Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gion Tokuya : Your Matcha Cafe in Harajuku

Do you know that there is a wagashi dessert cafe in Harajuku? It might be a walking distance away from the main busy Takeshita dori, but it's not difficult to spot it as it is located next to fashion boutique United Arrows. A good rest spot which you can head to after having coffee at Omotesando Koffee.

So is it connected to the Gion Tokuya in Kyoto? Yes. Apparently the story goes that the chairman of United Arrows invited the owners to open an outlet in Tokyo after falling in love with its signature warabi mochi.

Beautiful flower-shaped Kinako powder on the right
Oh yes, I can fully understand why. Covered with shaved ice in the middle to keep the jelly cool, the warabi mochi here is probably the most bouncy and slippery jelly I've ever tried. Made with bracken starch and refined wasanbon sugar, this served as an impressively light dessert when you can dump the sweet kinako soybean flour and kuromitsu molasses sauce liberally into your plate. 
The Gion Parfait (¥1300) is one of the rare quality Parfaits (better than Yojiya Cafe) and will be remembered for the chunky amounts of chestnuts, salty rice crackers, unidentified brown dango and chestnut pudding. 


But I would recommend the Uji-Kintoki Matcha Kakigori especially if you come during summer. A stunning ice mountain of fine ice particles which undergoes transformation as you pour over the matcha syrup. Not a fan of matcha? Try the Obancha Milk Kakigori, which is in fact their best-selling shaved ice desserts.

Although the kakigori desserts are only available during summer, guests can grill their own mochi over barbeque grills and enjoy them with seaweed, bean paste--a unique specialty of this shop that can be indulged all year round.

Gion Tokuya
B1F/1F, 2-31-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Mon-Fri noon-8pm, Sat, Sun & hols 11am-8pm

Other food spots in the vicinity:
World Breakfast All-day, Toraya Café, Ramen Zero PlusOmotesando Koffee, Bills Omotesando   

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