I was stunned by these eye-catchy pastries as I stood in front of the pop-up booth in Umeda Depato, Osaka. I wasn't the only one. There were so many customers surrounding the shop and the items are selling out fast.
The eccentrically colorful mushrooms and animal tarts (pigs, lions, pandas) reminded me of the movie Wizard of Oz. I felt as if those characters just trotted out from a dark forest. Who in the right mind would have thought for such quirky sweet treats?
The pastries are born out of the whimsical hippie cafe Ultra jam X 太陽ノ塔 that is located in Osaka. Besides this regular series of 8 flavors, they offer innovative seasonal creations for New Year, Valentine's Day, Halloween, etc. which one can't find elsewhere.
Although I've said that 99% of the character food in Japan looked good but don't taste good, I'm glad to be proven wrong this time. They tasted even better than they looked. I have a weak spot for tarts and these were deeply satisfying. Each one shares the same kind of buttery shortcrust pastry base that is not just crunchy but also cakey, due to the presence of dense almond fragipane within.
The tart with the orangey mushroom head conjured autumn magic with velvety chestnut mousse while the bright yellow tart is a white chocolate mousse filled with bananas. Pumpkin has been woven into the Caramel Chiboust (lion) tart. In short, they are not overly sweet and the bittersweet chocolate buttons lent more bite. The only issue was the rubbery chocolate ganache coating.
The stuff here ain't too complicated, but they'd managed to toe the lines adeptly between being boldly creative and delicious.
Do note that the cafe currently operates only on weekends and public holidays. Pretty cool with an attitude, huh. I like.
Ultra Jam X 太陽ノ塔
Japan 503-0051, Osaka-Shi Kita-Ku, Nakazaki Nishi 2-6-3
Weekends/PH : 12am-9pm