Max Brenner, Hiroo: A Chocolate Lover’s Haven
When the first Max Brenner chocolate bars opened in Tokyo last year, there was, predictably, much fanfare and long lines of people waiting for their chance to sample some of the many chocolate drinks and desserts on offer. The crowds have now largely died down, but the decadent and unusual menu items are still a great bet for a sweet indulgence. As I discovered on a recent rainy Saturday, this cafe has something to please and excite chocolate lovers of any age.
My first trip to Max Brenner was unplanned. I had been running errands with my six-year-old in tow, and decided that after behaving so well for a couple of hours, he deserved a treat. We were around the main Hiroo shopping street and I had always been curious about this very buzzy chocolate shop, so in we went.
As we entered the modern designed cafe, my son, weary from being schlepped around town, immediately perked up as he recognized the unmistakable aroma of his favorite thing in the world: chocolate! On every table was some combination of chocolate delights, including chocolate crepes, chocolate pizzas, hot chocolate, chocolate coffee, and even chocolate ganache-filled syringes! There are so many imaginative and delicious-looking things on the menu that choosing one is perhaps the most difficult part of the experience.
After much deliberation, we decided to share the classic European chocolate fondue (¥2,000). This comes with a choice of two types of melted chocolate (milk, dark or white), as well as a delicious sticky toffee sauce. Each of these is served in its own fondue tower, gently heated by a candle, which added to the mystique and anticipation. For dipping, there are strawberries, banana pieces, cocoa cake, and marshmallows.
Watching my son skewer, dip, devour and repeat was akin to seeing him unwrap his presents on Christmas morning, and both of us were soon giggling excitedly as we tried various combinations of sweets and sauces. What had started as a boring day of errands had quickly been transformed into a deliciously fun outing that had us bouncing off the walls for the rest of the afternoon.
According to Max Brenner’s website, the cafe also offers kids’ parties, which could be a great idea if you are looking for something that little bit more indulgent come your child’s birthday. However, I do recommend getting a Japanese speaker to help you make the arrangements, as when I was there there were no English-speaking staffers on hand.
Address: Hiroo Plaza, 5-6-6 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Sat, Sun and hols, 8:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.