09 November 2015

Tokyo September 2015 - Part III Jiyugaoka, Musashi-Kosugi

Continued from
Part I - Century Southern Tower, some Shinjuku area
Part II - Food in Tokyo

It's my Jiyugaoka day! I always make time to visit this quaint little town because the whole feel is so comfortable, very different from the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku or Shibuya, with lots of interesting zakka/home and living shops to explore.

Reached Jiyugaoka before noon and headed directly to Jiyugaoka Burger for an early lunch. Read from somewhere about this quaint little roof-top terrace eatery serving wholesome burger made from exclusive Japanese produce, so I must give it a try. As the shop space is very limited, I planned an early lunch to avoid queuing (and afterwards I can have room for afternoon tea!).

The shop is located at level 4 of a building. Luckily I had wifi connection and managed to find the place very quickly using google map.

Burger bun is made from natural yeast, patty using Japanese beef, homemade ketchup and mayo and organic vegetables.
Opening hours.

This sight greeted me upon reaching level 4. Chio looking bicycle!

This is the entire dining area, which sits about 18 to 20 pax only.

The kitchen and service area.

Ordered an iced mint tea. Iced water with fresh mint leaves in a decanter was also served on the house. SG cafes should offer the same service as well!

My appetizer, fresh organic vegetable salad with homemade dressing.

My small burger set consisting of an original Jiyugaoka burger, fried rustic potatoes and fruit of the season, muscat grapes.

The burger was really wholesome; bun was slightly chewy, beef patty was succulent and juicy. Loved the onion and tomato which tasted so sweet! The potato was really yummy, crispy outside and fluffy inside. To top it off, I got to end the meal with muscat grapes which were so sweet and juicy.

With my tummy satisfied, it's shopping time!

First stop, cuoca which is a confectionery specialty store, much alike our Phoon Huat. Strangely, I've been to Jiyugaoka countless time and I've not explored this part of the town! Luckily, my friend A told me about this treasure cove!

I was like Alice in Wonderland the moment I entered the shop, the excitement of seeing so many baking products, tools and decoration stuff.

Asked for permission to take photos and started going around the store snapping photos and mentally noting what to buy.

It was a month away from Halloween, so Halloween themed and related goods were on special feature. The Japanese celebrate festivals in style, so you can always see themed products according to festivals and seasons.

A baking demo corner where workshops are conducted.

What I liked about cuoca is, everything is categorized neatly and properly, the store is spacious and bright and somehow making the entire shopping experience so enticing. 

Different types of baking moulds, cookie cutters.

Cake rings of different sizes, pound cake moulds.

I went crazy over the sheer types of flour available, for baking different types of cakes, pastries, breads... and in different weight like 250g, 500g, 1kg, 2kg... I had to stop myself from buying because it would be too heavy to carry around. Ended up only buying a 250g pack of cake flour for baking roll cakes.

Different types of sugar, coloring, condiments...

Fruits and nuts.
Liquor, flaovuring, confits, jams, canned fruits...

Chiller section, fresh yeast, purees, butter, cream, chocolate...

Different types of baking tools.

Packaging for cakes and pastries.

Well, I was totally disciplined and emerged with only one small bag of goodies :p

On level 2 of the building housed Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest. This is like a dessert theme park featuring sweets and desserts from eight renown confectionery.

The theme then was Halloween of course.

Was intrigued by this display of miniature confectionery shops.

Thereafter, walked and shopped around and it was time for tea! Been looking forward to this for months!

Last December when I was there, I discovered this BAKE Cheese Tart shop. Unfortunately I didn't have time to queue for it. The cheese tart actually originated from Kinotoya Bakery in Sapporo, Hokkaido. After the success of the tarts in New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, more shops were opened in Tokyo and subsequently Osaka, Fukuoka and even Hong Kong! I think this Jiyugaoka store is their first/flagship store.

Level 1 is the open kitchen and sales counter. Level 2 hosts a small space for dining in.

Like the previous time, the queue was long, so I took some photos first. A peep into the kitchen.

They sell soft-serve ice-cream as well.

Level 2 with some dining tables/chairs and comfy sofa lounge areas. Free flow of water for customers too, how thoughtful.

The crowd waiting to get their hands on the famed tarts.

After about 30 mins, I finally entered the store. OMG, the aroma of the cheese tarts almost made me salivate! Look at the rows and rows of freshly baked cheese tart. Oh, the lady server is very chio!

What to do while waiting? Snapped as many photos of the tarts while taking in the aroma. Loved the pretty colours and slightly domed shape of the tarts, each and every tart was perfectly baked!

I was in cheese tart haven!

And finally, my turn! Bought 2 tarts only. Well, was watching my diet, couldn't eat too much. Come to think of it, why didn't I buy half a dozen so that I could eat it for supper and breakfast for the next few days? Silly me!
Anyways, I ate one at the dining area and left the other one for breakfast the next day as I wanted to see how it turned out after a day in the fridge.

Ooooh, the tart was sooooooooooo good. The tart pastry was cookie-based, very crunchy and fragrant. But the highlight was the cheese filling, which tasted so cheesy and mouth-fill so gooey. I really have to give it to the Japanese for inventing such a delicious tart. I mean, the cheese filling was just the right amount of "gooeyness" and not runny or lava-like. Otherwise it would have been very messy to eat it, wouldn't it? And knowing them, they certainly wouldn't bring such dining inconvenience to their customers. Here's a tart that's pretty to look at, yummy to eat!

I know there's a similar cheese tart by Pablo, which is also highly raved about. I saw it around but the tart is kind of big and difficult to eat/manage so I didn't try. On the contrary, I love BAKE Cheese Tart is because of its size and perfect proportion of tart pastry to cheese custard. Haha, I sounded like the spokesperson for Bake Cheese Tart.
This was how the tart looked like after a day in the fridge. The cheese filling was no longer gooey, it became more mousse-like which I liked equally.

After I returned to SG, missed the tart so much that I tried baking it. Succeeded in baking a similar version which helped to curb my cravings temporary. Check out my version here.

After the satisfying tea break, walked and shopped around some more. Was looking high and low for a Meyer brand Perfect Grill Pan actually and finally found a store (212 Kitchen Store) that carried the range but it was sold out! The store assistant was very friendly and helped me locate a few stores that still had the item in stock.

One of the nearest store was a few train stops away from Jiyugaoka, at Musashi-Kosugi, so headed there. LaLa terrace is a mall just next to the train station. To my delight, found a few more zakka stores at the mall.

But first of all, 212 Kitchen Store where I bought my Meyer Perfect Grill Pan. Will share more about it on my shopping haul post and a few food posts on using the pan. This particular 212 Kitchen Store carries a whole array of kitchenware and I had to control myself not to over-indulge once again.

One of my earliest obsession, Afternoon Tea Living. This particular store is quite big and carries a full range of products, from fashion accessories to home and bath, to kitchenware. Shinjuku and Shibuya used to have big stores like these as well but they have since moved to the outskirts or less populated towns.

Didn't have time to sit down for tea unfortunately, as I've to return to Shibuya to meet the hb for dinner. Next time!

End of post. Up next will be Aoyama Flower Market, Kappabashi. Stay tuned!

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