Rarely in human history, has any individual accurately predicted the consequences of their decisions. Indeed, when I decided to embark upon a dental degree, I could not have anticipated that my eyebags would grow larger than my actual face, or that my receding hairline would eventually require its own passport photo. Nor, I imagine, did Sammie Le – the one-woman team behind Yolkin, anticipate how popular her pioneer pop-up would be.
Starting out as an avid baker with a simple love for macarons, Sammie faced a most pressing dilemma – either drown in a sea of unused egg-yolks, or drown her family in a sea of custard and obesity. Luckily, one day, she came across a yolk-based recipe for ice cream. After investing in an ice cream maker, she spent some time making macarons and ice cream separately, until – like every great entrepreneur – she experienced a sudden moment of enlightened madness. “What if I were to fuse the two together, and sell them to people who have no regard for the health of their teeth?”. Thus, came the birth of Yolkin’s macaron ice cream sandwiches. Since its launch, Yolkin’s popularity has grown exponentially, and continues to do so, with queues that stretch far into the horizon, and currently begin forming an hour before the doors open. For many, eating a macaron ice cream sandwich has surged to the top of their belly’s bucket list, and reduced them into a state of complete hysteria. Having finally ticked it off our own bucket list, we can say that it’s for good reason too.
– Yolkin currently operates as a pop-up out of Siam Eatery, located at 24 Wellington St WC2E 7DD.
– Flavours change on a weekly basis, and Yolkin usually trades on Saturdays and Sundays ONLY, from 12pm until stocks run out (usually within an hour or two!). Please visit Yolkin’s Facebook/Instagram page for details, and to check whether they’re open on a particular weekend.
After securing third place in the queue and resisting the urge to run away with the Yolkin fridge as it was rolled in, Steak and I purchased a selection of red velvet, raspberry ripple, and chocolate mint macaron sandwiches. Each set of macarons were of an exceptional quality, with a crisp and firm surface (owing to the time spent in the fridge), and a gloriously sticky and chewy character. Needless to say, the macarons contrasted incredibly well with the thick and dense ice cream, and as a whole, each sandwich delivered a sensory experience that was utterly euphoric.
If three’s a crowd – we like this crowd.
The red velvet macaron in particular, was a piece of pure indulgence, and was, by far, the most interesting of the lot. Its intriguing cream-cheese flavoured ice cream delivered a smooth and strong flavour to the palate, whilst its dense consistency contrasted well with the crisp macaron and the soft, airy red velvet cake crumbled on top. It was no wonder at all as to why it’s Yolkin’s best-seller. In fact, Steak enjoyed it so much, that she practically smashed and smothered it all over her face, scattering macaron crumbs over a considerable blast radius. Given that she already fails to clear five feet in height, I was terrified that onlookers would think I was feeding sweets to an unattended child.
You may think that nothing could have topped the red velvet sandwich, but – hold your horses, because the chocolate mint sandwich swooped in as a surprise contender for the top spot. Whilst not as elegant or as alluring as the red velvet, the chocolate mint was the most powerfully-flavoured sandwich from our selection. Both the mint and chocolate elements infused within the ice cream were perfectly balanced against one another, and along with the subtler essence of mint within the macarons, it delivered an immensely refreshing punch to the palate. So refreshing in fact, that the dentist in me would forgive you if you were to brush your teeth with it. Dare we say it – we felt the chocolate mint was well within the league of the red velvet.
In contrast, the raspberry ripple was a little more feeble in presence. Whilst the textures and consistencies equalled those of the other sandwiches, it didn’t offer quite as much excitement to the tastebuds. Had there been a stronger flavour of raspberry within the ice cream, it may have made a more lasting impression.
Value For Money: 4/5
Yolkin’s macice masterpieces generally cost either £4.50 or £4.80, which we feel are incredibly reasonable prices, given that they’re far larger than one would expect, and surprisingly filling too. And, let us not forget that each sandwich is handmade, requiring a substantial investment of time, effort and patience. If you don’t feel guilty about eating all those calories, you should at least feel guilty about demolishing all the creativity that went into them.
Perhaps the most admirable aspect of Sammie’s business (after the delicious macaron ice cream sandwiches) is Sammie herself, who not only manages to get through her endless stream of customers with a masterful level of efficiency, but does so with a big smile and a pleasant manner. Obtaining a Yolkin sandwich is by no means a quick affair (given that you have to stare at the pavement for an hour if you want to be in with a chance), but Sammie does her utmost to serve as many people as she can, in as short a time as possible – without compromising on customer service and interaction. She is, in herself, a testament to the toil and perseverance that goes into running her business.
Starting up a small business is always a turbulent and daunting affair. Whilst Sammie Le still has a long way to go, there’s no denying that the future of Yolkin looks to be as bright as its macarons, and as vast as the waistlines of those who eat them. With such a rapid rate of growth, it’s only a matter of time before campsites form in Piccadilly circus, and riot police are called in to deal with the ever-growing crowds of ravenous and overexcited food enthusiasts. Whatever the consequences of Yolkin’s rise to fame and glory, we think it’s a small price to pay for their utterly delectable desserts. Whether you’re a long-term inhabitant of London, or a traveller passing by on the weekend, Yolkin is one pop-up that you simply have to visit. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with a normal macaron ever again.
Address: Siam Eatery, 24 Wellington St WC2E 7DD