Edited: December, 2019
About five or six months after opening, JJ Cafe in Cloverdale has closed. An Indian restaurant will be opening at this location on 176 Street. I peeked through the windows and there are renovations going on.
Where will I get my bubble tea now?
Cloverdale, a town in Surrey, British Columbia, is the place I grew up, and I still live in the area.
There are more places to eat sushi or to get your hair cut than I would have thought possible for a small town! The one thing we’ve never had in Cloverdale is bubble tea. I have to venture further out to Langley or the Guildford area in Surrey to get a bubble tea. I like the slushes, and usually order mango slush with pearls. That would be tapioca pearls. Not the little tapioca like in the pudding my mother used to make, but larger tapioca about the size of a small marble.
I was happy to see a sign advertising JJ Cafe would be opening soon and bubble tea is on the menu.
It’s a good location on the main street through town, but I’ve seen a few restaurants come and go from this location. Previously this was home to a Thai restaurant, and before that a fish and chips shop.
The restaurant is located in a building known as the White Hotel. It’s a two story building painted white. I’ve never known it to operate as a hotel, though it did decades ago. These days the lower section has been turned into retail and the upper section are apartments. There’s an apartment on the ground floor as well, behind the retail shop, but you only know it’s there if you happen to be walking in the alley behind the building. The shop beside the restaurant is currently empty. It was a hair cut place not too long ago!
I’ve seen the sign advertising bubble tea and cake coming soon for a couple of months because I walk my dogs past here daily. Then a sign announced they’d be opening in April to practice. I noticed them open one Sunday during the practice month, and headed inside.
They only had a few flavors of bubble tea available, fortunately my favorite mango slush was on the list! I believe now that they’ve completely opened there are more flavors available. The menu below was current in April, 2019.
The restaurant is a breakfast and lunch type place. I’d come in at lunch time and noticed they have Japanese sandwiches. A fruit sandwich caught my eye. That’s different. I ordered that too.
In the glass display I spotted an egg custard tart. I haven’t had one in years, so I added that on for dessert. I believe my order came to about $12. The proprietor also threw in a bun, very nice of him. I checked with him first what was in it, because I’d noticed the sign for cheese and ham buns, and being a vegetarian…. Well, I wouldn’t have been too happy if I’d bit into it, but my dogs might like it! He assured me it was a sweet roll.
It took awhile to get my order together, but this is their practice time. There was a couple at a table and they brought their food out then worked on mine. It took around 10 minutes or so.
I told one of my friends about my tart and she said that T&T Grocery sells egg custard tarts. This is a popular Asian shop.The next day she showed up with a package of 6. We each ate one and a third person took one. She insisted I take the rest home with me. Yum! Thanks!
But look at the package compared to the one I bought at JJ Cafe. They’re identical as far as I can tell. I kind of thought a store that advertises cakes and bakery items would bake them onsite. But again, they’re just getting the restaurant up and running and were only open a few hours at a time. It’s easier and probably more cost effective to buy baked goods somewhere else and resell them.
My friend tells me T&T also sells cheesecake, so the other pastries in the display case might have been bought there too and not baked in house.
I read a book called Murder with a Cherry on Top about a woman who owns an ice cream shop. The bakery across the street decided to compete and sell ice cream treats too. It came out in the novel that a wholesaler bakery provides the goodies for retail bakeries. Not as uncommon as you would think. If you love bakeries as much as I do, read my post about my lifelong love affair with bakeries. (Disclosure: If you click on the links for the novel, you’ll be taken to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
I’ll start with the mango slush bubble tea. It’s as good as any other mango slush bubble tea I’ve had. I only drink bubble tea once or twice a year. Now that there’s a place in Cloverdale that sells them, I might increase my consumption! Especially with the summer on us. A slush drink on a hot day really hits the spot!
The fruit sandwich took me by surprise. It’s on white bread, which I don’t normally eat. If I’m going to eat bread, I choose a whole grain bread. This was a sweet white bread. I thought they used whipping cream as the dressing, but it was runny and not sweet like whipping cream. Possibly a cream/mayonnaise combo. The fruit included strawberries, kiwi, and orange. It was different. I’d definitely try this again.
The sandwich was served in a triangle take out tray with cartoon characters on it. The sort of thing that’s popular in some Asian countries.
The final verdict is I liked everything I purchased from JJ Cafe and will definitely return. The mango bubble tea and the fruit sandwich are definitely in my future. I’ll pass on the egg custard tart and go right to T&T grocery store if I’m looking to buy another one.
JJ Cafe is located in downtown Cloverdale at 5737 176 Street. Across the street from the former Clova Theatre.
** I received no compensation for my review of JJ Cafe in Cloverdale. **