Never eaten beef and cake in the same bite? Neither had we, until now, but we’re glad we finally did.
When making a sandwich, creating some sort of harmony between the bread and the filling is critical. Two slices of sourdough, for example, would perfectly compliment a tuna melt, but would create unpalatable discord with peanut butter.
So we were equal parts excited and intimidated when we found out there’s a restaurant in Japan that passes on white, wheat, or rye and instead holds its sandwiches together with slices of cake!
Nenrinya is a confectioner in the Tokyo area that specializes in baumkuchen, a ring-shaped cake originally from Germany that’s become a popular fixture in the Japanese dessert scene. Exclusive to Nenrinya’s Cafe at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (located in the post-security check departure area of Terminal 2) are baumkuchen sandwiches.
To clarify, these aren’t “dessert sandwiches,” filled with cream, chocolate, or other sweet ingredients. The baumkuchen sandwiches are otherwise regular sandwiches, containing meat and seafood, that simply swap bread for cake. They’re sold in a three-variety set for 617 yen (US$5.60), which gets you beef, shrimp with avocado, and egg sandwiches.
▼ Literal beefcake
The idea of savory meats sandwiched between slices of sweet cake sounded weird even to us unabashed dessert fanatics, but we boldly took a bite, and found that the combination, unbelievably, works. Compared to other types of cake, baumkuchen is pretty dense and holds its shape, and it isn’t cloyingly sweet, especially when it’s served without glaze, as it is in Nenrinya Cafe’s sandwiches.
▼ Avocado shrimp
As a matter of fact, all three of our cake sandwiches were extremely satisfying. The only drawback is that they’re on the small side, so if you’re feeling especially hungry you might want to pair them with something else to eat, like a hamburger that uses meat instead of buns.
Cafe Nenrinya / カフェねんりん家
Address: Tokyo-to, Ota-ku, Haneda Kuko 3-4-2, Haneda Airport Terminal 2 Departure Gate 51
東京都大田区羽田空港3-4-2 羽田空港第2ターミナル 出発ゲート内 51
Open 6 a.m.-8 p.m.