Oh my. This cafe is joining the list of my must-visit recommendations for Tokyo. Hidden in the back of the Minami Aoyama branch of Aoyama Flower Market, the Tea House is definitely worth the queue (we waited around 45 mins). Full of live plants and the flower of the week (peonies, when we visited), the cafe offers brunch/lunch and dessert plus tea. I ordered the Flower Parfait (¥918) and the Kimono green tea with apricot, peach and rose (¥756). The tea came out in a beautiful clear pot, and was surprisingly strong (and a little bitter) for a green tea. I would have liked to be able to add some more hot water to dilute it a bit. But then came the parfait. Layered beautifully with rose jelly (not overpowering), cherry mousse (also nice and subtle but with a great texture), vanilla icecream (mmm, creamy) and cereal (yes, the perfect way to add crunch) it was tasty, pretty and quite filling. Oh and there were rose petals scattered on top too. Swoon. Just being in this space was a pleasure – it’s the perfect escape from the city bustle and a chance to be surrounded by beauty. Highly recommended.
Aoyama Flower Market Tea House, Minamiaoyama 5-1-2, Minato, Tokyo http://www.afm-teahouse.com/
After a fabulous savoury course, it was time for the sweets. We had tried to pace ourselves, but ended up only trying the least portable desserts, and getting the rest takeaway (thank you Buvette!). I started with the lemon meringue tart, as the lightest of all the flavours. The meringue was so glossy and soft, it just melted away into the sweet pastry and delicious lemon curd base. Yum. Next up was the profiterole – now usually I’m not a huge fan of these, as they can be bland compared to other sweets, but this one had such great quality chocolate and a caramel-flavoured filling, that it has change my mind about what a good profiterole can be. The tiramisu was a highlight, although by then I had reached dairy saturation, so only tried the coffee-and-liqueur-soaked cake – it was stronger on the coffee than the liqueur, which was probably good to counteract the sleepiness from so much eating. Of the sweets I took home, I particularly liked the strawberry friand – it had great flavour and actually smelt really great too – and the salted caramel square was also divine. Highly recommended for a special occasion, or just to celebrate the weekend!
Buvette, Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton ACT, http://buvette.com.au/
I loved the TV show Pokemon as a kid – the idea of ‘catch ’em all’ appealed to my inner collector – as does the ever changing flavour menu at Frugii. This visit was part of my #touristinmyowntown adventure, showing a friend from Adelaide the best of Canberra. Of course Frugii was on that list. We stopped in on a Thursday night and the two sorbets on offer were Grapefruit and Passionfruit. Mmm. I sampled the Grapefruit and fell completely in love – sorbets are naturally sweet, so paired with a sour fruit, there is a harmonious balance that ticks all the tastebud boxes. I got a scoop of the Passionfruit too (a small cup with two scoops is $5), after plenty of helpful advice from the friendly staff. Frugii’s sorbets aren’t trying to emulate the creaminess of icecream, because they’re spending plenty of time making sure the flavour is spot on. The passionfruit was really lush and had that fabulously tropical flavour – nothing synthetic here folks. Having added two new flavours to my collection, I wonder what the next one will be on my quest to catch ’em all?
Frugii Dessert Laboratory, 30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, http://www.frugii.com/