Monday, June 9, 2014

Hidemi Sugino イデミ・スギノ: The Mousse Master

Question-> Why is Hidemi Sugino's shop name in Japanese known as イデミ (I-de-mi) , that is why is it I and not H?
This is because the French can't pronounce H.
Hidemi Sugino is another legendary guy of the extremely competitive pastry world in Japan and so locals and tourists alike have been flocking to his shop to have a taste of his cakes.

Known for his quirky no-takeout rule for some cakes (this is because minimal or no gelatin is used), Hidemi San made Japan shine on the international pastisserie grand prix in 1991. His belief is create cakes that the adults can enjoy and he is rumored to submerge his hands in icy cold water before creating his cakes.

2 years ago, I had this Ambrosie, a tripartite agreement between chocolate mousse, pistachio mouse and frambroise jam. Also, a melon mousse cake (my favourite cake here but out of season now) and Sicily, a pistachio rare cheese mousse cake with red fruits sauce

As expected, they are smooth, soft yet not overly sweet. There is always a queue before the shop opens at 11am but rest assure that there will be enough supply as the cakes are replenished at 2am.

Fast forward, I revisited his shop again and everything is still the same. Simple yet perfectly styled mousse cakes. Not as whimsically decorated as other shops but you can already tell by the looks that they are very delicate and fragile. Like Lady Dame.

The Acapulco is a Orange-black chocolate mousse with a chocolate sponge insulated by a transparent gelee. It exhibits similar textural traits as the previous two and the citrus element is very suppressed.

The Diplomat is somewhat different but not too complicated either. Just a vanilla custard pudding with dried fruits and alcohol. Because the entire thing has been baked, the circular donut-ring sponge reminded me of a rubber spare tyre.

His cakes are divided into "take-out" and "eat-in". Don't worry as there are nearly 20 choices. And actually this is what has amazed me--how the chef managed to churn out so many variety each day without compromising on consistency.

For the take-out, the NEO is a tropical cheesecake composed of Fromage Blanc, mango mousse, mango gelee and basil sponge.
Sheesh...the cheese component is so good that I should have had the Everest, his "eat-in" only cheesecake creation that is said to have surpassed the grandeur of Mt.Everest.
Miss Albion (Chocolate mousse, mint mousse, chocolate sponge).
Glad that the taste of mint is not as withheld as the orange mousse in Acapulco. However, having come across similar and more complicated mint-chocolate gateaux in other pastry shops, this is overpriced.

No photo taking rule ( Depends on how discreetly you can take your photos and luck for I was stopped  for taking photos of my own cakes). No shortcakes. No cream puffs. No macarons. Plenty of baked goodies such as jams and cookies for you to bring back and relish.

While I agree that Chef Hidemi has a flair in mousse cakes, he could be more adventurous at experimenting with the texturality of the cakes. They seemed all too safe and monotonous. Somehow there is a fleeting sense of non-existence in the mousse that makes the process of eating very unrealistic. That is why I will still prefer A Tes Souhaits and other patisseries like PHRegion or Jun Ujita.

Nonetheless, he continues to be one of the highly respected Japanese pastissiers in my heart as you can sense his passion or dedication to his cakes by tasting them (not all cakes hit me the same way). Anyway,  I finally found out how he looked like in person (HERE)and oh my, he looks so gentlemanly like his cakes:)

Hidemi Sugino イデミ・スギノ

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