Thursday, February 22, 2018

Creme Caramel Cake at ESSE DUE (エッセドゥエ) - Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman Episode 10

If you're reading this then you're probably a Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman fan like we are. And like us, you might be thinking of paying a few of the shops a visit on your next trip to Tokyo. To help you a little in your quest, today we bring you a short write-up of the Creme Caramel Cake (Caramel Pudding) at ESSE DUE (エッセドゥエ) from episode 10 of the show!

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman ESSE DUE Creme Caramel Pudding Cake

Follow this link to go back to the master list of all the other dessert shops / cafes.

🍨 I guess Creme Caramel needs no introduction - it's a really popular custard dessert topped with a layer of soft caramel. What's a little different about ESSE DUE's version is that it's served as a slice of cake and topped with whipped cream. Aesthetics aside, though, it's superbly executed: the custard's smooth, jiggly but firm, and the caramel has been cooked/burnt just long enough to impart the perfect amount of bitter. Divine.

🍴 Unlike many of the other shops on Kantaro's list which are dedicated dessert joints, ESSE DUE is first and foremost an Italian restaurant. During our lunch visit we shared a pizza lunch and salad lunch (there's also a pasta lunch option), which comes with pizza, salad, and your choice of cold or hot coffee/tea.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman ESSE DUE Pizza Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman ESSE DUE Salad Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman ESSE DUE Coffee

Ultimately, we thought that the food was mediocre/subpar, so ask for the dessert menu if you just want cake!

👥 Crowd: We visited on a Friday lunchtime, and the ground floor dining area shop was around two-thirds full. Do note, though, that ESSE DUE is firmly in the middle of office territory, so it's possible that they are less crowded on weekends.

🚄 Access: As always, directions via Google Maps rarely ever fail me in Tokyo, but if you won't have Internet connectivity then the restaurant is a few minutes walk from exit B6 of the Akasaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line).

Tabelog Link for your quick reference on opening days / hours. Reservations not accepted.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bavarian Matcha Cream at Kinozen (紀の善) - Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman Episode 6

If you're reading this then you're probably a Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman fan like we are. And like us, you might be thinking of paying a few of the shops a visit on your next trip to Tokyo. To help you a little in your quest, today we bring you a short write-up of the Bavarian Matcha Cream at Kinozen (紀の善) from episode 6 of the show!

Follow this link to go back to the master list of all the other dessert shops / cafes.

🍨 Bavarian Matcha Cream is an East-meets-West sort of dessert: The Bavarian Cream itself originating from somewhere in Europe (Wikipedia seems conflicted whether it's of German or French origin), and the Matcha (green tea) and Anko (Red Bean Paste) originating from Japan.

If you don't want to ask for an English menu, the Japanese name of the dessert is "Matcha Babaroa" (抹茶ババロア). There's also a Chestnut Bavarian Cream ("Kuri Babaroa," 栗ババロア), which was unfortunately not in season when we visited in the winter.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Bavarian Matcha Cream Kinozen

As is somewhat standard with most (all?) Japanese dessert shops, the waitresses give you hot green tea and sometimes some small snacks once you're seated; Here at Kinozen (紀の善) the snack is a somewhat vaguely cat-shaped Senbei (rice cracker).

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Bavarian Matcha Cream Kinozen

We asked for two orders of the Bavarian Matcha Cream / Matcha Babaroa / 抹茶ババロア. The dessert was really good: The green tea flavour profile accompanying perfectly the red bean paste. We weren't so sure about the whipped cream, though - Bavarian Cream is after all primarily a thickened milk-and-cream mixture, and adding more whipped cream on top of that was a tad bit much on the dairy. In hindsight perhaps we should have shared two different desserts.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Bavarian Matcha Cream Kinozen

👥 Crowd: We visited on a Friday afternoon, and the two-storey shop was around 80-90% full. If you visit on a weekend, it's probably pretty likely that there'll be a queue.

🚄 Access: As always, directions via Google Maps rarely ever fail me in Tokyo, but if you won't have Internet connectivity then take exit B3 or B2a of the Iidabashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line; Tokyo Metro Tozai, Yurakucho, Namboku and Oedo Lines); Kinozen is a a minute or two walk away.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Bavarian Matcha Cream Kinozen Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Bavarian Matcha Cream Kinozen

Tabelog Link for your quick reference on opening days / hours. Reservations not accepted.

Mamekan at Akasaka Sagamiya (赤坂 相模屋) - Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman Episode 3

If you're reading this then you're probably a Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman fan like we are. And like us, you might be thinking of paying a few of the shops a visit on your next trip to Tokyo. To help you a little in your quest, today we bring you a short write-up of the Mamekan at Akasaka Sagamiya (赤坂 相模屋) from episode 3 of the show!

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya Sweets Princess
Yes, we're nerdy like that

Follow this link to go back to the master list of all the other dessert shops / cafes.

In episode 3, Kantaro tried to execute the "Mamekan Triathlon," eating three bowls of Mamekan from three different shops. We didn't have the time (or the stamina) to do the same, so we picked Akasaka Sagamiya, the third shop, as it was the most conveniently located for us. If you recall, however, Kantaro actually had take out, and ate the Mamekan at home, because ...

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya

... except that he didn't, really. We ended being a casualty of the non-literal translation, because what Kantaro actually said - "赤坂相模屋には、残念だがら、イートインのコーナーはない" - literally means "Unfortunately, Akasaka Sagamiya does not have any eat-in corner (area)," i.e. you have no choice but to order take out. Oh well. Anyway ...

🍨 Mamekan is a Japanese traditional dessert not too unlike Anmitsu (which we blogged about a few days ago). It has the same base of Kanten (Agar Jelly Cubes) and Kuromitsu (Dark Syrup), but instead of having red beans and fruits, it concentrates on Kuromame (Sweet Black Soybeans).

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya

Before we continue, apologies in advance for the aesthetically-challenged presentation. If you are a resident in Tokyo I'm sure you'll have no problem, but as visitors to the city staying in a business hotel, we had to improvise by using coffee mugs in place of bowls, and crudely chopping up the Kanten with a plastic coffee stirrer borrowed from a Family Mart downstairs. Aesthetics doesn't change the taste (much) though, we hope!

Oh by the way, the two mugs pictured below make up half of the "three person portion take-out pack" (¥1200).

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya

The dessert ended up to be quite delicious, if perhaps a little one-dimensional. Unlike Anmitsu's variety of flavours, Mamekan really is all about the sweet soy beans, so your enjoyment of the bowl will probably depend a lot on how much you like (or don't like) them.

👥 Crowd: As mentioned, this shop is take-out only so there shouldn't be any problem with crowds.

🚄 Access: As always, directions via Google Maps rarely ever fail me in Tokyo, but if you won't have Internet connectivity then Akasaka Sagamiya (赤坂 相模屋) is within walking distance of either the Akasaka (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line) or Akasaka-Mitsuke (Tokyo Metro Ginza, Marunouchi Line) stations. It's also a short walk from Esse Due (episode 10), which has decent Italian food and a killer Creme Caramel Cake.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Mamekan Akasaka Sagamiya

Tabelog Link for your quick reference on opening days / hours. Reservations and credit cards not applicable.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fruits Parfait at Kajitsuen (果実園 リーベル/東京駅) - Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman Episode 4

If you're reading this then you're probably a Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman fan like we are. And like us, you might be thinking of paying a few of the shops a visit on your next trip to Tokyo. To help you a little in your quest, today we bring you a short write-up of the Fruits Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre (果実園 リーベル) i.e. the fruity peach ice cream that appeared on episode 4 of the show ...

... except not really. We went to Kajitsuen Tokyo Station (果実園 東京駅). And we had Strawberry and Musk Melon parfaits instead of Peach 🤷🏻

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Amaou Strawberry Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station

Follow this link to go back to the master list of all the other dessert shops / cafes.

We did try to go to the actual Libre (リーベル) outlet in Shinjuku, but we sort of forgot that it was a Sunday afternoon, and lo and behold a 29 table, 76 person waiting list greeted us at arrival ...

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Fruits Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station

... so we hopped back on the train to try our luck at the Tokyo Station (東京駅) outlet instead. The queue here is way more manageable, and we thankfully were seated after about 20 minutes of waiting.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Fruits Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Fruits Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station

🍦 At Kajitsuen, the Parfaits really have their fruits firmly entrenched as the stars of the show. Peaches are only in season in the summer, unfortunately, so we settle for the winter specialties of Amaou Strawberry Parfait and Musk Melon Parfait (¥3900 for both). As you might notice in the photographs below, the parfaits are really almost all fruit, with the ice cream and whipped cream seemingly there only to serve as putty to hold the fruits in place.

The Amaou Strawberry parfait was divine (Amaou is a type/brand of Strawberry from Fukuoka which is known for being sweet, large, and delicious), each bite of strawberry being moist, juicy, and sweet (with just a hint of tartness). The melon on the other hand was just so-so, having none of the overwhelming juice, sweetness, nor hint of musk that you normally expect from Musk Melon.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Amaou Strawberry Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Muskmelon Parfait at Kajitsuen Libre Riberu Tokyo Station

👥 Crowd: As we mentioned above, the Libre (リーベル) outlet in Shinjuku has a really long queue on weekends, so either turn up early (close to opening time), or visit any of the other outlets most convenient to you. I mean, the fruits should be all sourced from the same central kitchen/supplier, so each parfait should be the same at any of the locations, no?

🚄 Access: As always, directions via Google Maps rarely ever fail me in Tokyo, but if you won't have Internet connectivity then the Libre (リーベル) outlet is a few minutes walk from the Shinjuku station, across the main street from Shinjuku Lumine 1 (not Lumine est, which is the opposite direction!), whereas the Tokyo Station (東京駅) outlet is somewhere in the Kitchen Street.

Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Kajitsuen Libre Location Kantaro Sweet Tooth Salaryman Muskmelon Parfait at Kajitsuen Tokyo Station Location

Tabelog Link for your quick reference on opening days / hours. Reservations not accepted.