Before heading to London last week for the Makeup Revolution 2nd Birthday party, I saw an article on Time Out about a new free from cafe selling sweet treats that had opened near Oxford Street called Yorica! When I researched more and more into the company (read: stalked their website and social media) I started to realise how amazing everything sounded and decided it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them and see if they wanted me to do a review. When they said yes I was thrilled and arranged a time to meet them before my train home.
I have reviewed a lot of free from products on my blog as I find that these are the ones that appeal to me more when I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss is important to me at the moment so I try to cut out dairy and gluten where I can, but I have found it’s not so easy when out and about. That’s exactly why I was so intrigued by Yorica as it seemed the perfect way to be able to have a treat like everyone else but not have to feel as guilty as I do when I polish off a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting!
When I got there I was greeted by Monica, the owner of Yorica. I arrived a little earlier than their opening time so I took full advantage of the quiet cafe and took as many pictures as I possibly good. This took longer than expected as the decor was so amazing that I wanted to photograph everything – even the bin! The walls were painted in my favourite colour (sea foam blue/green) and had awesome fixtures dotted around the place, like a selfie wall and sign saying ‘mind your melon’ above a step.
While there I was lucky enough to be able to ask Monica some questions…
You’ve recently opened up a free from cafe in Central London, is there a story behind the opening?
I wanted to be able to cater to everyone, particularly the kids that had specific dietary requirements and couldn’t normally enjoy an ice cream or a treat while out with their families. Since opening on Wednesday 2nd March I’ve already had some amazing reviews online, and the ones that have stood out to me the most were from Mother’s Day. People were saying that visiting Yorica! made their day as it was amazing to be able to see their child enjoy ice cream and to hear them say “this is the best day ever”. I’ve had so many people tell me that in store too, it’s very emotional at times.
What kind of treats do you sell and who can enjoy them?
We sell six different flavours of frozen yoghurt, including vanilla, chocolate, matcha green tea and a few others. We also have 12 flavours of ice cream and we’re working on 10 more including a rainbow icecream! The flavours we currently have include vanilla, chocolate, beetroot and chocolate, strawberry, moringa, Wow Butter and cookies and cream.
We have a range of free from toppings including marshmallows, Oreo style cookies, jelly babies and fruit – even our sprinkles are healthy and free from as they are coloured using veg. You can also top your ice cream or fro yo with our hot, soy based free from caramel and chocolate sauces. We make our own cones on site too, including waffle cones and chai based cones.
Using the ice cream or fro you you can also use any of these as a base to make a free from shake.
As everything we make in our production kitchen downstairs is gluten free, vegan, dairy free, nut free and egg free it can be enjoyed by absolutely anyone! That’s the main point we want to get across when we talk to people – it’s both delicious and suitable for all!
Which one is your favourite?
I have a couple of favourite combinations. First of all, peanut butter (made with Wow Butter) and moringa ice cream are amazing together as it’s the naughtiness of the butter mixed with the healthy antioxidants of the moringa tree. My other favourite is a little more sweet and has to be the vanilla ice cream with cookies and cream, topped with caramel syrup.
What is the most rewarding thing about opening Yorica?
When I see all of these people flooding in as soon as we open the doors after only a few days of opening, I can’t help but feel incredibly proud of what we have managed to achieve here. We can help people who have allergies, people who are health conscious and people with children that have special dietary requirements – it’s a great feeling to be able to cater to such a broad audience.
We get up early every morning and we haven’t had a day off in week, all because we can see how much the hard work is paying off each and every day. We’re healthy, clean and cruelty free because we won’t just get in any ingredient because it’s cheap – we love and care for Yorica! and hope that everyone can enjoy the journey with us. At this point other members of staff were nodding and agreeing, saying how proud they are of what they have achieved, it really was lovely to see.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
As we don’t just get our ingredients from anywhere that sells them cheap, we faced a lot of challenges getting the certificates for everything to ensure it truly is free from – especially with the toppings! We now have all the certificates that show we are 100% free from in everything that we serve.
After I had finished my interview I got to taste all of the ice cream flavours and I was so impressed at how delicious they were, they certainly didn’t lack flavour at all. Some of them were less obvious than others in terms of flavour, but to me it just worked. I think every spoonful was followed by an “oh my god, that is so good” or “mmmmmmm”. One thing I was really impressed with were the free from Oreo style cookies, they were actually better than the originals and as a huge fan or Oreo’s I didn’t think that would ever be possible.
When I had finished my taste test I ordered a small ice cream tub that combined my two favourite flavours peanut butter and cookies and cream, then topped it with the soy based chocolate sauce. I can honestly say it is one of the nicest ice creams I have had in such a long time and I am still amazed at the fact the peanut butter flavour was nut free. How can it taste so much like peanut butter!?
I have a feeling Yorica! is going to quickly become a tradition when I am visiting London, especially as it so easily accessible being located on Wardour Street (located between Oxford Street and Piccadilly, right near Tiger and LUSH). The I honestly loved most about the whole experience being able to enjoy a treat and not feel guilty afterwards.
Are you going to be visiting any time soon?
Lots of love,