[Tokyo] I share a similar liking with Doraemon, that we both enjoy Dorayaki – the small pancake made from castella, wrapped around fillings of sweet azuki red bean paste.
Yes, it is actually all about red bean paste, also known as “anko” in Japanese.
Imagine my delight when I found a red-bean paste dedicated café in the heart of Shinjuku, located on the 2nd floor of NeWOMAN complex.
Toraya Cafe An Stand is operated by Toraya, best known for its “wagashi” (Japanese confectionary) with history dating back to the late sixteenth century in the Muromachi Period.
The business first started in Kyoto, and now has branched out to shops and cafes serving a range of sweet products and fresh confectionary.
The outlet at Shinjuku is a small but beautiful and primary-white space, with a tiger-mosaic taking centre stage – created by graphic designer Masayoshi Nakajo.
There is limited seating area though, but if you come during off-peak hours, you can enjoy some peace and quietness.
The Shinjuku shop’s menu features anko red bean paste in various forms, but the specialities are the four products of An Coupé (¥432, SGD5.26), An Toast (¥486, SGD5.92), An Sandwich (¥864, SGD10.50) and An Matcha Bolo (¥270, SGD3.30).
The An Coupé (¥432) looking like a “hotdog bun”, contained puréed azuki bean and cream cheese sandwiched inside a coupé bread.
Needless to say, the paste was delicately smooth and not too sweet, and would send an azuki-fan to a high.
The bread though looking simple, was soft and fluffy.
In terms of proportion, they got it just right so that you could not feel heavy or cloying sweet even if you finished the entire bun.
Another must have is the An Toast (¥486) with two types of treatment – whole azuki bean and pureed azuki beans and butter spread on top of toast.
Instead of pure smootch jam, you get a mixture of textures on lightly toasted bread. Lovely.
The An Matcha Bolo (¥270) looking like an ordinary cookie, turned up to be a pleasant surprise.
But as you break the chewy texture into two, you would find azuki bean paste contained within.
Did I not mention there is Azuki Bean Tea served? That completes the entire picture.
Toraya Café – An Stand Shinjuku Shop
Japan, 〒151-0051 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Sendagaya, 5 Chome−24−５５ NEWoMan新宿 ２階
Tel: +81 3 6273 1073
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 9:30pm (Sat – Sun)
Toraya Akasaka Flagship Store
4-9-22 Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo (Exit A of Akasaka-mitsuke Station Tokyo Metro)
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)