Joel Robuchon has opened many different concept restaurants in Tokyo but Le Pain De Joel Robuchon in Shibuya Hikarie is the world's first Joel Robuchon specialty bakery that serves traditional French bread.
This is not a sweet bread. It's a savoury Gorgonzola croissant cube covered in a chewy crisp of cheese. I had expected cheese filling but it turned out to be plain when I cut through it. Nonetheless, the clear distinct layers of dough was remarkable.
It is wrong to say that the inside is purely white, for there are some blue blemishes that are evidences that blue cheese had been folded into the dough before baking. Gorgonzola and honey always go hand-in-hand and thus explains the honey in the mini tube.
Does this look like a muddy soccer field or a rustic garden?It's a French Tartine with lentils, sausage and mash potato on sale during this year's Auvergne Fair. Not sure why I got so attracted to this but maybe it's because of the word "lentils", which evoked my nostalgia of Indian vegetarian curry. However, the lentil paste has a strange, rather bland taste that required more salt and pepper. Perhaps pork lentils and potatoes are the key ingredients for Auvergne cuisine but I wished the mash potato could be replaced by a soft boiled egg.
Moving to the croissants section, who can resist this bright Pain au Chocolat-Cafe et Noisettes Caramelisees? Topped with crushed almonds, chocolate balls and a layer of baked espresso almond cream, one can tell that this is triple the sinfulness of a typical croissant.
Now there seems alot going on here--thick espresso custard, hazelnuts, rum-spiked raisins. This is one darn delicious pastry that can transport you to fantasyland. But this sheer amount of ingredients is also the reason why it suffers from lack of crunch.
The Salted Caramel Croissant is something that I would like to have instead of the previous croissant. It's lighter and well-balanced in taste, with just enough amount of salted caramel sauce to bring the pastry to life.
While the interior is soft and stretchy, the external pastry layers still need some slight reworking to match strong competitors like Echire or Viron.
Instead of croissants, I thought this place delivers better brioches. For instance, the Salted Butter brioche is one that achieved a good grasp of saltiness and sweetness with a light coating of sugar.
The Florentine, made with the classic ingredients such as honey, almonds and nuts, but delivered to resemble bread toast instead of typical bars.
Carrying the Robuchon brand name, the bread sold here are inevitably priced higher than average Japanese bakeries. Perhaps one thing that I found reasonably priced was the quiche. Big and flavorful. These bread are also available at the his cafe at Marunouchi but for a wider selection, this is the place to go.
Le Pain De Joel Robuchon
B2F Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs, 2-21-1,
Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8509
Latest Theme: Mango Fair (Mango Chutney Kilimanjaro Curry Croque Monsieur, Mango Cream Croissant etc.) Till 15th July 2014