Hidemi Sugino, Tokyo

I’m not a dessert person, I think I’ve mentioned that several times in this blog, but if I were to go to Tokyo without visiting legendary pastry chef Hidemi Sugino, a couple of my friends would probably feel the need to object violently. Why exactly do people speak so fondly of him? His claim to fame would be that he was the first Asian to win the La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, the world cup of pastry, back in 1991, I would have gladly cheered him on with a Vuvuzela, but alas, I was only a kid back then.

I made a trip to Hidemi first on a weekday afternoon, at 3+pm, the shop was empty, as was the display case- they had sold out for the day. I almost contemplated giving up on trying Hidemi, but I decided to squeeze in a quick bite before lunch the next day. This time I got in at around 11am, again on a weekday. There were about 3-4 people in front of me, but an ample selection of cakes still available.

I’m going to summarize my experience at Hidemi in the introduction- you have to go to Hidemi if you’re in Tokyo. It is probably the most popular pastry shop in Tokyo for the last few years, and it is one of those places that exists only in Tokyo, unlike other patisseries. Go early, even if there is a queue, you won’t have to wait long. Some cakes are eat in only, and some are take out only, so go as a group and you’ll get to try more cakes, then buy more cakes to take away, there were about 18-20 choices of cakes in total when I was there.

Ambroisie アンブロワジー 

Hidemi’s most famous dessert, and also the one that won him the pastry world cup in 1991, a breakdown of this consists of: chocolate glaze, chocolate mousse, pistachio sponge, pistachio mousse, raspberry jam, chocolate sponge. You can get a lot more info(as well as attempt to make the cake) from LPV. Hidemi is well known for his mousse, and the mousse components did not disappoint, very pure, very rich, released intense chocolate flavors immediately upon melting on the tongue. Unfortunately, I found the cake to be overall a little too rich, the chocolate was of incredible quality, but I felt that it needed more of the raspberry jam to cut some of that rich sweetness, I know many will disagree with me on this. Don’t get me wrong, its a good cake, its just too rich for me, that being said, the mousse was spectacular, and you should definitely order this if you are ever at Hidemi and decide for yourself. Okay-good

(I was stopped from taking pics after the first shot, excuse the crappy iPhone picture)

Belle Jardiniere

I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle 2 mousse cakes by myself, so I opted for a tart as my second choice. I believe this is a berry tart with a whipped cream quenelle on top. This might be blasphemy to some people but I found the tart to be better than his ambroisie, the balance was spot on, sweetness of the pastry cream balanced out by the tartness of the fruits(Doesnt Japan have the best fruits?), the tart itself was perfect, crisp on the outside, buttery on the inside. The quenelle of whipped cream, which I am normally not crazy about, was very light and added a touch of richness to the overall mouthfeel when eating the tart. This just seemed to me to be more balanced than the ambroisie. Good-Very good

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