Old Tree Bakery (老樹) recently opened early in 2010 but it has only been lately that I have wanted to try this place. Since I knew it as a bakery I thought it only sells bread and cakes. However, actually they are like a Chinese cafe that also serves food.
Recently a friend visited Old Tree Bakery and recommended that I try their food, especially Old Tree’s Taiwanese dishes. But also I had come across on rocket4rocket blog an entry about Old Tree that made me have even more desire to visit this place for Taiwanese cuisines.
The opportunity did not come until Saturday with a few of my badminton crews. After hitting some shuttlecocks I suggested that we go to Old Tree Bakery for dinner. Everyone was surprise hearing ‘bakery’ since we cannot just be eating cakes and bread for dinner. That was definitely not! Hearing that there will be Taiwanese dishes many of the crews jumped with joy since finding this kind off cuisines is not often found everywhere in London.
We were fortunate to arrive early that evening to be able to sit on the long table at the back of the bakery which catered for all 8 of us. The bakery did get busier as the night went on, so I was glad we manage to get there when there was still tables available. The place to me felt contemporary with a clean finish to the decor. Sitting there I did have this feeling that I was not in London but possibly in Asia.
The staffs were really friendly and as soon we all sat down we were all handed out a menu. There was a main menu and also a weekly special menu. Since we needed some time to look through the menu we first ordered drinks. You will find that there are a variety of drinks that you choose including coffee, ice freezer, tea, fresh juice, water, house wine, beer etc. There are a range of bubble tea as well as other unique teas to try.
My recommendation is the cream caramel tea (布丁奶茶), which is like a Chinese style milk tea but with the addition of a cream caramel. You cannot see it in the photo, but there is actually a cream caramel pudding on the pudding. Many of us thought it would be too sweet but it was not at all, instead it was just right.
I had a friend who tried the Taiwanese Ice Malt Black Tea (古早麥香紅茶) which you can have it has hot or cold. She had it hot and thought it tasted a little bit like Chinese herbal tea. I did try it myself and it is very interesting since it indeed had that taste of a very light Chinese herbal tea but nothing as strong. It is actually a refreshing drink to have.
For food there are a choice of various rice, noodles dishes as well as salads. Some of us got the bento box which are served with rice, salad, side fishes of fried tofu and salt & pepper chicken as well as a bowl of soup. Depending which one you get the price can range from £7.80 to £9.80.
Instead of the bento boxes I ordered the Taiwanese belly pork with Stewed Egg & Rice (扣肉滷蛋飯) that was on the weekly special menu.
I did like this dish, the belly pork was infused with flavour and has been cooked so that it was soft enough to eat. I had just enough fat and meat of the belly pork. It came in a sauce that like sweet soya sauce which was great to mix in with steamed rice. This is a dish I do recommend if you like belly pork, But it you are a bit worry about the fat then you could try the Taiwanese Lo-Bak (Minced Pork) with stewed egg & rice (肉燥滷蛋飯).
This came with a big bowl of rice with a side dish of pickle relish and a bowl of soup. I really do like this idea and do reminded me a bit of Japanese. I felt that every dish in my set meal was beautifully presented even the rice which had a few sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Presentation is important since it does make you want to eat your food.
The pickle relish was really nice because it was not too strong but a flavour that can open up you appetite. The soup was light and clear that contained seaweeds, carrots and potatoes. It is much lighter than a bean paste miso sauce, so will compliment the whole meal.
Also from the weekly special menu we ordered the Taiwanese Sesame Oil chicken Soup with rice (麻油雞飯). It had a fragrant smell of sesame oil that made everyone hungry. The chicken was nice and soft which came in a tasty soup, that was excellent to have with the bowl of steamed rice that came with it.
Other rice dishes on the table was the Taiwanese stir fried chicken in chilli, garlic and black sesame oil with rice (台式三杯雞飯). This was like my dish that came served with a bowl of rice, soup and a plate of pickle relish. Although it had a few fresh chilli I did not find it spicy and this is from a lady who is not that good standing up to spicy food.
If you do not fancy rice then there are also variety of noodle dishes to choose. One of the staff who was taking our order recommended the Hotpot Seafood Udon Noodle Soup (鍋燒海鮮烏龍麵). This is a nice big soup noodle to have which the broth of the soup had a strong taste that had reminded me of miso soup.
Along with our rice or noodle dishes we ordered some side dishes to share. One was the Taiwanese deep-fried chicken in salt and pepper (台式鹽酥雞).
The other was the Taiwanese Sesame oil Stir Fired with Mustard Vegetable (麻油炒芥菜). It looks plain but it is tasty since it was cooked with full of flavour.
I have to say that a set meal can fill you up which is a definitely a good thing. But I can always find a separate stomach for desserts. You will want to try some when you go up to the glass counter and look at all the beautiful cream cakes on display. Between us we ordered a variety of cakes – mango mousse cake, tiramisu cake, cheese cake as well as cream puff. My favourite would be the chocolate mousse cake since it was full of chocolate flavour but it was not all sweet. It suit my taste buds since I do not like sweet cakes and I prefer chocolate that are not sweet at all because sweet just means it full of sugar.
The price at Old Tree Bakery are reasonable. Whether it is the rice set meal, bento boxes or the noodle they are all under £10. I do hope to visit there for more yummy Taiwanese food, tasty drinks and pretty cakes. You do not have to sit in to enjoy the cakes or bread, you can also buy some to take home and enjoy.
Old Tree Bakery is located in Golders Green of North West London. It is very convenient to get to if you are using public transport since it is only a few minutes walk from Golders Green tube station which also has a bus station that has various bus links.
If you ever get the opportunity then do visit this local gem in north west London. I cannot wait until my next visit!
Old Tree Bakery (老樹)
105 Golders Green Road