Funnily enough, we didn't end up eating many desserts in Tokyo - between last year's Mister Donut fest and crepe visits and high density shopping, there's only so much cake and sweets you can fit in. What we did try, I would wholeheartedly recommend as culinary highlights of Tokyo (or at least 2 out of 3).
There's definitely a part of me that inevitably falls for the 'high tea' vibe that Harbs embodies - think teacups, beautiful cakes and intricate interiors, along with hand-illustrated menus. But instead of floral, gold-plated swirls and frippery that can get overwhelming and dated, I love that Harbs' cutlery embodies the minimalism that Japanese designs often do, all the more to highlight the perfection of its cakes. And this time, we didn't have to feel bad about excessively thoughtful packaging for one cheesecake slice. The prices were on par with Deux Cremes but Harbs requires you to order a minimum of one drink if you're sitting down to dine so this was definitely the most indulgent dessert I had on this trip...and perhaps ever?
The fragrance of my coconut tea was so strong and lovely to smell but, sadly, dissipates almost completely when you actually taste it. On the other hand, I've definitely found my perfect cheesecake - I believe it's a seasonal special called the Irish cream cheesecake (?). I really don't like whipped cream, which is unfortunate because cakes in Asia are generally very heavy on it so this cheesecake (with solid crust!) and the light touch of Baileys sweetness in the cream was a perfect ratio.
PABLO | SHIBUYA
If you go to Shibuya's Centre Gai in the evening, you're sure to see a fairly respectable line at the corner of one of the intersections - the line for Pablo's.
In light of our Shibuya living situation, we just had to take advantage of the fact we could walk past at less crowded times (think: daytime) to grab a tart for ourselves. And boy, is it worth it.
Pablo specialises in a particular kind of cheese tart that's not solid enough to be a full blown cheesecake but tastes like it, with a light pastry shell. And it is delicious. The crust is flakey and crisp, the filling is light and not too sweet - almost the consistency of custard - and it looks so cute! There's a slight mango-y flavour to the yellow glaze that makes it refreshing too.
At 780Y each, it's also a bargain, as long as you have someone to share it with (or just save it for yourself over several sessions...which is definitely tempting).
You might not even be bored during a wait at the line because the windows to the small shop are clear so you can watch the little production line of chefs making your tart with great care. While I'm not sure if some fruit on the top warrants doubling the price for the 'Christmas' special, it does look very pretty.
Note - this branch is takeaway only so you'll have to find somewhere to take your tart to eat. We managed to smuggle it in at The Roastery by sitting outside and also by taking it home...
ORANGE WAFFLE CAFE | SHIMOKITAZAWA
The smell of this quaint little cafe in Shimokita will hit you before anything else and make it very hard to walk away. I am an absolute sucker for the vibe of Orange Waffle Cafe - everything is light and airy inside, with bright graphic cushions and furniture to serve as accents. The fact the first piece of the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom was folded in a little origami shape was an extra plus - I adore it when restaurants take care of their bathrooms.
I'm cheating a little in regards to this post's theme because we ordered one savoury and one sweet waffle - the waffles on both dishes were airy and crisp, though some might argue they're a little insubstantial. I definitely preferred our plain waffles with creamy mushroom soup. The mushroom soup was vividly flavoured and fragrant and served as a great dip for the waffles, both flavour-wise and texturally.
The red velvetwaffles, unfortunately, were not great and tasted like plain waffles with some red food colouring. The bulk of the flavour relied on the maple syrup and whipped cream, which was disappointing, as much as I love maple-syrup-flavoured anythings