50 SHADES OF TOKYO DESSERTS | SHADE 13
I won’t be the first or the last person to write that the desserts in Tokyo equal if not surpass those in Paris. Naturally you have to see it to believe it, but the sheer number of sophisticated patisseries and boulangeries in the city will make your heart flutter. Last weekend I opted for something purely French and headed to La Boutique de Joel Robuchon, the casual boulangerie and pastry shop located in Marunochi Brick Square, a green oasis in the midst of the financial district of the capital. My friends and regular readers know about my love for French cuisine and particular fascination with one of the best chefs in the world, Joel Robuchon. His presence in Tokyo is remarkable – with three Michelin-starred restaurants and a few bakeries to choose from I feel like I am in culinary heaven. We already had a wonderful Christmas dinner at La Table de Joel Robuchon and have plans to revisit the magnificent chateau for more fine-dining. However, if you don’t feel like splurging La Boutique de Joel Robuchon offers a taste of Robuchon without the commitment of time or funds. This combination of patisserie, boulangerie and a café is where a sophisticated French haute cuisine meets casual bistro. Decorated in the signature deep red and black colors, the ambiance is unpretentious and lively. The number of sweet and savory treats on offer is dizzying. You can get anything from freshly baked baguettes to that perfectly flaky and butter croissant to oh-so-tempting salmon quiche and so much more. One thing I highly recommend you try when visiting Japan is a curry bun. It is a scrumptious, lightly fried roll stuffed with flavorful curry. Joel Robuchon’s version had some cheese in as well. I tried curry buns elsewhere too and so far the one in the café above Totoro Cream Puff factory ranks #1 for me. I also picked up some strawberry pastry tarts for the sugar-filled Sunday morning the following day. The pastry did not disappoint as it was flaky and light and was topped with vanilla custard and those lovely sweet strawberries and dabbed with pistachios, a seasonal treat for the palate. Since it was past lunch time and my stomach started to rumble after looking at all the appetizing baked treats, I also decided to enjoy a light afternoon meal and sample one of the delicious-looking savory and sweet crepes and galettes on the menu. My choice fell on this absolutely gorgeous Perigourdine. A perfectly baked crispy and lacy crepe arrived topped with fois gras, sweet pear, truffles, refreshing salad and balsamic reduction. The fois was slightly overcooked to my liking, but still delicious and it paired beautifully with the sweetness from the pair as well as acidity from the reduction. Last but not least, you didn’t think I would leave the shop without snatching a few of those decadent pastries, did you? The truth is I got more than I’d care to admit but I think I have a pretty solid justification – “research for the blog.” I am right or am I right? 😛 I have been to La Boutique located in Roppongi Hills as well and at this point have managed to make quite a dent on the dessert repertoire. All in all, the desserts are consistently delightful and tasty and of course beautifully prepared.
Opera a la Fraise was so light, so flavorful and so moist I didn’t want it to end. Sweetness of the strawberries were balanced by the zesty tang coming from the lime. Chocolat Blanc. Mr B proclaimed this his absolute favorite. It was a beautiful mélange of sweet white chocolate and layer of strawberry gelee. This chocolate cake was a winner for me. It had layers of rich chocolate and bits of raw chocolate inside for added texture. Strawberry and lychee éclair was the pastry of the month. While Mr. B thoroughly enjoyed it the whipped cream didn’t quite work for me. I also like Fraiser a la pistache. I was surprised how well the strawberries and pistachios paired together! I devoured it without taking a photo, so you’ll have to trust my word on that. I also tasted creamy chestnut Mont Blanc that never disappoints. My only remark would be the lack of good coffee. The cafe au lait I had was quite good, but I missed a foamy mug of cappuccino or that gorgeous Instagramable latte art. Bloggers would understand. 😉 I would totally recommend a stop here for a leisurely weekend brunch or quick stop to grab something sweet (you can order galettes and crepes to go!), and it’s on my list on a return trip. Besides this standalone branch in Marunochi La Boutique de Joel Robuchon is conveniently located in two other spots: Roppongi Hills where it merges with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon; and Ebisu housed inside the famous Chateau.
- Marunouchi Brick Square 1F, 2-6-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
- Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-1, Mita, Meguro-ku
- 2F Hillside, Roppongi Hills, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku