Sunday, July 27, 2014

Asterisque アステリスク : Reinvigorating the Love for Mont Blanc

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Have you ever come across any food that taste so good that you want to jump up and fly into the sky? 
I did. I was entranced by this Mont Blanc parfait that my brain waves were "paralyzed" for at least a few seconds. The chestnut paste was so soft, fresh, luscious that I could plunge my fork effortlessly into it. That must be the difference between freshly piped Mont Blanc and those in petit gateaux that sits desperately in the cake counter waiting to be pick up by customers. 

In fact, I was convinced by the staff to try the Mont Blanc Cake because it's the best seller. High-quality chestnuts from the chef's hometown, Ehime prefecture, are used. I wasn't really attracted to the cake version because it looks no different from the usual ones. Hence, I had the parfait which can only make you go "WOW"
What else is there to rave about this Paris Eiffel Tower (ahem...tilted glass) ? Crispy palmier which costs (¥200) itself if you purchase separately,  loads and loads of buttery crumbles that are also smashed from one of those pretty takeaway cookies on the shelves. 
A deep well of cassis compote lies beneath the vanilla and chocolate ice cream that supplied the necessary taste to kill the sweetness of the other components.
Mix everything together and you'll get a pool of intoxicatingly delicious mess. Such a big parfait of premium quality for ¥900 vs the typical matcha parfait of ¥1400. Don't share, just have one by yourself :) 
Meanwhile lets talk about the cakes as I tried to keep my composure. My Japanese colleague actually introduced me to the cakes at Asterisque in Yoyogi because it is one of the top patisseries in Tokyo. After doing some research, I knew I had to pay a visit by hook or by crook. Everything looked promising and I ended up discussing with the staff for 30min on which cakes to have. Perhaps the cakes looked too good on the shelves, resulting in some major disappointment when not all were of cutting edge quality.
Parfumee (¥570)
Raw Ginger, Lime, Orange mousse, strawberry mousse, framboise sauce , spongy cake with a savoury biscuit base. 
Nope...I could not detect any specks of ginger or lime and the middle cakey layer was sorely dry.

During winter, its strawberries and for this season, it's Sour Cherries. Topped with a cassis meringue, the tart has something unique in its tart shell (can never find in fruit tarts elsewhere) which I can't put into words except for you to try it out one day. It approximates closely to the baked pudding texture of a Far Breton
Yamabuki (¥540) a regular item.
Milk chocolate orange mousse with crunchy nuts. 

Hanabi 
I liked the name because it is timely for the Hanami festival in July. Yet, it is such a demure cake made with Yuzu Lime Mousse, strawberry and praline crunch. The tarty mousse was pure summer bliss but the chef might need to thicken the crunch as it nearly lost all its magical bite.


In the serene neighbourhoods of Yoyogi-uehara, there is constant stream of customers even on a working weekday. There are barely only 3 tables x 2 seats = 6 seats so the chances of snagging a seat for the parfaits are not easy. But if you do, it's gonna be very rewarding.
アステリスク Asterisque by Koichi Izumi
Daily except Monday 10am-8pm
1 -26-16 Uehara, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō
Access: 2-min walk from Yoyogi-Uehara Station
http://asterisque-izumi.com/index.html

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