March 27, 2016

Tokyo sakura trip day 2: all-dessert brunch

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It's our first morning in Tokyo, and we met up with some friends for a late breakfast/brunch.  Hello Kitty was catching up with one of her friends from Hong Kong who had settled in Tokyo, and we were also joined by 娜姐 who had just arrived earlier today.

When Dominique Ansel Bakery opened up in Tokyo last year, I was unable to join a bunch of friends for the opening party as I was busy with work commitments.  Therefore I was determined to make it here and try out some of their Tokyo specials - especially their Cronut.  The location is pretty close to a prime shopping area, so I was pretty happy that everyone was agreeable to my choice of venue.

We got ourselves a big table on the second floor.  While others chose to order savory dishes, I decided to taste as many of the cakes and pastries as possible.  The sugar fiend in me definitely came out to play today!

But for the Cronut, we had to go downstairs and buy it from the counter - and of course there was a 2-Cronut-per person limit.  But what I found annoying was that we had to buy them for takeout and weren't allowed to eat them on the second floor - while others sitting downstairs could munch right away.  We made sure to buy enough to give some away later in the day.

But first I needed a drink!  The chef's original hot chocolate was something I'd seen on their social media pages, and I wanted to try it for myself.  Our waitress dropped the marshmallow flower into the cup, and we all watched as the flower opened up to reveal the chocolate truffle in the middle.  On its own, the hot chocolate was actually pretty rich and not overly sweet - thereby achieving a nice balance with the sweet marshmallow.

Grilled cheese sandwich - I was pretty glad that Hello Kitty ordered this, because I had seen this online and really wanted a bite.  One could be forgiven for salivating merely at the sight of the cheese oozing out from the thick-cut Japanese milk toast.  I did take a bite of this, and what a glorious (half) mouthful!  Well-grilled with plenty of fragrant butter to get that toasty flavor, with the butter fully-absorbed into the fluffy bread... and runny cheese!  I wish I had another stomach so I could order one of these for myself.

Four of the desserts arrived around the same time, making for a pretty picture on the table.

Jasmine white flower - an absolute beauty.  A white flower whose petals were made with white chocolate and decorated with drops of "morning dew", with jasmine-flavored pearls in the middle.

Inside the lychee mousse exterior was a layer of mango as well as an almond biscuit at the bottom.  I just loved this combination of flavors - with mango and lychee being two of my favorite fruits of all time, and tropical and floral fragrances rolled into one.  If only I could eat it all myself...

Blueberry tart - so pretty, with plain and blueberry meringue on top, plus shavings of lime zest.

Lemon curd in the middle on top of the blueberry curd, giving it a bit more acidity.

Chocolate typhoon - yet another beauty.  A chocolate tart with gianduja chocolate and topped with a swirl of milk chocolate ganache, and hazelnuts inside.

As pretty as this was, it actually reminded me of the legendary circular guillotine (血滴子) that I saw in Chinese martial arts movies as a kid, with spinning blades designed to cut and inflict some serious damage...

Paris Tokyo - Dominique's adaptation of Paris Brest for Tokyo, using matcha ganache and passion fruit curd, decorated with white chocolate made to look like ginkgo leaves.

This definitely tasted very Japanese to me...

Frozen S'more - I never got around to having one of these when I visited New York a couple of years ago, so when I saw some girls biting into these, I figured we needed to get ourselves one, too.

Inside the torched marshmallow was a center of frozen custard surrounded by crushed chocolate feuilletine.  Since we were sharing, I didn't get the satisfaction of grabbing the stick and just biting into it - as one would do after torching a marshmallow over camp fire.  But it was still pretty yummy.

DKA - I already had a few of these before, but I figured this was his signature item that I preferred over the Cronut, so the others should get a chance to taste it, too.  This was Hello Kitty's favorite, since it wasn't overly sweet yet all the flaky, buttery goodness was there.  I just looooove kouign amanns!

I gotta say I was pretty full from all this, even though I just took bits of everything.  I wish I had more room for their seasonal items with hyuganatsu (日向夏), strawberries...etc.

A few items were consumed later in the day, which definitely wasn't ideal:

Sakura honey almond Cronut - with salted sugar and salted sakura blossom.  I had these in late afternoon while looking out at a blooming cherry blossom tree at Tokyo Midtown.  I gotta say, though, that while I liked all the flavors here, they put way too much almond ganache in the middle.  Not only did this make the Cronut more soggy with time, it also made it very messy to eat... as a blob of white ganache would gush out every time I bit into the damn thing.

Peep-a-Boo - FAIL.  These were supposed to be little chicks peeping out of egg shells, made of two layers of marshmallows sandwiching a salted caramel center, then coated with a layer of chocolate on the outside.

Unfortunately these were impossible to eat.  You can't spoon it out of the real eggshell it came in, so the only way was to break the shell bit by bit.  Once you removed the shell, you found yourself holding onto a chocolate-covered egg.  Wouldn't it have been better or easier if they used candy shells instead of real ones?

And I also didn't understand why they offered this as a takeaway item only, and wouldn't let us eat on the second floor.

Anyway... in spite of my issues with these two items, I was really happy to have finally made it here.  With our stomachs full, it was time to do some shopping...

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