50 SHADES OF TOKYO DESSERTS | SHADE 21
When we think of desserts the first thing that usually comes to our mind are the elegant cakes with matching names that we typically enjoy at a local patisserie. But what about those decadent plates you’d devour at a high-end restaurant after your meal? You get completely different level of exquisiteness and uniqueness as these beautiful sweet treats are assembled right before serving – a quality that is very hard to come by in a regular dessert shop. Yet, I put myself to a challenge to find a place that would specialize in desserts prepared a la minute and served in the most sophisticated way. I didn’t have to look for too long as dessert Gods sent me to a right direction – Toshi Yoroizuka, who is one of the top pastry chefs in Japan. Located in Tokyo Midtown, a high-end department store in Roppongi, Toshi Yoroizuka has caused quite a sensation on the local food scene after its opening a few years ago. Going there on Saturday afternoon was synonymous with a 45-minute wait-time, although the experience was totally worth it.
As you enter the small restaurant your eyes immediately meet with a single display filled with numerous dainty specialty cakes. Although what sets Toshi Yoroizuka apart from other patisseries in town is the action happening in the back of the restaurant, namely a single counter with roughly 14 seats and two chefs assembling desserts in an open kitchen with precision and composure of a Swiss watchmaker. The décor is simple yet chic, black tiled interior, marble counter and the bar filled with variety of beverages create an atmosphere of a cocktail salon with a twist. I was promptly presented an English menu which came in the form of sketches and detailed breakdown of different layers and components of the cakes. The chef informed me that the last one – La Gorgonzola Pistache – was the specialty of the restaurant and no.1 choice. I won’t lie, as much as I love cheese, cheese-flavored ice-cream didn’t sound appealing to me at all and I was very afraid to make a wrong choice. Instead, I was extremely drawn to Millefeuille aux Fraises with pistachio ice-cream and fresh strawberries, or Souffle aux Chocolat et Berry. But then the blogger inside me spoke up saying “hey, go outside your comfort zone and try something new for a change.” So I took this mental challenge and opted for the recommendation of the chef, admittedly with a bit of skepticism. I gladly spied on the chefs as they prepared desserts for other customers and even snapped a picture of this enticing Coupe Arome, with layers of tea panna cotta, apricot sherbet, tea ice-cream among other delicious components. I was pleasantly surprised when the chef served me a complimentary appetizer – a velvety-textured chilled cream of asparagus which had a very subtle flavor. My guess is, it was supposed to serve as a palate cleanser more than anything else. Soon afterwards, my beautifully arranged dessert was served. It was aesthetically so pleasing to look at! Freshly baked Gorgonzola cake was topped with pistachio ice-cream, while Gorgonzola ice-cream, decorated with thin and crunchy cheese laces, was served on a side together with pistachio cream, nuts and dried apples elegantly dabbed around the plate for added flavor and texture. I started with Gorgonzola ice-cream which was a revelation and absolutely delightful. It paired wonderfully with the sweet and savory cake, which had a bit of a hard shell from the outside yet was incredibly moist from the inside. The juxtaposition of the sweet and savory flavors was sublime and the salted almonds created even better textural contrast. Sadly, the pistachio ice-cream as well as the cream lacked depth of flavor and had no punch, thus contributing very little to the overall taste of the dessert. But the Gorgonzola ice-cream was a true show stopper which definitely made me want to come back for it again. Overall, even though I tried only one thing off the menu it was sufficient for me to want to return and try some other desserts. As it often is the case, menu selection changes according to seasons. You can also buy one of those petite gateaux in the front of the store to-go.
Address: Tokyo Midtown East 1F, 9-7-2 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo 107-0052
Hours: 11 A.M. – 10 P.M.