It's an open secret that Tokyo is a sweet paradise. But do you know which patisserie is the No.1 in this cosmopolitan city? It's neither Pierre Herme nor Sadaharu Aoki. It's A Tes Souhaits, a small pastry shop in the Ogkuibo suburb. The man behind this shop is Chef Hideki Kawamura, a Niigata-born who has won many awards under his belt. Although he may be less well known than Sadaharu Aoki or Hidemi Sugino, I am pretty confident that he earns no less than them, given that his shop attracts long queue everyday.
Opened in 2001, this shop has secured the prestigious No.1 title of Tokyo's Best Sweets Shop, beating thousands of other shops hands down with a reigning high average score of 4.1 on tabelog. The signature cake is the Mont Blanc, which is a faithful duplication of the usual Mont Blanc. It perplexed me as to why this is the most popular cake here when many of its companions that sat alongside in the display shelf fared so much better. The outer most "spaghetti-ed" paste is not too moist nor dry but it exceeded our sugar threshold.
Crunchy Peanut Sables ( 700 yen per bottle)
Fortunately, the rest were excellent. For instance, the Fruit D' Nougat is a crunchy white chocolate wall filled with pistachio mousse, sour raspberry compote and a chewy almond dacquoise. It was bursting with pistachio deliciousness-yet with a much smoother quality that it could attained in Creme form.
It's smooth. It's crunchy. It's bitter. It's sexy.
This is Intense, an unassuming chocolate cake that strikes out as a dark horse because I did not expect it to be so delicious, perhaps matching the standards of Jean Paul Hevin. The nutty noisette biscuit underlying everything had an absolutely superb texture that complemented the 62% chocolate mousse and a waxen chocolate ganache that rested on top of it.
The cake which shone unabashedly, is the St Honore Caramel. But one is not to be misled by the name, because it released the full flavors of chestnuts (the piped cream is chestnut flavour). I was worried that the avalanche of cream on top would be too buttery but it was fluffy and left no grease on the lips. What impresses is the attention to details. Most chefs would leave the choux ring base as it is, but Chef Hideki has insulated the ring with a perfect bitter caramel that adds a delightful crunch to the structure. Within the ring is pure chestnut paste and caramel mousse.
Besides cakes, there was another world of freshly baked pastries that one wish that there is limitless stomach space to contain everything available. While I did not try the sausage croissant, I like the earthy flavor of the Bacon French Twist. But it was the majesty of the Kouign Annan (below) that sent me to cloud nine. It has surpassed the magnificence of the Kouign Annan by Gontran Cherrier with its uber crunchy layers that left an indelible memory.
Probably the best Kouign Annan so far
Macarons (Sakura, Matcha, Passionfruit Milk Chocolate, Vanilla and Framboise
Much as I would like to shower this place with praises, the macarons were mediocre, though it was considered a deal to snag 5 for 1350 yen. But what seems like the greatest problem is the location, which is quite a long distance to navigate on foot from Kichijoji or Nishi Ogikubo. Unless one comes during weekdays and non-holidays, there is no other choice but to take-away the cakes as dine-in is not available.
Must Try: St Honore Caramel, Intense and Kouign Annan
A Tes Souhaits アテスウェイ
Casa Kichijoji 2, 3-8-8,
Kichijoji-higashicho, Musashino- shi, Tokyo
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