Modernization has taken many of the districts in Tokyo by full force but suburbs like Azabu Juban still retains the old neighborhood charm with shops of more than 100 years in history. Shiroikuro does not belong to that category being opened only in 2012, but neither is it the hipsterish cafe we know of.
Embracing the concept of black and white, Shiroikuro is a minimalistic cafe that sells everything to do with Kuromame (黒豆). It was renovated from an old shop house and opened in late 2012, fusing the elements of traditional Wagashi (和菓子) confectionary house and cafe as one.
The signature item is none other than the Kuromame Shio Daifuku (黒豆塩大福, 200 yen) available only in limited quantities. Wrapped within the soft, elastic skin was a beautiful ball of red bean paste that was not overly sweet. The salt cut through the hand-kneaded glutinous rice skin in a less aggressive manner than what fleur de sel would usually do in caramel. It's a more graceful balance, I say, that makes it a joy to savour with the mellow black bean tea.
Another must try is the black bean rolls which are both terrific in their own ways. The white sponge roll tasted stronger on the black bean as it is wrapped around luscious black bean cream but the black roll is the ultimate wild card. No one expected the cream to be so pleasantly tangy, a refreshing contrast from the serious looks of the cake. I was lucky to chance upon the black bean chocolate cake at ¥200 for a slice. It's ugly and bitter, but that's the way I liked it to be.
Perfect with the Cappucino that is also prepared by the lady shop owner who runs the shop and does all the pastries. Superwoman, I say.
I don't recommend big groups because this is not like the usual cafe for gatherings and chit chat. There is no background music or whatsoever. It's pretty silent, albeit rather somber. Two person is fine but one is the best.
2 Chome-8-1 Azabujuban, Minato, Tokyo 106-0045, Japan
10am-6pm (Closed on Mondays)