Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tokyo Day 2 - Sadaharu Aoki - French Desserts with a Japanese Twist

I think I've eaten enough desserts in Japan to last me the next 3 months! There's Tsujiri (patronised them 3x), Sadaharu Aoki (2x), Tsuen (800 year old teahouse, my fave for cha soba), Pierre Herme, Toramon and all the other random yummy nibbles and bites along the way.I've heard so much about Sadaharu Aoki (especially from ice and the pictures from chubby hubby) I had to go and try their cakes. The Sadaharu Aoki boutique is located conveniently at Tokyo Midtown (nearest station is Roppongi) which also has many other dessert places such as Toramon, this famous kyoto dessert place (which I didn't get the chance to eat at), Dean and Deluca (which I didn't eat at either) etc (all on the same level!!). I'm so glad that the Japanese have such a sweet tooth cos the dessert restaurants there are really flourishing.
Since there were so much cakes to choose from, we decided to try their Degustation platter (1550yen, about sgd$22) which had sampling portions of 6 different cakes.
I can't really remember the exact names of all the cakes on it, so this is what I can find online.
My favourites were the Cassisier (the purple one next to the green one), the raspberry cake (the cake was so so soft) and the Chocolat Pralin (the one with the macaroon).

I didn't quite like the garish pink one (right in front) which supposed to be some strawberry thing. Just found out while searching online that all the colourings are natural! Wonder how he managed to get such a bright pink hue...

The Cheese cake citronné (rightmost one) had a strong hint of lemon, but the cream cheese layers were so rich and creamy that I didn't any problem eating it despite of my strong dislike for citrus fruits.
Bamboo - which has green tea and chocolate, is an interesting combination. I'm currently going through a green tea phase (wait for my next few posts of all the green tea desserts I've been eating in Japan), so I quite liked this green tea and chocolate confection (hard to find green tea + chocolate stuff). There's a perfect balance between the green tea and chocolate taste, and they do not overpower each other. (Btw, bamboo is my most favourite non-flowering plant - I really like gardens which have bamboo - my JC used to have a bamboo garden too! If I have a house next time, I shall grow lots of bamboo in planter boxes on my balcony)
There's also a Bamboo Dessert, but we didn't try it cos it'll definitely be dessert overkill since we also ordered 2 eclairs. Especially since I spent so much of the rest of my time in Japan eating tonnes of desserts...The first two eclairs I tried were the Sakura and the Salted Caramel. There were only 2 flavours available that day. The lady at the counter was trying to explain to me something about going to another boutique which has more eclairs(?) but the language barrier was way too great and everything she said was lost on me. Let me attempt to explain why Sadaharu Aoki's eclairs are the best I've tasted (since I'm no pastry expert). Other than their brilliant hues, the pastry used to make the eclair is very different from the ones I've tasted before. It all starts from the crust or the eclair body (whichever way you like to call it). Check out all those horizontal lines on the body, and how the whole eclair is so nicely brown unlike the pale flimsy versions back home (ok it's not really a fair comparison - like comparing a Nissan Sunny to a GTR...) but the crust is unlike any other eclair crust I've tasted before. It's really firm to touch, fairly hard to depress and you can knock it a few times and it won't crumble. But put the whole thing in your mouth and it gives a satisfying crunch and you'll find that it's actually quite soft with a nice crispiness on the outside.

Of course, when finished with that glossy glaze, and gold dust (for Sakura) or bits of caramel crunch (salted caramel), it looks so irresistible.
Walked past Sadaharu Aoki in Tokyo Midtown again (was going to Toramon for traditional Japanese desserts), on one of my last few days in Tokyo and decided to be kaypoh and pop in to see if they had any other flavours. And I was rewarded with the merry view of 3 perfect green tea eclairs sitting happily in the display case. Of course, I immediately bought it (I have such lousy luck that if I were to have my dessert at Toramon and went back, they would surely disappear and be bought up, just like the Mont Blanc from Pierre Herme Aoyama). So the kiasu Singaporean in me rushed to buy it, got it packed safely in their posh looking carrier boxes, with a packet of gel ice to keep it cool for the next 2 hours.
The Sakura innards - luscious vanilla custard and some pink coloured sweet fruity jam. Salted caramel - very strong taste of caramel with bits of caramel crunch
Green tea, which I ate when it wasn't cold anymore. The green tea filling got a bit runny cos I walked around Harajuku with it (because somebody was busy shopping) and it got bashed around quite a bit. The green tea taste is nice and strong.
I suppose I can't choose which eclair is my favourite - they're all delicious in their own way and each have their unique tastes that if I ever go back, I'll have them in all flavours again, especially the elusive chocolate which I wasn't able to find (minus the yuzu since I really dislike orange and anything else that resembles it).
I also had a Matcha au lait Glace (840yen, around sgd$13) because they have a rule (which we didn't know when we happily traipsed in) where you HAVE to buy a drink (not another cake/dessert). To be honest, the drink was pretty good and extremely creamy. But definitely not a must try like the eclairs/cakes.Matcha cappuccino - this was also pretty good. I guess the next time I come back, I will have this if the weather is cold.The green tea part of the menuThe 'rules' of eating in the cafe - pretty confusing cos we thought that we could order a dessert or something but actually each person has to order one drink. I would have preferred if I could order another dessert instead of a drink tho!
The store
Playing with my macro filter - saved me lots of $$$ (since I'm not a pro photographer nor a stickler for distortion and whatnots...)The cake display - no taking photos as I was told after I snapped this shot.
Sadaharu Aoki
9-7-4 Akasaka Minato-ku Tokyo Midtown B1F
3 min from Roppongi station (Tokyo metro line/Oedo line) - it's really easy to find just follow the signs in the station
Mon - Sun. 11:00 - 21:00

Boutique Shinjuku Isetan
3-14-1 Shinjuku shinjuku-ku Tokyo
3 min from Shinjukusanchome station (Tokyo metro line)
Mon - Sun. 10:00 - 20:00

Boutique Marunouchi
3-4-1 Shinkokusai BLD Marunouchi,chiyoda-ku Tokyo
3 min from Yurakucho station (JR/Tokyo metro line)
Tel. 0081(0)3 5293 2800 Mon - Sun. 11:00 - 20:00

I feel my pancreas being mighty stressed just by looking at all the photos of the desserts I've eaten.


red fir said...

OMG! You're making me so so jealous! :( I so want Bamboo & those beautiful eclairs... Been dreaming of Bamboo forever.

Mr. Pineapple man said...

yum!!! i need some dessert right now!

emma said...

Sadaharu Aoki!!! I am still dreaming of the eclairs, 2 years after my japan trip... The best ever.

m said...

ice: go visit tokyo! so yummy i wanna fly back right now!
mr pineapple man: lots of dessert posts coming up :D
emma: I'm back for only a week and yet I'm dreaming of all the delicious desserts already...

julie said...

my goodness i never knew eclairs could look so gorgeous and have such bizarre flavours like GREEN TEA lol...

haha ur like pandas..the panda zoo in chengdu is most amazing and au natural unlike our sg zoo lol

m said...

julie: lol of course the pandas there are more active everyone feels so sluggish in sgp cos it's so hot and humid! they have cassis and chocolate and yuzu too!

claire said...

i am so gonna go back to tokyo for gradtrip2 in sept!! :D

m said...

claire, can i follow you? :P I'm missing japan so much!! dont wanna start work with ten thousand screaming kids ARGHH!!!