Soboro is “based on the fine traditions of Japanese and Korean bakery” but it also offers many British favourites so it’s not strictly an Asian bakery. Actually it’s not just a bakery either. It’s more like a café as it serves sandwiches, soups, salads and yogurt pots in addition to its wide selection of buns, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, muffins, tarts, danish and cookies.
There are Asian-inspired sandwiches and wraps but you’ll also find toasties and baguettes. However, this doesn’t mean that their handmade Japanese and Korean bakery products aren’t authentic. They definitely are, as some of my friends were able to vouch. It’s a great opportunity to try flavours such as matcha and yuzu but you’re not strictly limited to those.
They have a variety of juices and smoothies. I discovered Savsé’s “Super Blue” smoothie with blueberry, blackcurrant, beetroot, strawberry, kale, spinach, orange and apple. I am hooked!
Hot drinks, on the other hand, were a bit problematic. I initially asked for a hot chocolate but was told they don’t really do them, despite being on the menu and my friend having had one a few days earlier. I didn’t press the issue. Paulo ordered a cappuccino and it wasn’t good. It was too hot and too milky, a bit surprising as Soboro Bakery boasts about having a state-of-the-art Spirit coffee machine. Perhaps this is more of a matter of training on how to properly use the equipment and part of the teething problems of a brand new business.
I tried the prawn tempura sushi burrito and it was quite substantial (I split it with Paulo). The fillings were fresh and the prawns were typical high street chain quality, which made it a good value for about a fiver. I would have preferred it without the tortilla as it detracted from the taste of the seaweed (nori) and made it a bit soggy. I know the definition of a “sushi burrito” is open to interpretation but I had one in Toronto and it was phenomenal. The seaweed acting as the wrap is the key and makes into more of a temaki hand roll.
The chicken curry doughnut was recommended to me as it’s one of Soboro Bakery’s most popular items. The doughnut, if a bit greasy, was fresh and springy but also nicely crispy from the deep frying process. The curry flavours of the filling were bold but not overpowering.
I decided to try some of the Asian sweets on display in the window. On a side note, I recommend getting a good look before entering the bakery or you might miss the extensive selection!
The chocolate & black sesame mousse sounded good and looked pretty. It was a bit of a disappointment as I expected dark or milk chocolate but this was white chocolate which overpowered the black sesame flavours I love so much.
Also once Paulo pointed out what this soft mound with a red dot on top reminded him of, I couldn’t unsee it. You see it too, don’t you? *wink*
The yuzu & cheese rolled cake was delicious. I’m still getting used to the tart taste of yuzu (a citrus fruit) even though I’ve had it in cocktails and other foods. The creamy cheese rolled into soft fresh sponge was the ultimate comfort dessert, offset by the sharpness of the yuzu. I’m going to try the matcha version next time!
Overall, I enjoyed my first visit to Soboro Bakery. I set out to try Asian flavours and Soboro provided me with an excellent range to choose from, all displayed in a neat and organised manner. However, the next time I pop by I may not be feeling as adventurous so it’s nice to know that I can choose a product more familiar to me. It’s the best of both worlds and Soboro Bakery’s offerings definitely stand out from other chains with the same pastries and sandwiches everywhere.
I was invited by Soboro Bakery to sample the items of my choice. Although the food and drinks were complimentary, all views are my own. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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