Saturday, December 28, 2013

Zen Kashoin 然花抄院 : Wagashi House from Kyoto

Besides Kyo Hayashiya and Tsujiri, there are actually many other places that can satisfy matcha cravings. Zen Kashoin is a Kyoto Wagashi House that has opened a branch in Tokyo.  
茶庭ノ膳(1,400円 for set) is a platter that consists of "Zen" Castella, Seikakan matcha cake and Takigi (「然」かすてら、聖花冠 抹茶、薪). The brown sticks called Takigi are twice-baked brown sugar dough that are looser and crunchier than Pocky SticksIt's signature item is actually the Zen Castella as the eggs used for baking them come from chicken that has been fed premium black beans from Kyoto. I think those chicken must be leading a good life because these beans are delicious but not cheap. Love the semi-liquid sweet layer that is oozing out in the middle...... But the baked matcha custard cake, Seikakan did not lose out too. It was as rich as a cheesecake.  This matcha flavour is only limited to this Tokyo outlet.  然蜜セット (1,300円 for set) 
The second set features a similar yellow cake called Zen-mitsu 然蜜 and it is topped with sugar granules. It uses the same "golden eggs" just like the Zen Castella. 
However, this tasted like an average egg sponge cake and the texture is not as unique as the slightly sticky Zen Castella. Better to give this a miss.

You can choose ala carte or order them as a set with choice of tea. The freshly brewed cup of bitter hot matcha (not milk) is the best way to pair with the sweets.  室町傍瑠 
This tiny plate of yellow crescents that appeared in both sets are called Muroumachi Boulu. They are essentially Zen Castella further baked for a longer time into this dry and crunchy form. Tasted like meringues. 
The black cubes by the side are not sweets but savory konbu to help balance the palates.  香り抹茶丸 
Of course, we can't miss the Matcha dessert (950). It is a parfait with a twist via the use of Castella rusks instead of cornflakes and loaded with double scoops of matcha ice cream, red bean, fresh cream and slices of matcha Castella cakes. I actually prefer this kind of matcha desserts instead of tall parfaits. 

Not only because it is easier to eat but also the spotlight is on the matcha instead of decorative components( jelly, vanilla ice cream) that are often used excessively to fill up a parfait. If you want to grab some souvenirs or more treats for yourself, there is a retail shop at basement two. These baked chocolate tiles called jyou-jyou that come in strawberry, matcha white chocolate and chocolate banana, are excellent. Even though they are labelled rusks, they taste like hybrids of chocolate and cookies. Too bad they only comes in 3 pieces per packet (160)I always grab these Gengetsu waffles (120) whenever I see them in any shop. And this one did not disappoint. 

But the Matcha Purin (250) fitted into a metal can, was too dense and not as worth the value as convenience store pudding. Nonetheless, it was an innovative move to have a separate ratchet of super sweet red beans. A modern gallery in the restaurant.....very Zen
The menu does not focus only on matcha and one can enjoy traditional Japanese desserts prepared in an unique way here. 

Zen Kashoin  然花抄院
Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs 
Shibuya 2-21-1, Shibuya-Ku
Tokyo 150-8509 
B2F Retail Shop
5F Dessert Restaurant  
Daily: 10am-9pm
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  1. I can hear Zen Castella calling out for me...

    1. was the most delicious item from this shop..and the great thing is that it is a room temp cake, so it's perfectly alright to takeaway a box and bring back to Sg!~

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