The famous Pablo melting cheesecake shop has announced that they will be selling a few limited New year's edition cheesecake. The two of which I will be reviewing today are:the Strawberry Daifuku Cheese Tart and the Japanese Sake Kasu Cheese Tart
For those who have never heard of this cheesecake, just to emphasize on how famous this Pablo brand is, if you would ever walk by a Pablo shop, there will no doubt always be a long queue of people waiting to get their hands on one of these cheesecakes. The number of some cakes are also limited, once it's sold out for the day, then it's sayonara!
(Pablo Cheesecake 'Take-out' only store in Shinsaibashi)
Today was the first day of sale for these limited edition cheesecakes, and because these cakes will only be available for a week (for the Sake Kasu Tart) and only in January (for the Strawberry Daifuku Tart), I was expecting a line. So I decided to head over earlier to avoid it. Well.. I got my hopes up. I arrived about 20 minutes before the shop's opening time (which I thought was really early), only to find a huge line already forming… nooo…
(Pablo Cheesecake Eat-in Cafe in Dotonbori)
As I hurried to get myself in line, I could hear people already discussing (and fighting over) which cheesecake to get once the shop is opened. And with the mouth-watering cheesecake pictures on the signboards staring me in the face, I just could not wait to get inside!
Being the very punctual folks Japanese people are, the doors were opened at 11:00 sharp. The security guy, yes there was a security guy, came outside to welcome us with warm smiles and handed menus to those who wanted to dine in in the cafe area.
I had decided that I would dine in at the cafe today as there are only two such 'eat-in' Pablo cafes in the whole of Japan; One being in Himeji, Hyogo, and this one that I went to located in Dotonbori, Osaka. In the 'eat-in' menu, there is a whole other world of cheesecake variety that you can choose from as compared to the Pablo 'take-out' only stores. There are also other desserts like cream cheese puddings and cheese infused soft serve ice-creams as well as a wide range of hot and cold drinks you can order from.
As we proceeded along the line like little obedient ants, we could see the hardworking Pablo cheesecake workers ruthlessly baking away in the back kitchen. It was very interesting seeing the cheesecake people in action. It kind of enhances the sense of freshness, and I guess maybe it is also a way to entertain people while they wait endlessly in line.. haha.. Just kidding, the line actually went pretty quick.Along the way, you will also see shelves of beautifully wrapped take-home souvenir snacks and desserts by Pablo.
It was almost my turn coming up at the counter when I realised that the limited edition cakes were only available for take out. So in order to actually dine inside the cafe, I had to also order something else. Ohh, why not?
The interior of the cafe was absolutely gorgeous. The cafe was divided into two sections and there were plenty of tables to cater the awaiting crowd. It was so nice and warm inside the cafe that I just wanted to sit in there forever.
For my dine-in experience, I had decided to order a slice of the 'Premium Cheese Tart' and the 'Cheese Infused Soft Serve Ice-cream'. I have read many reviews and heard many good stories from my personal friends about these two particular desserts, and have been longing to taste them since... FOREVER!
The premium cheese tart was really, really nice. It wasn't too sweet nor was it bland as you could really taste the cheesiness in it. The cheese filling was rich and dense, and there was a layer of crunchy caramelised sugar top (like that of a creme brulee) and that was a really nice contrast to the soft and creamy cheese filling.
As much as I had absolutely enjoyed the cheese tart, I reckon the highlight of my eat-in experience was the cheese infused ice cream. I can't really put into words the flavour of this ice cream except that it was SO GOOD! On the outside, it looked like any soft serve ice cream you would get from an ice cream place but there was a really subtle yet addicting cheesy aftertaste that you just can't get enough of. That cheesy aftertaste comes and goes really quickly, which makes you want to take more and more bites out of it just to figure out the cheese flavour. Have this together with the premium cheese tart, oh my God.. HEAVEN!
It wasn't only the cheesecakes that were great, Pablo also strongly focuses on its service to their customers. After the waiter served me my dessert, he did a cute little 'Let's eat some cheesecake!' dance telling me to enjoy my dessert.
It reminded me of some kids tv show that I used to watch when I was younger haha. I gave him a well deserved giggle for his bravery because I could never have done it if it were my part time job. Later, I was also asked to have my picture taken for their social media and for that I got a small Pablo souvenir badge! What a win!
After my very sugary brunch, I had to wait a little bit before trying out the two limited edition cheesecakes that I originally came to out to get. I was told by the sales lady that the cheesecakes would hold out for about 12 hours so I decided to leave the take-out cakes for night time!
It is finally dinner time, oops, I mean dessert time. Super excited once again.
I decided that I would start off by trying out the 'Japanese Sake Kasu Cheese Tart'. This particular cheesecake is a one-week only special collaboration by PABLO and OZEKI Sake Brewery, a company who has been brewing Japanese sake for over 300 years! How exciting!
In case you don't know what 'Sake Kasu' is, kasu translated to English, 'Lees' (a word I have never heard of before this), is the sediment residue that is left over from the process of sake-brewing. In Japan, this sediment residue can be used in cooking, pickling or marinating and is said to even have medicinal effects on the body. Luckily for me, I have tasted actual sake kasu before when I went to a sake brewery last year.
(The huge piece of white thing I have in my hand is the sake kasu.)
To my surprise, the filling of the Japanese Sake Kasu Cheese Tart did very much taste like sake kasu, though it wasn't as strong as if you were to try sake kasu by itself or drink sake straight. The alcoholic aroma of the sake in the cheese filling is quite subtle so for those who are not the most fond of the taste of alcohol in food, you might just be able to get away with this one. What I really liked about this cheesecake was the texture of the filling. It was SO FLUFFY! It was a texture that I have never tasted in a cheesecake before, almost like a cross between a gelatin cheesecake and the fluffy whipped egg white filling in a pavlova. This cheese filling was very different to the richer and denser one I had relished in the cafe earlier this morning. The pastry used for this sake kasu tart was flaky puff pastry which continued to retain its nice crispiness even after so many hours. Unfortunately, the cheese filling did crack away from the pastry a little bit as you can see from the photos, but it was still great taste wise.
And finally, the much raved about 'Strawberry Daifuku Cheese Tart'!!
I must say this was a very girly dessert, haha. The whole combination in my opinion, is a girl's dream come true in a dessert. It had strawberries, blueberries, red bean and cream topping with pink daifuku (a Japanese dessert rice cake) lying on top of a bed of fluffy, soft melty cheese filling, and around it was crispy, flaky puff pastry. The fruits used were sweet, the cheese filling was great as expected from Pablo, but I think the element that stood out most for me was the red bean and cream topping. I have never had the combination red bean and cheesecake before, so to me this was extra special, and in terms of taste, I thought they worked really well together. Delicious!
So there you have it, my one-man cheesecake party! If you ever come to Japan, or Osaka, be sure to take some time to come try these Pablo Cheesecakes. And if you can, dine in at one of the eat-in cafes, it is definitely worth the experience! The one I went to was:
PABLO Dotonbori Shop
Address: 〒542−0085 Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Shinsaibashi-suji 2-3-15
Opening hours: 11:00 - 22:00 (Food L.O. 21:00, drink L.O. 21:30)
(This shop is near the bridge where the Glico man is)
Happy New Year 2015 everyone! What a sweet way to start off the year~hehe