Sunday, June 22, 2014

Morinoen : 101 years of Houjicha and counting

Just like natto or wasabi, matcha is not the cuppa of tea for everyone, even among some Japanese I know. For a change in taste, how about some having some Houjicha sweets? 
Morinoen is an old tea shop (Since 1914) in Ningyocho that specialises in Houjicha. The Houjicha Parfait (¥1080) is of course, the signature parfait constructed with houjicha ice cream, houjicha warabi jelly and all the usual suspects of a parfait. But what made it special is the homemade Monaka Sandwich that contains houjicha blended red bean paste. 

The similar formula goes for the Matcha Parfait (¥980), which is slightly cheaper topped with a green tea paste Monaka.  There is the ultimate special Houji-Matcha parfait (¥1250) which lets you have the best of both worlds. 
The Houjicha Parfait Set B comes with a plate of chewy houjicha warabi mochi in Kuromitsu sauce. 
Nostalgic sentiments aside, the parfaits were too sweet, even though the free flow of houjicha was intensely fragrant and bitter. 

The Matcha Zenzai (¥950),  essentially a thick bowl of matcha-flavoured red bean soup, provided a warm and comfortable relief to the chilly ice cream that was gradually numbing the palates. It was undoubtedly sweet, but there is always the salty pickles at the side to treat the sweetness (through some might argue that the soup tastes even sweeter after eating the pickles) 
My favourite item here? The strong cup of Houjicha
All thanks to this one and only machine churning out fragrant tea leaves
The location is not difficult to find. You can smell the fragrant scents of roasted houjicha before you even stepped out from Exit A1 and just follow the smell to the shop round the corner. Before I forget, there is also the strange Matcha Beer served in Kirin jugs which made it to the online news, if this is of any interest to you. 
Morinoen 自家焙煎ほうじ茶の店 森乃園
Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9 
1F Retail Shop 2F Cafe 
Cafe Hours: 
12pm-6pm Weekdays 
11am-5.30pm Weekends and PH (Last Order at 5pm) 

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