A dessert degustation menu surely isn’t a novel thing albeit still pretty uncommon. But to use seasonal ingredients from Japan, and paired with Sake? Well, why the hell not. This time we found ourselves at Tirpse, which is a modern French restaurant in Tokyo. Guided by the brilliance of pastry chef, Kiriko Nakamura, whom had crafted a seasonal six course dessert menu with either Sake or Tea pairing. We had opted for Sake of course, and nothing wrong in getting reasonably inebriated during our holiday.
We started off with a warm Apple juice and yuzu oil. With winter still lingering in Japan, the drink was warm and comforting, redolent of apple cider. It was nicely balanced with the Yuzu oil, which added a nice acidity to the dish.
Next, we had a strawberry dessert with white chocolate sponge cake and basil sorbet. The strawberries were of the season and brilliant, whilst it was paired with the most luscious white chocolate cake that I ever had, which was not cloyingly sweet. The Basil sorbet added a herbaceous touch to the dish, and was a classic combination with strawberries.
Next, the chef had crafted her rendition of Rum Baba, made with Benedictine, ice of Japanese citruses, and banana cream. This was a well balanced dish with pleasant and not overpowering rum flavour, which was paired well with the acidity from the citrus ice and creaminess from the banana cream.
The subsequent course was a deconstructed carrot cake dessert with carrot cake served with carrot puree, cream cheese, and cumin. The carrot puree had a lovely, unadulterated carrot flavour whilst the cumin added a spicy twist to the dish. Again, a well balanced dish with every component evident without overpowering each other.
Finally, the “main course” was a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, shards of black olive, and black bean ice cream. The chocolate cake itself was crunchy, whilst the half baked chocolate mousse added a nice richness to the dish without being overwhelming. The flavour of black olives also contributed a subtle savouriness to the dish. Overall, a very successful chocolate dessert which wasn’t coma inducing.
Now, for the best part! The final dessert course was a crepe with crushed, frozen butter and smatterings of powdered sugar. A seemingly simple dish but with hints of brilliance, with the frozen butter chunks added on top of a warm crepe. The contrast of temperatures between the two components, with the warm luscious crepe juxtaposed against the cold, creamy butter which gradually melted away. It was delicious, but the simplicity of it blew me away. I thought it was the perfect, unadulterated crepe.
Overall, a brilliant “lunch”. The dishes were well balanced and not overtly sweet, whilst the course progression felt organic like a typical degustation menu. The Sake pairing was also very successful, and I had a pretty good lesson on the different variations of Sake across Japan, which ranged from bright, fresh flavours to the standard Sakes that one might expect. This was certainly a gastronomic experience that both dessert lovers and non-believers could and possibly should enjoy.
Location: Tirpse restaurant, Shirokanedai 5-4-7. +813-5791-3103. Website