Friday, July 18, 2014

Saryo Chanabe Cafe 茶鍋カフェ : Creative fusion food and Matcha desserts

Looking for Japanese cafe experience in a serene setting that is not packed with hipsters? Head to Saryo Cafe, a Zen-style casual cha-nabe place that specializes in matcha desserts and simple Japanese nabe cuisine

The main outlet is at Kagurazaka but we went to the Shibuya outlet for Sunday dinner. What makes it different from Nana's Cafe is that it offers several kinds of "Cha Nabe", which are healthy and light hotpot soup with loads of ingredients. 
Take for example the Chicken Tsukune with Shio-Koji Collagen Chanabe that comes with a choice of rice or udon that are served straightaway in the pot rather than as a separate dish. This soymilk-base soup resembles the looks but not the taste of the Korean ginseng chicken.

The big-sized chicken meatballs offered a crunchy texture due to the presence of chicken collagen. Blended with ginger, Shio-Koji (salted rice malt), miso and negi, they are naturally flavorful and went well with the rice that has soaked up the sweetness of the broth. 

For the tomato fish bouillabaisse, we picked the udon, which was fortunately in medium thickness. However, the tomato herb soup failed to deliver the essence of seafood and tasted a little commercialized.
Though "World Cup" special dish Shirasu Ume Cold noodle did not look as promising as the picture on the menu, it was very refreshing and appetizing because of the slimey gelee and sour plums. It also contained the Yamagata "dashi", which actually refers to mixed summer vegetables with konbu instead of the real broth. 

From the donburi selection, the Wafu Locomoco is a twist of the classic Hawaiian rice dish that comes with a tofu hamburger of 12 ingredients instead of meat pattie. Topped with onsen tamago instead of fried egg and yuzu kosho dressing instead of rich dark gravy, it was definitely a bowl sanitized of the unnecessary fats but I found it slightly bland.

Since it's famous for the matcha desserts, we had the Saryo Parfait that contained 8 different ingredients (Matcha Milk Pudding, warabi mochi, sweet potato sticks, Castella cakes, bran flakes, red bean, mochi dango and vanilla ice cream). After having so many kinds of matcha parfait, there is never an exact replica as each shop tries to come up with something innovative. 

The cold matcha Zenzai was a creamy remedy for summer but it was too sweet and creamy. Nonetheless, the red bean filling in the dango was a pleasant surprise (cos plain dango is too boring).
An assorted of cakes are available for dine-in and takeaway. As a "tart" person, I was naturally drawn towards the matcha Mont Blanc Tart. Nothing too "over the rainbow" for this but the dense Mont Blanc paste and subtly sweet matcha mousse on a semi-crunchy tart shell was sufficient to provide a sweet closure to the meal. And I guess it's not too bad to have some indulgent desserts to compensate the healthy savoury dishes. 

Oh yeah, there is the black sesame namafumochi too. Something unique. Perhaps I'll give it a shot next time.

Saryo 茶鍋カフェ

Kagurazaka (Main Outlet)
5-9  Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyo
Mon-Sat 11.30am-11pm
Sun/PH 11.30am-10pm 
Shibuya Outlet
Shibuya Mark City West Mall 2F
10am-9pm Daily

Other outlets: Ikebukuro Sunshine City / Tokyo Dome
Note that menu varies slightly according to outlets.

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