Matcha (or maccha), the fine powder green tea has found its way to Singapore as the next possible food fad. Look at the number of Matcha related restaurants and cafes opening up – Tsujiri, Nana’s Green Tea, Maccha House. We love them in almost all kinds of food, from ice cream, cakes, soft serves, mochi balls, pancakes, soba noodles to frappuccinos.
From the Japanese ancient times, matcha has been known to have soothing effect with health benefits (according to Wikipedia) aplenty. It is anti-aging, anti-cancerous, reduces cholesterol levels, rich in Vitamin A, C, E and Beta carotene, rich in Catechin which helps to burn calories, and said to contain more antioxidants than blueberries, wolfberries, pomegranates, orange juice and spinach. While its taste may initially get some getting used to, there is no turning back when you fall in love with its beautiful flavour.
Here are some of the new and best Japanese dessert places where you can find them. For fairness, I had their matcha latte (if it’s available) and signature desserts in each. Not sure about the calories, but I certainly have new found adoration for green tea.
Tsujiri Tea House (100AM Tanjong Pagar)
Tsujiri is the clear winner of this “battle of the matcha”. This 150-year old Japanese Tea House, comes from Uji, Kyoto. When you talk about green tea, you think about Kyoto. Tsujiri Tea House has finally opened its first outlet at 100AM Tanjong Pagar offering a selection of green-tea based desserts and beverages.
Its O-maccha Milk Ice Blended ($5.50) is the most ‘matcha’ of many drinks I had – you can really taste the ‘green-teaness’ and fine distinct quality of the powder in its subtlely. Its Tsujiri Parfait ($7.50) may be a tad pricey for its size and quick to melt (plus what’s with the cherry), it is definitely one delightful dessert you do not mind having again and again if you are a matcha fan.
100 Tras Street, #01-14 Singapore 079027 (Tanjong Pagar MRT), Tel: +65 6543 6110, Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Dolce Tokyo (313 Somerset)
Dolce Tokyo does not sell its matcha items aggressively. While its Matcha Latte ($7.50) is also pricey and more milky than matcha, I really like its balanced sweetness and texture which is very smoothing for the throat.
The champion here is really the homemade Matcha Cake with Goma ($11.50) which comes served in a Japanese-style bird cage. I hear they make them in small quantities daily. We may have seen many green tea azuki cakes versions around, but green tea black sesame is my first. The sponge layers are fluffy and goma cream luxuriously enjoyable. The best part? The crunchy green tea crumble on its top layer.
313 Somerset, 313 Orchard Road #03-23 Singapore 238895 (Somerset MRT). Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Sun-Thurs), 11:30am – 11:00pm (Fri-Sat, Eve PH)
Nana’s Green Tea Café (Plaza Singapura)
Nana’s Green Tea was once voted as the No. 1 Japanese cafe for matcha lovers, and had been known as Japanese’s version to Starbucks. After all, the founder first opened Nana’s Green Tea in Jiyugaoka because he was afraid the Japanese would be too attracted to drinking Starbucks coffee, forgetting their roots.
While the mains at Nana’s Green Tea are slightly lackluster, its desserts such as its Matcha Anmitsu ($8.80) and parfaits are definitely its strength. It may not blow you away but makes a decent afternoon tea-time treat, with its azuki red bean paste smooth and satisfying. (Read: Nana’s Green Tea Café)
The Atrium @ Orchard, Plaza Singapura 68 Orchard Road #03-80/82 Singapore 238839 (Dhoby Ghaut MRT) Tel: +65 6684 4312, Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Hoshino Coffee (Plaza Singapura)
Hoshino Coffee is already quite popular in Japan, specialising in hand-dripped coffee and fluffy soufflé pancakes. Its signature Pancake Souffle Style with Matcha and Ogura Bean Paste ($13.50) will take long to serve as they are freshly made on the spot, and accordingly their oven can only produce 6 at a single time.
I thought it was the usual ‘Japanese desserts in Singapore’ standard – soft and not too sweet, but may not be worth the wait for some. I do know there are some die-hard fans of its best-selling Matcha Souffle ($9.80) and are willing to queue just to have it. (Read: Hoshino Coffee)
68 Orchard Road #03-84 Plaza Singapura (Dhoby Gaut MRT), Tel:+65 6338 3277, Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm Daily
Saint Marc Café (Vivocity)
Everybody comes to Saint Marc Café for its Choco Cro, which in short means chocolate croissant more than its matcha items. Saint Marc Café’s dessert offerings were a mixture of hits and misses. Saint Marc’s Matcha Latte ($5.00) is the least pricey of the lot but also the most diluted.
The Gion ($8.20) soft serve melted before I could even bring it to the table for its photographic opportunities . If you look beyond that, the whole mixture of ingredients is quite a pleasure, especially relishing the matcha jellies with ice cream, which has a texture firm yet smooth. (Read: Saint Marc Café)
1 Harbourfront Ave, Vivo City 1F #108-110, Singapore 098585 (Harbourfront MRT), Opening hours: 10 am – 10pm
Maccha House (Orchard Central)
I thought I should give the Maccha House a quick mention too. Located at the basement of Orchard Central, this has a canteen-style ordering system and occupies quite a huge space. The Maccha Latte ($4.49) is an okay thirst-quencher, while Maccha Azuki Bean Dorayaki ($7.49) quite hapzardly-prepared.
Generally, I think the matcha items are still passable. But have more problems with the service – shouting orders across in Mandarin within a huge Japanese restaurant just doesn’t seem right. I am willing to give this a second chance though.
#B1-40, Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896 (Somerset MRT), Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
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