Artistic Dessert Feast At Janice Wong Tokyo
A Fine Diner Where Dessert Meets Art
June 6, 2017
Food & Drink
Step into the artistic world of award-winning pastry chef Janice Wong in the heart of Tokyo.
The divine order of a traditional meal ordains that the dessert should come as a last course. But what if we, the sweet fiends, want to skip the savory part and move straight to the decadent confections? Well, at Janice Wong Dessert Bar you can do just that. To enjoy the dessert tasting menu of your dreams, look no further – here, each course is prepared right in front of you — in the most elaborate fashion.
For dessert aficionados Janice Wong needs no introduction. The Le Cordon Bleu-educated Singaporean pastry chef, often referred to as “doyenne of desserts,” has worked with the best chefs in the world, including Thomas Keller and the legendary Pierre Hermé. During her culinary career, she has gained numerous accolades and a title of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef by S. Pellegrino two years in a row. Known for her “imperfectly perfect” creations, Wong strives to present innovative and progressive desserts relying on molecular gastronomy techniques.
Located in the trendy shopping mall NeWoman in Shinjuku, the dessert bar features sleek and refined décor with dim lights, dark grey walls and colorful abstract paintings. The use of golden silverware adds a touch of elegance, while upbeat music creates a pleasant atmosphere. The whole restaurant seats around 30, including a bar counter for those who prefer watching the chefs in action.
The menu offers an ample choice of signature and seasonal desserts which are expertly paired with cocktails and mocktails prepared by charismatic mixologist Shuichi Ofuchi.
I opt not to hold back, order the special seven-item dessert degustation course (¥4,800) with recommended cocktail pairing and sit back in anticipation of the pure indulgence. The emphasis at Janice Wong is on the spectacular visual presentation and the superb taste alike, and each dessert here is conceptualized and designed by the famous chef herself. I am entranced by watching the chefs assemble desserts with precision and composure of a Swiss watchmaker. These luxurious and whimsical creations don’t fail to impress the eye and the taste buds alike.
The sugary culinary journey starts with “Spring Cocktail soup” – an incredibly refreshing mixture of cucumber, wasabi and grapefruit that serves as a perfect palate cleanser and whets the appetite for what’s to come.
The next servings from the course are the “Asparagus Garden,” beautifully marrying savory green and white asparagus with sweet notes of caramel and balsamico, or “Purple,” an interesting mélange of berries, sweet potato and lavender, and I am equally impressed. The recommended cocktail “Floral Red” (¥1,500) paired with the latter deserves accolade of its own – with a mixture of gin, pomegranate syrup, pistachio paste and fresh cream it has an addictive sweet and sour taste with a touch of delicious nutty flavor.
Perhaps my favorite of the seven items on this indulging course is the decadent “Strawberry Caprese” – fresh strawberries complimented by burrata snow, Chartreuse liqueur and sakura pearls. Lastly, “Cacao Pods” serves as a statement course with bold flavors of smoked bitter chocolate, bacon bits, hazelnut and truffle.
If eating seven desserts in one sitting is more than you can handle, you have an option to order a la carte — or go for the lighter three (¥2,500) or five (¥3,500) dessert courses at lunch time. I recommend trying the “Cassis Plum” (¥1,950), Wong’s signature dessert in Japan inspired by local spring flavors. This icy purple blackcurrant sphere is bedded on lightly flavored umeshu (plum liqueur) granite and further topped with umeshu jelly. The sour taste of the sphere is balanced out by the smooth and lightly sweet yogurt foam filling inside. Raspberry rice crisps in the bottom add beautiful texture while tartness of yuzu (Japanese citrus) tapioca provides a beautiful background depth of flavor.
Another must-try feast is “Spring Flower” (¥1,900) – decadent layers of finely chopped strawberry, tayberry, beetroot and fresh cream elevated by the floral flavors of rose and sakura. Pair it with “Cherry Pistachio” (¥1,200), an absolutely divine cocktail of cherry, coconut water, pistachio paste and fresh cream. I guarantee, you’ll hear the dessert Gods sing.
But in the end of the day, whatever you order, it’s impossible to make a bad choice at Janice Wong. Each tantalizing creation looks like a piece of edible art and is prepared using the finest ingredients that are sure to leave you with a long lasting memory of the place — and occasional cravings to go back.
Address: NeWoman Ekisoto 2F, 4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 11 a.m. -11 p.m. Daily. Reservations recommended