Following a heady ascent on social media, macaron ice-cream sandwich vendor Yolkin is launching its first bricks-and-mortar site.
Previously a pop-up shop, Yolkin is opening its first permanent location in London’s Chinatown later this month.
Yolkin gained popularity by leveraging social media, drawing more than 40,000 followers on Instagram with beautiful photos. The bakery offers macaron ice-cream sandwiches in an array of unusual flavours, shapes and patterns.
Previous offerings have included a candy cane flavour macaron decorated with a red swirl, and flavours such as earl grey, red velvet and crème brûlée.
Many of the firm’s flavours are south-east Asian influenced – with black sesame, lychee, taro, pandan coconut and matcha flavour combinations featured in its previous stall.
Quick to create cute seasonal fancies, Yolkin has also sculpted macaron shells into snowmen for Christmas, googly-eyed mummies for Halloween and bright yellow chicks for Easter.
Born in Hong Kong, founder Sammie Le taught herself to bake. She started selling homemade macarons at the Street Food Union Market in Soho as a means of extra income.
Inspired by finding a way to use up leftover egg yolks from the macarons – as part of an ongoing no-waste ethos – she began touting the macaron ice-cream sandwiches in June 2015.
Her pop-up moved to the Siam Eatery in Covent Garden, opening at weekends between midday and four, where the macarons would often sell out before 2pm, according to an interview Le gave to newspaper Metro.
In its previous pop-up incarnations, Yolkin’s flavour combinations changed on a weekly basis. Four were selected each week and promoted on the firm’s Instagram page. Macaron ice-cream sandwiches sold at between £4.50 and £5 each.
Social-media savvy customers were encouraged via Instagram to utter phrases such as “I carried a watermelon” at the stall on particular days to get “secret” limited-edition macarons.
Yolkin is preparing for its opening on 14 April on Rupert Street, Chinatown, having begun the recruitment of staff earlier this year. The 450sq ft store, conceived by interior designer Olly Simpson, features vintage reclaimed wood with counter seating and tables, biodegradable cutlery, and a neon sign.
Long-term, the firm hopes to develop both dairy and dairy-free ice cream scoops, helping it cater to a vegan audience. Yolkin also looks to be expanding into pancakes, milkshakes and custom-made macarons “sans [without] the ice cream”, according to its Instagram account.
Yolkin’s opening follows a recent succession of Asian-inspired dessert operators launching in Chinatown.