You already know that I firmly rate The Alley as the best bubble tea spot in London. If there’s a place that could challenge that, it would be The Whale Tea. We do regularly visit them quite often as it’s located literally just opposite across the street from one of our favourite restaurants, Normah’s. It was after having dinner there when we first came across The Whale Tea setting the space up. When we finally saw it open for business, we immediately went to try it and the rest is history.
The Whale Tea: from Nanjing to London
Instead of a Taiwanese origin, The Whale Tea actually started out in Nanjing, China. Like other quality bubble tea brands, they’ve quickly expanded across east Asia as well as Australia and Canada…and now it’s London’s turn. Queensway is the first branch but they’ve then expanded across the city with branches at Stratford and Greenwich as well.
Inside the Queensway shop, there’s a small sitting area. Apart from a wide range of bubble teas, they also do desserts such as macaroons, mousse cakes, etc. which are all halal! Though I did try their macaroons once and they were unfortunately disappointing. So let’s just stick with bubble tea here for this article and forget about desserts for a moment.
The Drinks: What We Ordered
Flaming Whale (£5.95)
I’ll cut straight to the chase that the Flaming Whale is possibly one of the best brown sugar boba milk drinks in London. Other than milk, brown sugar syrup, and tapioca pearls, it’s also got a cream cheese mousse which is torched on top for a creme brulee effect. It comes in a huge size as well and I absolutely loved it.
The milk was so silky and velvety, and the cheese mousse topping absolutely adds another dimension of richness in there that makes the drink so satisfying. In terms of the tapioca, it’s pretty good too with its chewy texture and brown sugar fragrance seeping through at each bite. All in all, I’m super happy with how it came out and it is enough to keep luring me back for more.
Brown Sugar Boba Milk (£5.45)
I’ve also tried their regular brown sugar boba milk which, simply put, is the less indulgent version of the Flaming Whale. Even though it’s a simpler version, the drink was still pretty good. Expect silky and velvety milk laced with an aromatic sweetness from the brown sugar syrup. If you want something lighter, this is a good alternative option to the Flaming Whale.
Brown Sugar Boba Coffee (£5.60)
Coffee isn’t something I usually go for at a boba shop but there’s this one random occasion where I thought why not! The Whale Tea’s Brown Sugar Boba Coffee comes in Dalgona coffee-style, where the brown sugar boba milk makes the base and is topped with a layer of Dalgona coffee mousse. I was surprised that the coffee tasted stronger than I would’ve expected and offered a sharp hit at every sip. Similarly to the two milk-based drinks above, it’s got a really smooth and velvety texture to enjoy. I enjoyed it a lot more than I originally thought I would!
Matcha Dalgona (£5.60)
Originally, I thought that this would be a whipped matcha mousse on top of brown sugar boba milk. What surprised me is that it actually is matcha milk with Dalgona coffee mouse on top instead! The idea of mixing matcha and Dalgona coffee definitely sounded rather sceptical as one may easily overpower another, but I was pleasantly surprised by the meticulous balance of flavours it’s got in this one. The Whale Tea has certainly mastered the perfect balance here, offering a good hit of coffee to start with and then the matcha seeping through as an afternote. It’s truly quite a unique sensation on the palate!
Sweety Potato (£5.40)
The Sweety Potato is essentially Taro Bubble Tea but, once again, they have taken a little of their own spin here. With Taro Milk Tea, it’s either blended silky smooth or grainy (I definitely have a huge preference for the former). For this one, the drink itself was super smooth and velvety. The twist here is that they actually put in Taro chunks in there. As a result, this drink offers a unique blend of smooth yet chunky texture. If you’re a taro fan who enjoys eating taro as a whole, it’s going to be quite a memorable one.
Passionfruit Lava Tea (£5.90)
Last but not least, here we have a fruity one – the Passionfruit Lava Tea. The Whale Tea’s menu features a range of regular fruit teas with a special highlight for the Peach Resin Fruit Tea series. This Passionfruit Lava Tea is from that exact series, made of a green tea base blended with passionfruit and peach resin. A strong whiff of fruity smell came through once the straw pierced through the lid and it smelled like a tropical summery treat. It was sweet, zingy and refreshing.
Food Review Summary
All in all, The Whale Tea is a terrific addition to the growing bubble tea scene in London and indisputably takes up one of the top spots of London’s best bubble tea spots. We’re sure that there are plans to continue to expand and we can’t wait to see more of them around the city! Just go for the Flaming Whale and I promise you’d love it.
Nearest station: Queensway