Kombucha: Will it be your cup of tea?

A fermented drink with a taste all its own is fast becoming one of the hippest, not to mention healthiest, beverages you'll sup this year

Drink trends come and go, but some stick around longer than others. Breakfast-cereal, chocolate-bar or meat-flavoured cocktails, anyone? Thought not. One with proven staying power is kombucha – it's been drunk in Asia for centuries, has already conquered North America and is slowly gaining stalwart fans across the UK.

The taste is something most will have to get used to – it's pretty vinegary but surprisingly pleasant. In fact, for those who prefer their drinks on the sour side, it's a blessed relief. Kombucha also mixes well with juices and makes a great base for cocktails. As a result, London's foodies are going wild for it. If it's something you want to try, too, here's a selection of places at which to sample it.

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(Image credit: Helen Cathcart)

Jarr Bar at Mick's Garage, in trendy Hackney Wick, is Europe's first venue with kombucha on tap. It's run by Jarr Kombucha, which brews its own versions on site and serves it straight, flavoured with ginger, raspberry or passion fruit, or in some amazing cocktails. Mick's Garage also contains Shuk Shuk, an offshoot of the insanely popular restaurant Berber & Q, which serves delicious Moroccan and Tunisian-inspired food straight off the grill – the perfect partner to a couple of kombucha cocktails.

Other places in the capital include The Frog, Masterchef alumnus Adam Handling's new restaurant in Spitalfields. Handling has put together a kombucha and tea-tasting menu so you can get to grips with how to pair it with what you're eating.

Raw Duck, just north of London Fields, also brews its own kombucha in flavours such as lemongrass and lavender, and orange and turmeric. You can ask for a shot to be mixed into your morning green juice and come evening, order an oolong kombucha and vodka, which comes with a decent squeeze of lemon and is refreshing enough to make it the ultimate post-work chill-out drink.

(Image credit: Victor Frankowski)

If you want to head west rather than east, vegan raw-food restaurant Nama, in Notting Hill, serves a delicious selection, including raspberry and elderflower or wild berry. Stick around for the food here, which is as tasty as it is wholesome: think unusual takes on pad thai, sushi and sharing boards of tapas.

When the Michelin-starred contingent have cottoned on to kombucha, you know it's a keeper. They include Kitchen Table, the open-plan tasting-course restaurant hidden behind a curtain at the back of hot dog and champagne emporium Bubble Dogs, and Fera, Simon Rogan’s lauded restaurant at Claridge's, where they make their own version from barley wine, beer, cider and perry to add depth to flavours when cooking.

Prefer to try it at home? It's on sale at Whole Foods and your local health-food store will almost certainly stock it. Jarr Kombucha's plain and fruity versions are available from purveyors across London, including Harrods food hall, Sourced Market on Wigmore Street and in St Pancras station, and at the Wild Food Cafe in Neal's Yard. You'll be a kombucha convert in next to no time.

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