Monday, June 30, 2014

Patisserie Il Fait Jour イルフェジュール

Few patisserie shops, excluding those which brand themselves as fruit tart specialists, devote 80% of their pastries to tarts. Being a great fan of tarts, I was excited to try the creations by Il Fait Jour.
Seasonal Fruit Jelly Parfait
Fig Tart  
Meaning "produced by the sunlight" in French, Il Fait Jour sells everything from croissants to Nama-gashi (those that involve raw components like fresh cream).
The man behind is Chef Shishido Chikao, who opened this shop in 2004 (just like Aigre Douce) after working at several patisseries. He had clinched several awards at Japan Cake Show, Kanagawa Association of Western Cake Exhibition (Petit Gateau Category) etc. 

The signature tart is none other than Il Fait Jour (same as the shop name) -¥540. It's a classic pâté sucre tart shell filled with Naval oranges and almond paste before being baked in the oven. Topped with a earl grey mousse dome
Besides tarts, the Napoleon (¥525)  is also a mark of quality. Not at Pierre Herme's level yet but has the potential to reach there by solving the riddle of ensuring that every single layer is solidly air crisp. The pastry layers were definitely 90% flaky, with occasion bitterness to tame the sweet custard and strawberries. 
I decided to venture out of my usual "safe choices" and picked the "Chai" (¥486) - a long tunnel of subtly spiced Masala Latte mousse on top of a baked apricot almond base. I had expected the base to be entirely cake until I heard a lovely "ka-tsu" sound when my knife sliced to the very bottom. There was a thin biscuit shell so it was more like a chai mouse and apricot tart combination. No regrets!!

However, the Melisa was sorely missing the depth of chocolate . It was a chocolate mousse on a cakey chocolate almond dacquoise tart. The mousse was bitter but the crust had lose the crunch. But aside from this, the pastries are assured of decent quality.
Il Fait Jour イルフェジュール
Main Outlet : 2--29-8 Shimoasao, Asao-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa
10am-7pm (Daily)
Tokyo outlet: ecute Tachikawa, 3-1-1 Shibasakichō, Tachikawa-shi, Tōkyō
9am-10pm (Daily except Sun/PH 9am-9pm)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ginza Sushidokoro Marui 銀座寿司処 まる伊

Two blocks behind Matsuya Ginza is a sushi-ya that serves highly affordable lunch. Price aside, I had been waiting to try it's No.1 Zuke Ana Chirashi (¥1200) 

It was truly a sumptuous bowl of rice filled with lots of ingredients (shrimps, ika, tamago, ikura) beneath the red maguro and anago. Though the Anago cannot be compared to the soft, simmered ones from Tamai, the beautifully marbled maguro shone above all ingredients.
I mean, who could resist these seaming,  gleamingly red pool of expertly sliced raw fish? I couldn't take my eyes of it, neither could my chopsticks leave the bowl for any second. Worthy of mention is the soup, which was not the usual miso but prawn stock made with prawn heads. And that reminded me of our Singapore prawn noodles.
Lunch Menu

The quail egg was an uncommon addition that helped in binding the separate components together. Flavours were distinctive, fresh and bright. And for just ¥1200, this bowl will satisfy any hearty appetites . Another popular lunch set is the 16-piece assorted nigiri sushi at ¥1500.  

Now, who says that one can't find affordable yet delicious lunch in Ginza? 
Ginza Sushidokoro Marui
銀座寿司処 まる伊
Lunch Hours: Daily 11:30am – 2:30pm
Address : 3-8-15, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Godiva Japan: 6 things you should try in Japan

Godiva, the branded Belgium chocolatier, has outlets all over the world. But just like Nestlé Kitkat, Godiva Japan offers different items that you might not find in your home country. Here are 5 things that are available at Godiva Japan.

1) Chocolixir--Matcha White Chocolate is not the special here since it's available elsewhere too. Instead, it is the Salted Caramel and the Yoghurt Fraise
The summer edition features Raspberry and also the Peach Darjeeling Chocolixir. When it's winter, there's the Hot chocolate Speculoos. 
2) Cookies aka Langue De chats
Regular: Matcha, Seasonal: Peach, Strawberry

3) Chocolate Truffles: Matcha. Try resisting the urge to eat this immediately and one will be rewarded with the perfect texture. 
4) Seasonal specials such as Sables Chocolates. Smooth chocolate ganache sandwich between super-crunchy biscuits. (Dark Chocolate Almond, Strawberry White Chocolate, Mango White Choc, Caramel Milk Choc, Uji Matcha White Choc
5) Soft Serve. White and Dark Chocolate. The version with raspberry dressing is a seasonal addition. 
6) Godiva Ice Cream Tarts. Flavours  such as hazelnut yuzu and matcha white chocolate. 

Godiva Japan

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Palet D'Or : Sin with Chocolates

If you like chocolates, then Palet D'or is another place to head to for some deluxe chocolate treats besides Jean Paul-Hevin.

Palet D'or is premium chocolate boutique that started in Osaka by Chocolatier Grand Master Shunsuke Saegusa in 2004. Born in 1956 in Osaka, Chef Saegusa's working stint at world-renowned Lyon chocolatier cum chocolate-maker Bernachon has greatly influenced his chocolate creations.

During Valentine, he has paired with Kyoto Kaiseki restaurant, Kikunoi, to come up with the unique Wafu style chocolates that are so sophisticated in textures.

Recently, at his sole outlet outside Osaka, he has launched a new summer parfait that boast 10 chocolate parts. Yes. T-E-N.

The top is composed of three main types of homemade sorbet; dark chocolate, raspberry and white chocolate. The chocolate sorbet was marvelous,offering unhindered contact with the intense cacao. Below the triple scoops is a glob of smooth vanilla ice cream, some fresh cream and berry sauce. Sounds simple but this ain't just any other chocolate-berry parfait.

There is also a sparkling drink that is topped with champagne sorbet. One can choose to have berry or cacao sorbet. The set comes with a piece of tiny chocolate.

On the other hand, the cakes were  not remarkable, but enjoyable enough. Sicily, a rich pistachio- milk chocolate combination that has fairly pleasant pistachio tones but bereft of creativity

It remains an unsolvable puzzle as to which part of this "Vogue" makes it vogue. Nice wavy chocolate hairstyle and the pistachio cream is of an even thicker consistency than the pistachio-inspired Sicily.

My favourite was the Guatemala, though it evoked an unexpected response of "Is this garlic" from one of the table partners. I disbelievingly agree with the comment after taking the first bite. But it wasn't too potent to disrupt the overall sensational pleasures of chocolate and caramel. Would be perfect if the chocolate biscuit sponge were to be substituted with feuilettine.

There used to be many more plated desserts but seems like the chef intends to scale down the menu for unknown reason. Hopefully Chef Saegusa can restore the glory of the vanished desserts with new creations but as for the cakes, I think I am still more willing to invest in Jean Paul Hevin.

Palet D'Or ショコラティエ パレ ド オール
-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-6501
Weekdays & Saturdays
Open: 11:00 - 21:00
Sundays & Public Holidays
Open: 11:00 - 20:00

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Morinoen : 101 years of Houjicha and counting

Just like natto or wasabi, matcha is not the cuppa of tea for everyone, even among some Japanese I know. For a change in taste, how about some having some Houjicha sweets? 
Morinoen is an old tea shop (Since 1914) in Ningyocho that specialises in Houjicha. The Houjicha Parfait (¥1080) is of course, the signature parfait constructed with houjicha ice cream, houjicha warabi jelly and all the usual suspects of a parfait. But what made it special is the homemade Monaka Sandwich that contains houjicha blended red bean paste. 

The similar formula goes for the Matcha Parfait (¥980), which is slightly cheaper topped with a green tea paste Monaka.  There is the ultimate special Houji-Matcha parfait (¥1250) which lets you have the best of both worlds. 
The Houjicha Parfait Set B comes with a plate of chewy houjicha warabi mochi in Kuromitsu sauce. 
Nostalgic sentiments aside, the parfaits were too sweet, even though the free flow of houjicha was intensely fragrant and bitter. 

The Matcha Zenzai (¥950),  essentially a thick bowl of matcha-flavoured red bean soup, provided a warm and comfortable relief to the chilly ice cream that was gradually numbing the palates. It was undoubtedly sweet, but there is always the salty pickles at the side to treat the sweetness (through some might argue that the soup tastes even sweeter after eating the pickles) 
My favourite item here? The strong cup of Houjicha
All thanks to this one and only machine churning out fragrant tea leaves
The location is not difficult to find. You can smell the fragrant scents of roasted houjicha before you even stepped out from Exit A1 and just follow the smell to the shop round the corner. Before I forget, there is also the strange Matcha Beer served in Kirin jugs which made it to the online news, if this is of any interest to you. 
Morinoen 自家焙煎ほうじ茶の店 森乃園
Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9 
1F Retail Shop 2F Cafe 
Cafe Hours: 
12pm-6pm Weekdays 
11am-5.30pm Weekends and PH (Last Order at 5pm) 
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