Thursday, July 28, 2016

Antoinette 2016 New Cake Collection and Salted Egg Yolk Lava Mooncakes

Chestnuts, rose, berries and sea salt caramel.....

These might not link closely with each other but they are the flavors of Antoinette's latest collection that breathes a new life into classic French pastries. These predominantly mousse-based cakes are  very light, fruity and delicate, without failing to pay attention to the slightest aesthetics details. It was an exhilarating journey to savor all of them in one sitting but I couldn't pen down my thoughts immediately them as I wanted a longer to time to reflect and sort out the feelings. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beyond Tokyo : Seafood Feast in Chiba

To explore the area around Tokyo besides the usual Hakone, Kamakura and Kawagoe, I embarked on a one-day road trip to the rural town of Chikura. One reason was to escape from the city crowd on a public holiday in Japan. Second, it was not one of the places listed on any foreign tourist brochures (I guessed many Japanese might not even be aware of this place). Third, there is a famous fish port in Chikura and there are chances that we could try fresh and cheap seafood there. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Menya Gachi @ Shinjuku 2-Chome : Super SHIOK Abura Soba

One word, Shiok. Or maybe make it two then, Super Shiok. 

These were my feelings as I ravaged heartily through my bowl of abura soba ramen, accompanied with the free-flow of "sambal chilli" and other condiments like garlic chips, chilli powder, fried noodles chips, etc. Menya Gachi is one of the six concept house by Mensho, a trendy ramen group with a cool website that details the menu and latest updates of each shop. 

Menya Gachi offers several kinds of abura soba and I had the Kamatama Abura Soba (¥890) which came with a raw egg yolk, konbu flakes, spring onions and pork belly which were incredulously tasty and flavorful. I'm guessing that the pork could have been braised for long before being burnished slightly as the fats and meat have all fused as one. 

But what caught me fancy was the thick burly noodles that are coated with the delicious sauce and egg yolk goo when you mixed everything well. It was already hard to resist but the tasty levels raised by leaps I added in the condiment that looked like sambal chilli-lookalike. So fragrant and it resembled a good bowl of Chili pan Mee but slightly wetter and only mildly fiery. I soon realized that the flavored egg I'd added was optional as I was too busy enjoying everything well. 

I wondered why it got me so late to visit this shop even though I've learnt about this place many years ago. So much better than having tsukemen and ramen (I mean the soupy kinds). 

A return is a MUST.
住所:〒162-0065 東京都新宿区住吉町7-10曙企画ビル1階
Tokyo 162-0065 Sumiyoshicho 7-10
Access: Toei Shinjuku Line Akebonobashi Station Exit A2 (Turn left and walk straight, cross the road to the right side of the street. Approx 1.min)
Mon-Sat 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm 
Closed on Sundays

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Minimal Bean to Bar Chocolate : Japan's Bean-to Bar Movement Part 1

Chocolate lovers will rejoice in the "bean-to-bar" movement in Japan recently as there is a number of chocolate shops figured high on my agenda. I am no chocolate expert and I cannot rate which one is the best since I had not try the exact same items from each store. But first, let me share about Minimal Bean to Bar, the first shop that championed the bean to bar concept since 2014 in Yoyogi-Hachiman.

Like the name suggest, the tiny space upholds a very minimalistic design with a bar table to sip some delicious chocolate drink. The beans are sourced from Tanzania, Vietnam, Columbia, Honduras, etc and they undergo a tedious process from roasting, winnowing to molding and packing. Samples of the chocolate bars are available and the date of production is labeled on each pack. Don't expect the bars to be as cheap as those from supermarkets as there are afterall, hand-made chocolates from scratch. But I think it is still worth the occasional splurge as they taste very different from brands like Cadbury, Lindt or even more high end brands like Godiva. The bars are clean and sharp in the flavors they represent.
The minimalistic menu only has ice creams and beverages but you can be highly assured of the quality here. The Hot Chocolate was freshly concocted with the chocolatier's choice of bar, which happened to be a citrus one for me. The drink was unbelievably intense and rich, yet so soothing that it has a calming effect on my mind. It wasn't achingly sweet nor creamy; just the taste of chocolate with cacao nibs for some lovely textural play. The citrus notes only emerged from the aroma and not the taste. And this turned out to be my favourite after sipping the hot chocolate from all three places.
And if you are game to try something unique and exotic, get the cacao pulp juice. The juice is extracted from the thin layer of white pulp around the cacao seeds. In fact, I learnt that it actually takes 25 cacao fruits (about one pineapple) to produce one quart of juice. 

No wonder one small shot cost around ¥400! It tastes exactly like soursop juice to me, very refreshing and fruity indeed. But I think I would stick to my hot chocolate.

Minimal Bean to Bar Chocolate 
〒151-0063 東京都渋谷区富ヶ谷2-1-9
Tokyo 151-0063, Shibuya ku Tomigaya 2-1-9
Closed on Monday (Closed on Tues if Monday is a holiday)
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