Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

French Pastry Shops in Japan


  • Please log in to reply
95 replies to this topic

#1 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:06 PM

I love cake shops in Japan, the food is prettier then a picture and tastes wonderful besides.
Growing up in the US where supermarket bakeries is where the (overly sweet) sweets were bought, cakes in Japan were the beginning of a whole new world for me.

What are some of your favorites?

Here are pictures from one shop, which is quite typical of what you will find in Japan:

http://www.cakepia.i...ange/index.html

click on menu (there are 3 pages)

by the way the shop belongs to a good (Japanese) friend of mine, so I get to test it sometimes! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#2 prasantrin

prasantrin
  • legacy participant
  • 5,468 posts

Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:04 PM

There's a cake shop in Kyoto that sells the most wonderful chiffon cakes with buttercream icing. I love chiffon cake and find that US or Canadian made chiffon cake tends to be heavy and dry with fake buttercream. The place in Kyoto, though, was perfect! I don't think I ever knew the name, despite going there many times. It was on Shijo-dori and there was a bookstore on the main floor (not Junkudo, though) and it was just a block or two from Daimaru.

I liked the desserts at Mariage Freres, too.

#3 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 13 November 2003 - 06:22 PM

I'm heading to Japan for 10 days in December and I only have one day out of my busy schedule to explore Tokyo on my own. I wanted to make the most of this limited time so I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of which pastry shops I should visit? I'm going to try to make it to the depachika at Seibu and Mitsukoshi. I know Hermé, LeNotre, and Fauchon all have shops/boutiques in Tokyo as well. With only one day, I wanted to take in the best pastry shops in Tokyo!

I am so enamoured with the Japanese take on French pastry and can't wait for my trip! :biggrin: Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help!
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#4 Sinbad

Sinbad
  • participating member
  • 122 posts

Posted 13 November 2003 - 06:49 PM

I'm heading to Japan for 10 days in December and I only have one day out of my busy schedule to explore Tokyo on my own.  I wanted to make the most of this limited time so I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of which pastry shops I should visit?  I'm going to try to make it to the depachika at Seibu and Mitsukoshi.  I know Hermé, LeNotre, and Fauchon all have shops/boutiques in Tokyo as well.  With only one day, I wanted to take in the best pastry shops in Tokyo! 

I am so enamoured with the Japanese take on French pastry and can't wait for my trip!  :biggrin:  Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for all your help!

I don't know which pastry shop is the best in Tokyo, but my advise would be to head to one of the major Japanese department stores which usually have several high-end places like Fauchon in them so that you can try several places(and the foodhalls are a major experience in themself). I would pick one which is near an area that you are already visiting. Isetan in Shinjuku, Matsuya in Ginza and Seibu in Ikebukoro were in my opinion the overall best foodhalls, Isetan and Matsuya are more high end-places so they are more likely to have higher quality shops in them (I do know that there is a Fauchon in Matsuya).

And after you are done with Matsuya or Isetan you can walk next door to Mitsukoshi if you haven't overdosed yet. Also, make sure to check the hours, most department stores close one day midweek.

Takashimaya (they have a Fauchon as well) in Nihonbashi is also pretty good, but there really is no reason to visit the area except for shopping.

#5 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 13 November 2003 - 09:36 PM

I am going to second what Sinbad just said, take your one day and head off to a depa-chika or two (I like Isetan in Shinjuku and Seibu in Ikebukuro) and enjoy yourself there. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#6 kobykoby

kobykoby
  • participating member
  • 29 posts

Posted 14 November 2003 - 12:39 AM

If you are down in the Shibuya/Ebisu area, check out La Boutique Taillevent Robuchon - under the Chateau restaurant in Ebisu Garden Place. If you stay at the Westin Tokyo (as I do when I'm there) its right across the street. More boulangerie than pastry, but good all around. Love the country loaves with tomato and black pepper. Love the tarte pommes.

#7 smallworld

smallworld
  • participating member
  • 720 posts
  • Location:Tokyo, Japan

Posted 14 November 2003 - 08:38 PM

Best pastry shops? Can't answer that- there's just so much good stuff here!

Are you dedicating your one day in Tokyo to pastries alone? Or do you hope to do some non-food sightseeing too?

I agree with everyone else- if you do the rounds at a few department store's basements, you'll be sure to find plenty of pastries and most of them will be really good. Just pick a few areas and spend a few hours at each touring the depachika, having a good look at everything before buying. If you have time I recommend Ikebukuro, where you'll find the Tobu and Seibu department stores, and Shinjuku, with Isetan and Mitsukoshi. Ginza is also a good bet, but as I'm not very familiar with it I'll let someone else recommend places there.


A few of my favourites (I'm afraid some are international chains and might not appeal to you if their pastries are the same as everywhere else):

LeNotre, especially their 'croquante' pastry. There are three branches in Seibu's depachika (in Ikebukuro), but only one of them sells it.

Flo, for their tarts. Many branches, including Tobu's depachika (in Ikebukuro, a short walk from Seibu), and
Shinjuku's Isetan.

Cafe comme ca, for creative tarts piled with impossibly high mounds of fruit. Has branches near Shinjuku's east exit and Ikebukruo's Tobu on the third floor of area 4 (this is a HUGE department store- biggest in Japan, so they divide it into areas), amoung other areas.

Girandole in the Park Hyatt, Shinjuku. This is a restaurant rather than a pastry shop, but the desserts are excellent. I saw their 'marron plate' featuring three different chesnut-themed desserts on TV the other day and it looked great. It's offered until mid-December.
The Park Hyatt's Pastry Boutique is nice too.

Not French, but there is some excellent baum kuchen (spelling?) to be found here. Can't think of any specific shop, but I'm pretty sure most big depachika will have a shop specializing in it.


There are a few ubiquitous chains to avoid, like Fuji-ya, Ginza Cozy Corner and Italian Tomato Cafe. Not that they're terrible, but you'll be able to find much better elsewhere.

I doubt you'll be trying these anyway, but just thught I'd warn you to stay away from apple pie, scones and banana bread or risk extreme disappointment.

Good luck, and be sure to report back to us afterwards!
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#8 pirate

pirate
  • participating member
  • 340 posts

Posted 15 November 2003 - 06:13 AM

The quality level of pastry in Tokyo is certainly the equal of any place in the world. Apart from the department stores, I don't remember the name but there is shop with excellent offerings, especially with fruit. It is on the street parallel to Omotesando, one iblock north and just east of Aoyama. They have a branch in Daikanyama and I believe originated someplace in the Kansai region. Probably Torakris knows the name, which is a phrase.

#9 pirate

pirate
  • participating member
  • 340 posts

Posted 16 November 2003 - 08:26 AM

I did a search on the web and found the patisserie "Qu'il fait bon", referred to above.Their website is primarily Japanese but there are pictures and some French. The Aoyama store is the one with which I'm aquainted . Small. No smoking.
website: http://www.quil-fait...om/top/top.html

#10 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 16 November 2003 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for all the responses. :raz: I'll definitely have to stick mainly to the depachika to avoid having to travel too much. Hopefully I'll be able to post up some pics when I get back!

I'm also thinking of heading to Pâtisserie Mont St.Clair which some of my Japanese friends have said is apparently really good.

Cheers to all!
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#11 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 16 November 2003 - 03:14 PM

Also, check out this page which lists a variety of French-style pastry shops in Tokyo. Too bad I only have one free day to explore! :sad: All the pictures posted by each pâtisserie are so inspiring! You gotta give it to the Japanese!
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#12 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 16 November 2003 - 03:37 PM

Also, check out this page which lists a variety of French-style pastry shops in Tokyo. Too bad I only have one free day to explore! :sad: All the pictures posted by each pâtisserie are so inspiring! You gotta give it to the Japanese!

The 5th down in the 5th column (Maison Grace Ange) is actually owned by friends of mine, the store is just down the street from me! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#13 kobykoby

kobykoby
  • participating member
  • 29 posts

Posted 19 November 2003 - 05:41 PM

This just in - Asahi.com reports that a new "pastry theme park" will open in Jiyugaoka.
Game publisher Namco will open the Jiyugaoka Sweet Forest on Nov. 21. It will feature the pastries of 12 of the best known pastry shops in Japan. The shops have chefs that have won international awards or have apprenticed in Europe.
Admission is free.

http://www.asahi.com...e/1120/011.html (in Japanese)

Cool ...

Edited by kobykoby, 19 November 2003 - 05:42 PM.

------------------------
to taberu is to ikiru

#14 Sweet Willie

Sweet Willie
  • participating member
  • 866 posts
  • Location:ORD

Posted 22 November 2003 - 12:12 PM

Not in Japan, but French Pastry/Japanese take related:

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Chicago (actually Arlington Hts, corner Algonquin & Arl. Hts. Rd.) has a terrific French bake shop in it called Hippo. Some of the best pastries in Chicago for sure.
"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"

#15 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 12 December 2003 - 07:07 PM

This just in - Asahi.com reports that a new "pastry theme park" will open in Jiyugaoka.
Game publisher Namco will open the Jiyugaoka Sweet Forest on Nov. 21. It will feature the pastries of 12 of the best known pastry shops in Japan. The shops have chefs that have won international awards or have apprenticed in Europe.
Admission is free.

http://www.asahi.com...e/1120/011.html (in Japanese)

Cool ...

Some info on this place in English, with a link to their Japanese homepage

http://www.tcvb.or.j...zzling_ind.html

edit:
you need to scroll to the bottom and click on index and then on Pastry theme park

Edited by torakris, 12 December 2003 - 07:09 PM.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#16 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 14 December 2003 - 05:57 PM

torakris... thanks for the info! only 10 more days till my trip. :raz:

have you (or anyone else) gone to this theme park? is it worth a look whil i'm in tokyo? if so, is it expensive? any and all info would be appreciated! :biggrin:
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#17 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 14 December 2003 - 09:46 PM

torakris... thanks for the info! only 10 more days till my trip. :raz:

have you (or anyone else) gone to this theme park? is it worth a look whil i'm in tokyo? if so, is it expensive? any and all info would be appreciated! :biggrin:

I haven't actually been, but from what I can tell it looks as though there is no admission charge.....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#18 PastryBoy

PastryBoy
  • participating member
  • 47 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada

Posted 13 January 2004 - 05:03 PM

WOW! What a trip! Thanks again for all the useful suggestions. I definitely had a fruitful day touring Tokyo. :biggrin:

The day before my free day, I had a chance to sneak into Mitsukoshi and Matsuya (I think) as well as to Dalloyau's shop in Ginza and got a brief taste of what was in store for me at the depachika! What a shock (in a good way)!

The sheer enormity of offerings. I would take an hour to peruse all the stalls on the basement floor when all of a sudden I find another floor below devoted to food. Plus it was so packed! Especially all the stalls selling wagashi and yokan (I had the most amazing yokan from Mikimoto) which makes sense seeing as the New Year was approaching.

During my free day, I managed to visit Tobu and Seibu in Ikebukuro, Isetan, Mitsukoshi, and Takashimaya | Times Square in Shijuku. By the end of the day I was totally exhausted - but it was well worth it. Some of my favourite shops included Plus Herb, Juchheim die Meister (hooray for baumkuchen), and Gramercy | New York, plus many more (I know, I know... some of these pastry shops aren't Japanese but we don't have them in Canada). I should have kept a little notepad with me so I could keep track of the ones I visited.

For some reason, all the cakes, pastries, and cookies I tasted seemed much more delicate and lighter in texture than their equivalents here in North America. I just couldn't seem to figure out how they made their sablé cookies and génoise in order to make them simply melt in your mouth! By the end of the day I was sooo stuffed (and my wallet much lighter, btw) from eating sweets that I almost didn't make it to the huge sushi dinner my family had planned that evening (I say almost... :raz: ).

I loved the food in general in Japan. I mean even the rest stops along the highway were intense. Here, we have the usual MacDonald's or Wendy's along highway rest stops. But in Japan, they had the best sushi, udon, soba, and ramen shops along with little kiosks (is that what you call them) selling grilled rice balls, crêpes, okonomiaki, takoyaki (I must get one of those takoyaki making implements that you showed us in one of your pictures torakris), grilled fish, etc... I could grow used to this kind of food.

As a pastry student, I must say that I have been impressed and thoroughly inspired from this trip to Japan! :laugh: I'll have to post some pictures of some of the my favourites when I get the time!

cheers!
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#19 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 13 January 2004 - 05:11 PM

Pastryboy,
sounds like you had a great trip, I can't believe you hit of those places in ONE DAY!!

Jucheim die Meister is a wonderful place and I was going to recommend them but I thought you were only looking for the French pastry.... :blink:

I think food at the rest stop areas in Japan deserves its own thread, I am addicted to these places. On my first trip to Japan I made my boyfriend stop at every single one on a trip from Tokyo to Osaka. :biggrin: They are even better in teh summer when all of the stands are out selling grilled corn, grilled squid and every other seafood imaginable, then there are the dango stands..........
I think it is time to take a car trip. :raz:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#20 prasantrin

prasantrin
  • legacy participant
  • 5,468 posts

Posted 13 January 2004 - 05:58 PM

For some reason, all the cakes, pastries, and cookies I tasted seemed much more delicate and lighter in texture than their equivalents here in North America. 

Not just seem, but they really are :smile:! I think it has to do with technique as well as quality of ingredients--at least if comparing to most (not all, but most) Canadian baked goods. I haven't been able to replicate it yet, but I'd love to be able to! sigh!

#21 Sinbad

Sinbad
  • participating member
  • 122 posts

Posted 13 January 2004 - 09:24 PM

During my free day, I managed to visit Tobu and Seibu in Ikebukuro, Isetan, Mitsukoshi, and Takashimaya | Times Square in Shijuku. By the end of the day I was totally exhausted - but it was well worth it.

No wonder you were exhausted. I'm impressed by your effort and I think you managed to see the top food halls in Tokyo in two days.

Happy you liked it

#22 smallworld

smallworld
  • participating member
  • 720 posts
  • Location:Tokyo, Japan

Posted 14 January 2004 - 12:25 AM

Glad you ate well, Pastry Boy!

Baumkuchen is the best! I'll be bringing some to Canada as a souviner next month and I'm sure it'll be a hit.

It's amazing how different sweets are here. I used to hate cake, pastries, doughnuts etc back in Canada but now I can't get enough. I always thought I was just picky, but I guess it turns out I had good taste!

The rest stops here are very good (they almost make up for the insanely high tolls). Though they are getting a bit chainified, it's still a treat to visit one.

I'm curious to know if you tried crepes, and what you thought of them. I mean the Japanese-style ones, filled with various sweet gooey things, rolled up, and held upright like an ice cream cone. I love them but I know a lot of non-Japanese who hate them and think they're a blasphemy.
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#23 helenjp

helenjp
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,231 posts

Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:06 AM

Tender pastry goods...do you think it has something to do with Japanese flour? The average flour here has less gluten than US flour, I believe. I find that British and New Zealand recipes work fine with Japanese flour, and was surprised to find that American cooks here often use part or all Japanese bread flour for US cake or cookie recipes.

My husband's company had a huge row over baumkuchen last month. The company has vague ties with Germany, and every Christmas, the boss gives all staff-members a baumkuchen ordered from another well-known Konditorei here.

This year, the designated deputy was sent off to order 50 baumkuchen, "you know, those ring things"...and on Christmas Eve, 50 glazed ring cakes were delivered. There were yells and yelps from behind the boss' door. Urgent phone calls were made. A general staff meeting was called, and the Fuhrerin (?) denounced her betrayer, and prepared everybody to bow their heads to the inevitable, etc.

We came out of it quite nicely, though...several people, hearing that the ring butter-cakes wouldn't keep as well as a baumkuchen, pressed theirs on my husband, knowing we have sons and a resident brother-in-law with a good appetite. It took my husband several nights to ferry them home in his backpack, and me several days to distribute the largesse around the neighborhood!

#24 pirate

pirate
  • participating member
  • 340 posts

Posted 14 January 2004 - 12:15 PM

One thing I noticed in Japan, in fact on my very first trip in 1990, was not just the phenomonal quality of cakes and pastry but also the cream. The heavy cream was 36% butterfat routinely and I seem to recall even 40% and fresh. Perhaps Torakris can elucidate or the other numerous connaisseurs that contribute and make this site so interesting.

#25 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 14 January 2004 - 03:11 PM

I'm curious to know if you tried crepes, and what you thought of them. I mean the Japanese-style ones, filled with various sweet gooey things, rolled up, and held upright like an ice cream cone. I love them but I know a lot of non-Japanese who hate them and think they're a blasphemy.

Smallworld I don't know how you can eat those crepes!! :blink: :biggrin:
I have had them twice now and trashed them after a couple bites, it is a cloying sweetness that I don't care for, even my kids couldn't finish them.......

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#26 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 14 January 2004 - 03:21 PM

One thing I noticed in Japan, in fact on my very first trip in 1990, was not just the phenomonal quality of cakes and pastry but also the cream. The heavy cream was 36% butterfat routinely and I seem to recall even 40% and fresh. Perhaps Torakris can elucidate or the other numerous connaisseurs that contribute and make this site so interesting.

Heavy cream here is very heavy.
It ranges anywhere from 35% to 47 or 48%, the most common being the 36% and a 46%. I think only one company offers the 35% and it is called the "light" cream. :blink: I don't think there is anything below 35% that is real cream, they do have some called pantry cream that is in the 20's but I am not really sure what that is.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#27 pirate

pirate
  • participating member
  • 340 posts

Posted 14 January 2004 - 03:38 PM

torakris: Thanks, I brought up the richness of cream in Japan because it contibutes to the quality of the pastry and the best iced coffees. I'm considering only coffee, ice and cream. There is the delicious cafe liegois in Belgium and a frozen cappucino made with Kahlua and coffee frozen yogurt at the SFA Cafe in NYC.

#28 smallworld

smallworld
  • participating member
  • 720 posts
  • Location:Tokyo, Japan

Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:03 PM



I'm curious to know if you tried crepes, and what you thought of them. I mean the Japanese-style ones, filled with various sweet gooey things, rolled up, and held upright like an ice cream cone. I love them but I know a lot of non-Japanese who hate them and think they're a blasphemy.

Smallworld I don't know how you can eat those crepes!! :blink: :biggrin:

See! Am I the only foreigner who likes them??

I have had them twice now and trashed them after a couple bites, it is a cloying sweetness that I don't care for, even my kids couldn't finish them.......


Well, that really depends on what you put in them, doesn't it? The crepes themselves aren't so sweet, and depending on the shop, can be really very good.
It's the fillings that make it sweet, and seeing as most crepe shops have dozens of possibilities and allow you to mix and match, there's no reason why you have to get a cloyingly sweet one.
I shun the whipped cream, custard cream and other super-sweet stuff, although ice cream is sometimes a welcome addition.
My favourite: sliced bananas, sliced almonds and chocolate chips/chocolate syrup.

You should try it sometime!
My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo
My regular blog: Blue Lotus

#29 ecr

ecr
  • participating member
  • 328 posts
  • Location:Malaysia

Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:32 PM

Has anyone else seen the Japanese game show that pits several Japanese women against each other in a pastry-identification fight-to-the-death? It goes something like this: on a table lies 24 or so plates, each with a teensy taste of pastry from a shop in Tokyo. Each woman must (after having her plate chosen at random, don't remember how) must taste the pastry and identify it by name and by pastry shop. Amazing (think of the preparatory research required to compete in a contest like this)! A variation has the women racing against each other to finish several plates of pastries; the first to shovel all of the goodies in her mouth is given the opportunity to, again, identify the pastry by name and shop. There were a few more variations. The show lasted several weeks and I saw it in spring 2002 on a Japanese channel in Thailand. Some of you in Japan must have seen it too....? What was it called?

#30 CalorieLab

CalorieLab
  • participating member
  • 14 posts
  • Location:Tokyo, Japan

Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:56 AM

Has anyone else seen the Japanese game show that pits several Japanese women against each other in a pastry-identification fight-to-the-death?  It goes something like this: on a table lies 24 or so plates, each with a teensy taste of pastry from a shop in Tokyo.  Each woman must (after having her plate chosen at random, don't remember how) must taste the pastry and identify it by name and by pastry shop. Amazing (think of the preparatory research required to compete in a contest like this)! A variation has the women racing against each other to finish several plates of pastries; the first to shovel all of the goodies in her mouth is given the opportunity to, again, identify the pastry by name and shop.  There were a few more variations. The show lasted several weeks and I saw it in spring 2002 on a Japanese channel in Thailand. Some of you in Japan must have seen it too....? What was it called?

I think this is from a series called "Terebi Champion" (TV Champion), which is still running. The topics vary widely: tonight they had a group of pro pachinko players fighting it out. They have also featured competitions among woodworkers, flower arrangers, ice sculptors, elementary school-aged cooks, collectors of plastic toys, and whatnot.

Food-related episodes are common. The famous Japanese eating champions appear from time to time scarfing down all kinds of things, not just hot dogs. The episodes like you described, where the contestants have to identify food, can be somewhat unbelievable. I think in the case of the pastry experts, they probably gave them a list of shops that might be featured so they could study up. I used to eat lunch at a restaurant whose proprietor had a son-in-law who had appeared as a challenger on the Iron Chef. This guy told me that they gave his son-in-law a list of three food items, one of which would be chosen for the competition, so he could plan some menus in advance. I suspect Terebi Champion does something similar.

Mark