Friday, October 21, 2016

Patisserie Tendresse パティスリー タンドレス  : No.1 Cake Shop in Kyoto

The quest for the best cake shops in Kyoto brought me to Tendresse, the highest ranked patisserie on tabelog. But a visit to this place isn't as easy as it seems. First, it only opens 3 days a week (Sat/Sun/Mon). Secondly, it is not located in any major train stations so one has to transfer a few times before reaching Ichijoji station. Thirdly, the shop believes in producing cakes in small batches so be prepared for everything to be sold out (or maybe left with 1 choice) even if you reach within 2 hours after the opening hours. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gomacro : A Kyoto Cafe for all Sesame Lovers

Don't you love sesame?

Being a huge fan of sesame, I was elated to discover this casual cafe that specializes in all things sesame when I was walking along the streets of Karasuma Oike. 

Gomacro is a casual cafe produced by Yamada Seiyu, a third generation manufacturer of sesame oil whose mission is to protect the mothers who play an important role in raising the pillars of future generation. As such, one can expect that the food here is designed to be healthy, organic and gluten-free. In fact, you can see it as a vegetarian place as the food is free of meat, dairy, eggs, artificial colouring, chemicals, preservatives and even white sugar! 

My main agenda wasn't trying to be healthy (though it feels good to know that the food here is healthier than other places). I wanted to check out the signature white curry rice (¥1000) because I never had white curry before. The curry roux is made by slowly grinding white sesame and almonds by hand using a stone mortar, resulting in such a smooth and thick gravy that was full of nutty aroma. 

The spice here is non-existent and adding splashes of Sesame Rayu (Sesame chilli oil) contributed more to the aroma than taste. But still, I enjoyed the curry tremendously and thought it was a great delicious pairing indeed to go with the black sesame multigrain rice. 

For sweet ending, I had the duo of soymilk and black sesame icecream which was served with homemade sesame granola cookies. I couldn't say if I love the ice cream or the granola more but we all know that creepy crunchy bits can be very addictive. 

But the good thing is that their products from edible stuff like sesame oil, sesame paste and granola to cosmetic skincare items are retailed at the entrance of the cafe. The second level is a kitchen where cooking lessons on healthy organic food is conducted. 

11.30-19.00 (Closed on Mondays, every 2nd and 4th Tues of the month)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kumoya : Japanese-French Desserts As Light as Cloud

Kumoya is the latest artisanal dessert place in town that offers Japanese-French pastries such as eclairs, yoghurt parfaits and pancakes that are as cloud-light as its Japanese name (meaning "cloud" house) aptly implies. 

In fact, it is no coincidence that the presentation and concept reminds one of the now-defunct Karafuru because this place is opened by the same owner who has reshuffled the kitchen and management affairs. With a wider menu that includes savoury items, the owner hopes to to widen the appeal to the masses, including firms looking for a place to host its corporate parties and also halal customers in the near future after it received its halal-certification.

New highlights include the savoury pancakes with a Japanese twist such as Karaage Chicken pancakes and bite-size snacks. The tempura soft shell crab pancake was quite a sight to behold with lots of things going on in a plate; tempura capsicum, tempura soft shell crab, tempura cereal crunch, brûlée pineapples, mixed salad, with a triple stack of savoury pancakes buried all underneath. 

The moreish fritters went hand-in-hand with the wasabi mayo but I'm hesitant to say they were on good terms with the pancakes which could ranked as one of the few better executed ones in town. That said, I can imagine how delicious it would be if I had the Butter & Maple ($8.90) instead because the test-and-tried sweet savoury formula is hard to go wrong. 

New items aside, most people may still question the difference between the Kumoya and Karafuru. Recipes have been fine-tuned and the frilly elements are stripped off to showcase the theme flavors. For instance, the Matcha Yoghurt Parfait ($15.90), which formerly assumed the form of Matcha Jasmine, is now purely done in matcha. I missed the crispy Matcha Langue de chat which has been replaced by saccharinely sweet matcha macaron but the concept of a 和風-style matcha dessert is visibly reinforced with larger helpings of tsubu-an (coarse red been paste) and matcha financiers. 

Of course, this naturally implied that the sweetness has racheted up a few notches, but thankfully the tangy yoghurt soft serve placed it under well control. That said, a pure matcha syrup instead of matcha Creme anglaise might work as a better candidate because the taste of matcha here is as elusive as that of the iced matcha latte.
Those looking for something sweet but more substantial can opt the same buttery pancakes served with yoghurt soft serve. We had the Tiramisu ($15.90) which was kissed by a shot of cold espresso instead of the usual Baileys or other alcohol. But I didn't felt shortchanged at all because the interplay of flavors and textures in the presence of fudgy yoghurt brownie and crumbly chocolate sables made this a delightful treat especially for people like me who enjoy coffee in my desserts. 

The eclairs have now been downsized for customers to try more flavors in a sitting. As pretty as they used to be, I would prefer if the choux pastry can be more tender and less dry. With 12 regular flavors to choose from, I would recommend you to go with your personal favourite flavors.  

At $3 per piece, these dainty gems would make an impressive gift when you get them in 3-pc/6-pc/12-pc box. The size of the eclairs might draw some flak but on a positive light, you will less likely over-indulge and leave this place feeling as light as cloud.  

8 Jalan Klapa Singapore 199320
Tue-Fri/Sun 12pm-10pm 
Sat 12pm-10.30pm
Closed on Mon
IG: @kumoyasingapore

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inoichi 猪一 : Kyoto's Bib Gourmand Ramen that Deserves a Star

If hawker food in Singapore is one of the cheapest Michelin star, then ramen will be the Japanese version of cheap Michelin star gourmet food

With over 100 Michelin-starred restaurants in Kyoto, ramen seems to be the poor man's gourmet compared to kaiseki or any innovative French or Italian cuisines. After all, Kyoto isn't as well known for ramen compared to Hokkaido or Kyushu. However, in the most recent Michelin Guide released for Japan last year, there were 3 ramen-ya that were awarded Bib Gourmand in Kyoto. 

One of them was Inoichi but it isn't the ramen shop with the highest ranking on Tabelog, a review site more commonly used by the locals. In fact, I wasn't attracted to the ramen when I saw the pictures posted online because it looked pale and plain. How can anything like this ever be tasty? 

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