Taiyaki, the traditional little fish shaped, waffley treat from the shores of Japan has arrived in London. Whilst this may well not be a new dessert in Asia, or even in London, the new Covent Garden store dedicated to serving fish shaped waffles is indeed pretty new.
Opening earlier this year, the store is literally what Instagram accounts in 2019 (and no doubt into 2020) are made of. Pastel interiors, friendly staff and super photogenic desserts in the shape of novelty fish. What could be yummier?
It is not hard to see from where the store derives its name. The original dessert is taiyaki and this store is Yaki Yaki. The traditional Japanese dessert has been brought into the 21st century, with a wide range of new flavours and inventive ideas.
The store serves three main versions of the desserts; mini taiyaki, ice cream taiyaki and croiyaki.
Mini taiyaki is what I opted for. These are warm, bitesize pieces of hallow, fish shaped goodness. You can pick six pieces for £3.95 in any arrangement you like. Flavours include vanilla custard, matcha custard, yuzu custard, red bean custard (the most traditional of the Japanese flavours for this dessert), Nutella or cheese and jalapeno.
As I do not have that much of a sweet tooth, but still wanted to try these little fish, I split six mini bites with my partner and we chose four Nutella filled fish and two vanilla custard ones. Nutella, being Nutella is by far my fish of choice, with the vanilla one being what I would describe as ‘nice’, although felt a bit dry after the gooeyness of Nutella.
The biggest option at the store are the savoury taiyaki sandwiches which are larger fish shapes, filled with pulled beef, mushroom and spinach or chorizo and these are £4.95.
One of the most unusual would need to be the croiyaki, which merges the humble French croissant with the Japanese dessert, resulting in ‘croiyaki’. Instead of conventional cheese and ham or jam fillings, these are swapped for red bean, Nutella or apple and custard flavour fillings, served crispy and costing £3.95.
The ice cream options are in the style of a ’99’, soft serve and a popular staple on many a food blogger’s feed this summer. Pushing traditional wafers and their regular shapes out of the window, Yaki Yaki replaces them with of course fish shaped cones.
For £4.50 you have a choice of vanilla bean, matcha, vanilla and matcha twist, ube, coconut and ube and coconut twist flavour ice creams. You can also pick one topping, free of charge from fruit, popcorn, Oreo’s, chocolate rings, sprinkles, popping candy, torched meringue, jelly babies, poky biscuits or ube wafers.
I am definitely happy with the choice I made on my first visit to Yaki Yaki, on what was a very rainy Saturday evening, just before they closed for the night. I am almost certain it is somewhere I will be back to in the future to potentially try their pulled beef big fish or even a croiyaki.
Is this a dessert you would like to try? Or maybe you already have. Which one would you go for and what fillings take your fancy? Let me know in the comments below.