5 Reasons Why Dominique Ansel Bakery Is Not Your Ordinary Bakery
This Next Generation Bakery Never Ceases To Impress
If Alice in Wonderland had her favorite bakery, it would’ve been Dominique Ansel's.
Much has been said and written about Dominique Ansel, the award-winning French pastry chef who made it big in the United States by introducing the next-best culinary invention of the 21st century — the almighty Cronut. And so much more. He’s been called the Van Gogh of pastry making and has been in the spotlight probably more often than most Hollywood stars over the past few years. Now, two years after the grand opening of his first flagship bakery and cafe in Tokyo’s Omotesando, and a second take-out branch in Ginza’s Mitsukoshi department store this spring, he is making it big in Japan as well. The Omotesando bakery, the chain’s first international store, is currently one of the hottest bakeries in Tokyo — and here are five reasons why.
1. It never stays the same
Dominique Ansel Bakery is like the culinary sister of Cirque du Soleil — innovative, creative and always evolving. Take the Cronut, for example. Each flavor is decided on a monthly basis and no flavor can ever be repeated — not only at the Tokyo store but at the New York and London’s stores as well. This is done to keep you entertained (and impressed) and results in some unique combinations — Apricot Caramel, Cherry Coconut, Chestnut Rose, Pistachio or Lychee Cronut, to name a few of the latest.
Seasonal specials get even more creative — just think of the Blossoming Hot Chocolate, the drink with a flower-shaped marshmallow that unfolds under heat to reveal a tiny ball of cocoa, or the salted watermelon soft cream, Dominique Ansel What-a-Melon Soft Serve (¥1,000) and the corn soft cream on real corn chunk, the Dominique Ansel Creme de la Corn (¥1,000) that shook up Instagram this summer? Staying true to its motto, “New Generation Bakery,” Dominique Ansel introduces new inventions every season and every month to keep surprising you even if you’re a regular.
2. It’s both a subway … and a park
Did we say bakery? Apologies for the confusion, here is a metro station leading to a park. Designed to take you on a trip through three of the world’s largest stations, Tokyo, Paris and London, the large subway map on the wall at the entrance of the Omotesando store is a playful take on the bakery’s ground floor concept — a meeting spot along the rails. Here’s where you’ll grab a quick bite, have a morning meeting or catch up with a friend over coffee. On the map, you’ll also find other unique “Lines” introducing famous flavor “stops,” names of executive chefs from all stores, stations named after popular bread and pastry products, and more. Read between the lines!
Getting off the metro will lead you to the bakery’s second floor, a restaurant designed under the concept of a “petit park.” Surrounded by greenery and large windows, the second floor is where you’ll go for lunch, a slow coffee time, or an indoor picnic — and feel just as if you’re in Central Park. Try the Central Park Basket (¥5,280), a picnic set for two served on a picnic mat and including several out-in-the-park specials: soup, fries, lobster rolls, chocolate brownies, cookies, and doughnuts, served with tea.
Or you can try other specials on the menu — like our favorite the Soho Avocado Tarragon Toast (¥1,430), a beautifully presented and equally delicious open avocado and salad sandwich. Either way, it’s all designed to make you chill at the park — after you pass through the metro hassle!
3. It finds imaginative ways to combine East and West
This French by heart and American by nurture bakery knows how to approach things globally. With a variety of local interpretations into its newest and coolest inventions, you can find a wide array of Japan-inspired goodies that are created skillfully and playfully, regardless of the season.
Whether it’s an onigiri-inspired treat, a Daruma cake, the Paris-Tokyo cake (¥725), the bakery’s take on the classic Paris-Brest filled with passionfruit curd and matcha ganache, the Matcha Monaka Cookie (¥380), or the famous black sugar hojicha melon bread, Mr. Roboto (¥360), all goodies here are made with an original twist of local bests and global trends.
One of the most clever inventions this year was the “Gacha Gacha” machine on the bakery’s first floor, which contains six kinds of capsules with chocolate made after popular Japan symbols. Insert a ¥500 coin and enjoy the surprise of what comes out.
Speaking of surprises, have you seen the balloons at the entrance? Grab this “Zero Gravity Cake” for a ¥1,000, pop it and wait to see what’s inside. No spoilers here, but trust us — it’s a product of creativity, playfulness, and culinary mastermind.
4. It’s an open photo booth
You can’t visit this place without the urge to record your experience. Whether it’s the subway map on the first floor, the park party on the second, the seasonally changing desserts and all hidden surprises at the bakery, you’ll find plenty of photo ops to impress your social media followers.
Start by taking a photo of a staff burning Frozen S’mores (¥770), another pouring milk into a Cookie Shot (¥520); get your Cronut (¥600) cut in half, place the two pieces together and try imitating the bakery’s Instagram account, use your Boomerang feature to get a shot of the Gacha Gacha treats, or pop up a balloon and get that perfect slow-mo shot of what’s inside.
The cake display on the second floor is also a photo stop-by. Regardless of what you do here, you’ll find yourself getting creative and experimental and having a few extra followers on Instagram at the end of the day.
5. It brightens you up
Is it the bright interior, the radiant staff or the delicious food? There’s something about this bakery that brightens up your day. The Savvy team discovered this personally upon a recent visit. As we were indulging ourselves on the bakery’s favorites, trying the monthly Cronut, the butter-rich (DKA) Dominique’s Kouign Amann, (¥550), and more one after another, suddenly we noticed a change — we were gradually opening up to conversations exceeding the usual end-of-the-week exhales! It was the sugar! And then it was more.
Next to us was an international group of friends who were overjoyed to reunite. On our other side were a mother and daughter, eating pastries in complete peace. There was a group of friends, who had ordered one of the latest treats, and were discussing the best ways to capture it on their phones. And then it was us. When we left the bakery, we were chatting all the way back to the office and we knew that something was different about us. We had a relaxing experience at this place that truly brightened us up — and looking around made us realize we were not alone.
So, whether you’re after delicious treats, a stop by at the park for a picnic, in search of some inspiration, or just in need of a few creative shots, you know where to go.
Address: 5-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Mon-Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m.