I come from a household full of allergies. Gluten free, dairy free, nut free, casein free, mustard free, no sesame, no peanuts, no treenuts… the list goes on. Me? I can eat anything but am in hospital in a flash if I get bitten by a mosquito or stung by a wasp. You win some you lose some I guess. So the appearance of Yorica in Soho – a vegan, animal product free, gluten, dairy, nut, egg free haven – is practically a gift from the gods for my siblings. Just a pity I ventured there for the first time without them…!
Tucked in amongst the likes of Gail’s, Snowflake and Hummingbird Bakery on Wardour Street, Yorica! is in the right place for those of us with a sweet tooth. The design is minimalist and relaxed – think 1970s VW camper vans and road trips to catch some waves in Cornwall. There’s a small area with some high stools to eat in, and at the back is where the magic happens.
At first we merely dip our toe in. Tasters abound – everything from matcha green tea fro yo to chocolate orange ice cream. We make all of the yummy noises and are still no closer to making a decision. We let countless people skip ahead of us in the queue while we try yet more flavours. “Don’t worry” the friendly member of staff behind the counter pipes up, “most people try almost every flavour and still struggle to make a decision. Some just come in, try everything and leave.”… Uh-oh. Way to make us feel bad.
We make decisions eventually. 2 sets of ice cream and a salted caramel/ vanilla fro yo with mango for me. Not only is all of the ice cream/ fro yo free of pretty much everything, the toppings, sauces and cones are too. It’s not cheap, but no more than the likes of Snog or Frae and this must be better for you right? It’s luxurious and tastes great. There is a distinctive coconut taste to every flavour – the obvious substitute for dairy and there’s no getting away from that. But considering I couldn’t begin to imagine what is actually in it, it tastes darn good. The staff are unfailing friendly and really seem to live the brand ethos, happy to help, explain their allergy policies and really put your mind at rest. There are even signs up asking consumers not to cross contaminate by bringing other products in to the shop in order that allergy sufferers can enjoy their ice cream in peace. For my littlest sister, for whom nuts on a plane can be more deadly than the classic ‘snakes on a plane’, this would be music to her ears.
I’ll certainly be back for more (with the siblings this time)!
Yorica, 130 Wardour Street, London.