Singapore’s love for matcha and Japanese cafes is still going on strong.
The opening of 108 Matcha Saro would likely attract some attention.
This is its first outlet in South-East Asia, located at the revamped basement level of Suntec City (the escalator leading to the money changer).
108 Matcha Saro first started in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan in 2014.
Today, they have 4 outlets dispersed across Japan, namely in Hokkaido, Tokyo and Yokohama and another 4 outlets in Taipei, Taiwan.
Even though the Singapore outlet is mainly a takeaway store, it is still designed with a traditional Japanese teahouse concept.
The local 108 Matcha Saro consists of 4 different live stations whereby passer-by can witness the live making of Warabi-mochi, Obanyaki, whisking of Matcha and assembling of Parfaits and Soft Serves.
My first experience with 108 Matcha Saro was in Taipei, where the staff was preparing their best-seller obanyaki on the spot similar to the outlet in Singapore.
Obanyaki is a Japanese snack traditionally filled with Azuki bean paste and made using a special pan.
This may remind you of our local pancakes (like those you find at Mr Bean’s) – much different pricing of course. Local = cheaper; Japanese = expensive.
Available in 6 different flavours at the Singapore’s outlet, my favourites are the Matcha Custard with Original Dough ($2.90) and Red Bean Paste with Warabi Mochi & Matcha Dough ($3.50).
The matcha from Uji, Kyoto is most distinctive in the Matcha Custard with Original Dough ($2.90) with oozing matcha in the centre and a distinctive slight bitterness aftertaste.
The Red Bean Paste which is sourced from Taiwan’s Pingtung, includes Warabi Mochi & Matcha Dough ($3.50).
It came as a surprise with a layer of soft, sticky and gooey warabi mochi that added chewiness to the combination.
Other flavours include Red Bean Paste with Matcha/ Original Dough ($2.90), custard with Original Dough ($2.90) and a limited edition Singapore-exclusive Double-Choc with Matcha dough Obanyaki ($3.50) made with 66% Valrhona chocolate and chocolate custard.
Personally, I felt that the matcha dough in the Obanyaki tends to be denser and drier when left to cool down after a while, so it is best to eat them when they are freshly out.
Another bestseller is their Warabi Mochi freshly handmade daily and are available in 3 different combination: Matcha, Soybean and mix of matcha and soybean and 2 different sizes: Box (24 pieces for $12.90) and Cup (8 pieces for $4.90).
Probably one of the best warabi mochi available in Singapore, with a light, soft and slightly chewy texture, lightly flavoured with generous amount of matcha or soybean powder.
Instead of glutinous rice used in mochi, warabi starch is used in warabi mochi to yield a jelly-like and melt-in-the-mouth sensation.
(Note: The Warabi Mochi on display are not for sampling as I saw a passer-by reaching out using bare hands for a piece of Warabi Mochi in the cup and simply walked off after ‘sampling’.)
The majority of their menu (24 items to be exact) consisted of Soft Serve (Cone $4.90), Parfait ($6.90 – $8.50) and Drinks ($6.90).
The Parfait Deluxe ($8.50) comes in either Matcha or Hojicha Soft Serve and 5 different toppings: white mochi, red beans, matcha jelly, brown sugar jelly and soybean warabi mochi.
My favourite items in the parfait are the toppings, freshly made with a soft and chewiness texture.
As for the soft serve in the parfait, even though the texture is smooth, the sweetness can be a little overwhelming.
Other parfaits include the Matcha/ Hojicha Mini Parfait ($6.90), Matcha Jelly Parfait ($7.90) and Matcha/ Soybean Warabi Mochi Parfait ($7.90).
The Iced Matcha Green Tea ($4.90) suffered from the same fate with sweetness, and sadly, there are no options to reduce the sugar level.
The matcha is hand-whisked using a bamboo whisk upon order for Iced and Hot Matcha Latte ($4.90) with an option of either milk or soy milk for the lactose-intolerant.
Other options include Jelly Matcha/ Hojicha Latte ($5.90), Matcha Almond Milk Tofu ($5.90/ Float $6.90) and Matcha Smoothie ($5.90/ Float $6.90).
The Warabi mochi and Obanyaki are definitely the highlights at 108 Matcha Saro which differentiate themselves from other matcha places in Singapore.
108 Matcha Saro
Suntec City Mall #B1-K5, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. This is based on a media tasting, DFD will return to try after the shop opens to public.