Tokyo Delights I

On our recent trip to Tokyo, we made time to visit Aoki Sadaharu and Hidemi Sugino’s pâtisseries. Sadaharu has 2 outlets in Tokyo – one in Yurakucho and one in Isetan Shinjuku. Naturally we chose to patronise the outlet at Isetan Shinjuku because Isetan is a much easier landmark to locate than a rather non-descript building in Marunouchi. And so, on the second day of our vacation, we dropped by Isetan Shinjuku with much expectations. I’ve heard so much about his matcha and yuzu eclairs I could hardly contain my excitement as we circled the basement level of the massive shopping mall looking for the elusive outlet.

After circling the plethora of counters and shops all selling Japanese sweets and cakes, we gave up and made a beeline for the information counter. Better to ask for help than to lose precious time searching for the outlet ourselves.

It was easy enough to locate the outlet after we obtained directions from the information counter. And so, I stepped into the outlet with much fervour. Two things struck me the moment I walked in – the pastries were expensive, and the display counter looked… empty. It must be no later than 4pm, but the eclairs were sold out, and they were left only with 1 salted caramel tart. I was inconsolable.

It was decided that a return, at an earlier time, was in order. Or better still, we should visit the main outlet even if it meant having to brave Yurakucho, Tokyo’s business district which we are rather unfamiliar with. Because our schedule was quite full the next few days, we only had the opportunity to go a looking for Sadaharu’s pâtisserie in Yurakucho a week later. And boy, were we lost.

Fearing a long queue and potentially a sell-out of the eclairs again, we looked exactly our part – 2 casually-dressed tourists running amok amidst well-dressed-in-business-suits Japanese. Or perhaps I should correct that: the hubby was running around frantically looking for the pâtisserie fearing my disappointment again while I strolled on, stopping ever so often to take shots of anything which caught my eye.

With some difficulty, we finally located the pâtisserie. And the hubby shot me a murderous look as if saying ‘I thought you say there is going to be a long queue? Who are you kidding?!’

I shrugged and stuck out my tongue.

Because we just made a trip to Tsukiji Fish Market prior and had a delectable sushi breakfast, we really hadn’t the appetite for much sweets. After much contemplation, we ordered a chocolate eclair, matcha eclair and salted caramel tart. The yuzu eclair apparently, if my limited grasp of Japanese didn’t fail me, has been removed from their line of regular pastries.

We took our time, and thoroughly enjoyed the pastries. And the much celebrated matcha eclairs are… to die for. I would have gone for seconds if I weren’t already full with my sushi breakfast. A real pity, that was. There were so many things I wanted to try but I just wasn’t ready to stuff myself to surfeited collapse.

We bought some of their BonBon Chocolat as souvenirs for good friends because they were decidedly the only items that have expiry dates beyond Dec 2010. And below is a parting shot of the pâtisserie. For sure, I would revisit the next time we swing by Tokyo again. I have not had my fill yet.

As for the special trip made to Sugino’s Patisserie, I’d just decided it deserves a separate post of its own.

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