I have been always mystified by the presence of two matcha-related sliced cakes and finally decided to try both at the same time. Indeed, there was a difference, quite a huge one.
The Matcha Azuki (¥730) is literally the common green tea-red bean couple. Tastewise, it is sweeter than the Bamboo as it has stronger milky white chocolate tones in the green tea layer. Nothing particular phenomenal about this, especially if you noticed a semi-dry chocolate sponge. Except that things are deliberately complicated with the crunchy praline feuilletine and chewy noisette dacquoise at the base.
The Bamboo, is more for the adult with nuances of alcohol (he calls it Punch au matcha) in the matcha buttercream and moist green tea sponge. The interlayers of bitter chocolate ganache might get one excited at first. However, the more pastries one consume in Japan or Paris, this might struck you as simply a green tea Opera. But brand name counts, and to savour every bit of this hefty 830-yen worth cake, it is better to work through the layers slowly like Kueh lapis instead of poking your fork way through to the bottom for every bite.
I can't declare Valencia (¥780) as the masterwork of pastry but it did proved its value as an award piece in the international pastry competition. Very sublime orange cream and soft supple chocolate sponge before a wave of exquisite chocolate latte hits the palate. Hazelnuts might be overused as the praline layer turned up again just like the base of Matcha Azuki.
Croissants are the only kind of bread he sells but I don't think that is his forte. The Matcha Croissant (370 yen) had a crunchy shell and stretchy interior but it was flatter than others, as though the puff pastry had not rise to its maximum volume yet.
The Sesame Eclair piqued my curiosity even though I had its matcha eclair previously because sesame is rarely adopted in Japanese patisseries. Ignoring the super sweet white icing the black sesame filling was satisfying and decadent. **only at Marunouchi outlet
Currently for the month of June, there is a matcha fair at Tokyo Midtown outlet. I had been waiting for the Matcha Millefeuille (830 yen) for ages and now it is finally out. While the pastry layers are not as solid and flaky as Pierre Hermes, they are still considered above the average standards. The top layer was exceptionally crunchy and delightful to eat.
The matcha filling was just as consistently rich as that of the matcha eclair.
The same situation also applies to the KIMAGURE as the choux puff skin has succumbed to the moisture of the filling. But it doesn't really matter as the quadruple filling-custard, matcha, whipped cream and red bean grabs your attention easily. The filling is so much that I think it contributed 90% of the cream puff's mass but I guess that is one way to justify the hefty price of 620 yen.
2 years ago, there was the Yaki Macaron Chocolat, launched when Shibuya Hikarie outlet had just opened. This is still a limited item there but the chocolate macaron is swopped with raspberry macaron.
There is St Honore Matcha but it is only as a dine-in dessert. And also there is a one-drink-per-person dine-in rule so the St Honore Matcha actually cost twice of its original price (760 yen). Also, there are chocolate fondant filled with matcha filling (available at Shibuya Hikarie and Isetan outlets)
Ok...so much for Matcha for now. Hopefully more chefs can churn out more black sesame or houjicha items.
Store Locator: http://www.sadaharuaoki.jp/boutique.html