Saturday, August 27, 2016

Un Grain : Smallest Cake in Tokyo and probably, Japan


I stood in dismay in front of 20 columns of entremets not because they are smaller than my palm, but because they cost as much as ¥470 -- the price that can fetch you a very decent cake even from average patisseries. 
Pronounced as " un-gran", this classy boutique in Aoyama is headed by Chef Kanai Fuyumi who used to worked at 1-star Paris restaurant Le Chiberta, which is part of a 3-star Michelin group. Compared to most pastry chef, this chef looked very young and smiley as you can see him working behind the transparent glass window of the kitchen. 

And indeed, he is considered quite young at 38 to run his own show at this latest venture (opened in late 2015) by Yoku Moku. I am a loyal fan of Yoku Moku buttery cigares rolls but I was surprised to learn that Ungrain was connected to Yoku Moku because I would not associate any high-end sophisticated sweets coming from Yoku Moku. 

But yet Ungrain is one exact case of an expensive, refined cakes boutiques that actually boast style over substance. Don't get me wrong, the cakes are not extremely bad, but their quality and size simply do not justify their price tag. 
Each of this super petite gateau can easily be wolf down in one or 2 bites. That's why I can't help but feel the pinch in the pocket. Once you stepped into the shop, you can sense a luxury, rather stifling pressure as if you are stepping into Chanel or LV shop. 

There is a small counter table (~3 seats) for dine-in but I decided not to eat there to avoid all the awkwardness. I was the only walk-in customer that afternoon and there was still plenty of items on display. For the fact that it closes at 7pm, I wondered how much of these cakes are thrown away if they still remain on the shelf each day. 

Anyway, here is the quick tasting notes of the 4 items that I had: 

Chocolat Citron Vert ショコラシトロンヴェール (¥470) 

ライムを効かせたプラリネとショコラムース. 
Smooth, velvety chocolate mousse but the acidity of the lime cream was mild to non-existent. 
Succes Inverse シュクセアンヴェルセ 
ナッツの香りが香ばしい伝統菓子「シュクセ」のアングラン風 (¥440) 

Interesting design that looked resembled some chocolate rice crispier when they are roasted nuts. Predominantly a hazelnut buttercream cake with chocolate ganache on a sweet dacquoise
Nougat Pistache Passion (¥470) 
ヌガーピスターチオパッション 
Picked up this cake as it is said to only last 30min for takeaway. I was looking for some exceptional delicate mousse like Hidemi as he also imposed this rule for his mousse cakes. But there wasn't any of those sorts. Nonetheless, the raisin cream mediated the transition from the tangy passion fruit to the subtle pistachio, though the passion fruit isn't quite an exotic ingredient in our local terms. I like this cake of the four. 
Fruits Rouge フリュールージュ   (¥440)
Major disappointment with this tart as it was soggy. And I guess there is no point to talk beyond that for a "tart" that isn't behaving like one. 

Ungrain
Daily 11am-7pm
Minami-Aoyama 6-8-17, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Nearest station: Omotesando


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