Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nicolas Charles ニコラシャール : Mischievous Rabbit Cream Puffs

This year has witnessed major transformation in Ginza Chocolate Street. Nicolas Charles replaces chocolatier Joel Duran with its rabbit cream puffs and spark a wave among the sweets lovers during the opening days. Fortunately or unfortunately,the hype faded out relatively quicker and it is now easy to catch a seat at the cafe or get your hands for some of the "playful" rabbits. 

Due to the mixed online reviews, I did not hold high expectations of the cream puffs. It did not had the immediate luring aroma like Beard Papa, but there is indeed something attractive about the choux puff--a very thin, layer of cookie crust that clung onto the shell delicately. 

I would not say it's the best cookie choux cream puff but it was toasty and subtly sweet. It did not take the shortcut to rely on nuts to achieve the crunchy texture. But what I liked best is the rich, creamy filling that somehow landed inside the cream puff without any visible piping holes in the entire cream puff. 
There is usually one monthly flavour but he came up with 3 during July--Chocolate Mint/ Chocolate Banana /Rusk Melon and Cream Cheese. I picked the Rusk Melon and Cream Cheese, which did not disappoint with the bits of salt in the cheese that teases the tastebuds. 
Regardless whether you are a vegetable lover or not, you might find it difficult to get use to the regular basil and raspberry flavour.

It's not too sweet but just simply not suited for a cream puff. I thought he had diluted the taste.
My favourite was this Caramel Pomme.

The intensely salty caramel brown juices gushed out as I sliced the puff into half. The sauteed apples were cooked till they were soft and tart. Honestly, barely few have mastered the duo techniques of caramelization of apples and the caramel sauce well.
If you have time, do try the parfaits that feature the rabbit choux ice cream at the top. Out of the four regular + one seasonal flavour, I had the regular Pistachio Parfait. Ironically, it was the non-cream puff ingredients that stole the limelight.
Ignoring the rather dry choux skin, the pistachio blancmange pudding that made up 60% of the parfait was superbly rich. At the base is buttery anise crumbles and the same delicious caramel sauce found in the earlier Caramel Pomme puff. Certainly not cheap at 1780 yen but one will not regret trying this.

Chef Nicolas Charles is based in the shop so it is not difficult to catch him outside the kitchen and mingling with customers. He is actually quite friendly and I managed to take a photo with him too:) While I do not have any qualms about the quality of the cream puffs, it might be good if he can consider lowering the price of his "luxe" cream puffs.
Nicolas Charles  ニコラシャール
5-5-8 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061
Daily 11am-9pm
Access: Exit B3 from Ginza Station

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