So before everything shut down and we all retreated to the controlled safety of our houses I met up with some friends to experience the much talked about Fuwa Fuwa Café specialising in Japanese Pancakes in Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury London
I want to make it clear first of all that I am not a major Japanese enthusiast. What I know about the culture comes from books and TV shows and any information given to me by my brother and father who are obsessed with that part of the world. And while I find that part of the world fascinating, I am not infatuated with it, so I did not go into the cafe with a bias towards Japanese culture and Japanese food.
I had heard a lot about Fuwa Fuwa, from Instagram, with its posts always looking pretty and its food always looking appetising. And seeing as people around me were eager to get their Japanese fix in London, I thought it would be a good idea to go. But as we know, Instagram is a highlight reel – its not true to life.
My first impression of the place was that it was very bare, which was not what I expected. This would probably be the ideal place to study or get work done because of the atmosphere it’s very airy and spacious. The walls are white, the tables are white, there’s a lot of space in the middle of the cafe, and it’s more like a cleared out and painted warehouse than a real coffee shop, so it is probably a good place to clear your head and get your thoughts together.
And there were plenty of customers who were doing just that, sitting there with their laptops, a cup of coffee, and their pancakes. It was a Sunday when we went, so it was packed and the wait time was a little long, but I’m sure it during the week it would be much quieter and easier to get work done.
That being said, it isn’t a massive foodie place. You don’t go there because you’re hungry and you want to peruse a menu and decide what you might want to eat to fill your belly, you go there because you want Japanese pancakes. That is the only thing they serve, so if you want a verity of stuff, you will be disappointed.
As previously stated, I am not a Japanese obsessive, so I had no real knowledge of Japanese pancakes before going into Fuwa Fuwa. According to my brother, who has been to Japan and has had authentic Japanese pancakes, what was served to us was not genuine, which is why they were not mind-blowing. But he also said that they were not terrible. Personally, I found them to be a little too eggy for me. While the fluffy texture looks beautiful in photographs, it was a bit too squidgy in my mouth. And not being able to bite into a something solid, made it feel like I was eating puffs of air and it left us feeling hungry afterwards (we did go for a big meal immediately afterwards).
The toppings were what could have saved the menu, but unfortunately, they didn’t have a massive range of toppings at all. You would think if you only served one thing, that you would have a vast array of toppings to liven up each individual plate, but Fuwa Fuwa only had, blueberry, banana with Nutella, strawberries with Nutella and butter with syrup, neither of which started a party in my mouth. The best thing on the plate was the whipped cream on the side of the pancakes
The staff were not great. A set of customers deliberately placed their dirty dishes on our table to clear their own, even though they knew that we were sitting there which irritated us and dampened the mood from the offset, and the waiting staff, though nice, seemed very reluctant to do anything about this.
But overall, it is not a terrible place. If your aim is to go there and study with a cup of coffee without being disturbed, by waiters, with something, small, light and sweet, then Fuwa Fuwa is a brilliant destination, stripped bare, and easy to focus in. But if your aim is to grab a bite with friends to fill your bellies, get a taste of Japan, or chat over something sweet, with staff who are on hand and friendly, I would recommend you go elsewhere.