Served in a traditional wooden box, this unusual green tea creation is one of the most sought-after sweets in Tokyo.
Matcha is enjoying a boom in popularity around the world at the moment, and when it comes to sweets containing the earthy green ingredient, Japan has been leading the way with all sorts of creative offerings, like Häagen-Dazs’ green tea fondue sandwich and even a matcha-flavoured potted bonsai dessert.
Despite being home to a bevy of delicious green tea treats, there’s one special dessert in Tokyo that’s been drawing long lines of diners to its door for months. Called the Sabou Parfait, which literally translates to “Tea Monk Parfait“, the boxed sweet is served up in a traditional wooden container and styled like a Japanese zen garden, and it can be found at the Salon Ginza Sabou in Ginza.
The small dining area is set inside Adam et Ropé, a well-known chainstore that sells all sorts of elegant-looking homewares alongside sleek yet casual clothing. With its clean lines and wooden tables, the brand focuses on natural living, which is reflected not only in its product range and decor but also in the food options that appear on their menu.
▼ We’re here to try the Sabou Parfait, pictured on the left below.
We put in an order for the parfait and found that when it was delivered, it had a beautiful red strawberry on the side instead of the Cape gooseberry pictured on the menu. With their focus on providing the best quality ingredients for diners, the parfait is served up with different fruit embellishments, depending on what’s in season.
With the beautifully presented parfait sitting before us on the table, we couldn’t tear our eyes away from its clean lines and zen-like simplicity.
The matcha-coated surface of the sweet was mesmerising; it was just like gazing at a Japanese zen rock garden – or karesansui “dry landscape” garden, as it’s known in Japan – and we immediately felt a sense of calmness descend upon us as we enjoyed the miniature scene.
After our moment of serenity, we came to the realisation that existence is fleeting and everything is ever-changing as we would have to break our way into the surface of the stylized landscape in order to start eating the dessert.
▼ Watch the moment of no return below:
It was heartbreaking to have to destroy the delicate beauty of the matcha-and-white-chocolate surface, but once the matcha dust had settled, we found that there was joy and beauty beneath the surface too.
Digging into the box turned out to be a treat in itself, as every spoonful turned up some delicious surprises.
First we came across a light yet rich-flavoured matcha ice cream and mascarpone cream. This was beautifully sweet, and worked wonderfully with the lingering earthy bitterness from the green tea.
▼ Crispy rice puffs added a nice textural component to the creamy dessert.
Further excavation revealed bite-sized servings of matcha-flavoured warabi mochi, which gave us a refreshing hit of jelly-like green tea.
The sweetness was further counterbalanced with the savoury notes of chestnut pieces and red beans.
Not only was this a fun treat to feast our eyes on, it was a celebration for our tastebuds as well, with a variety of different textures and ingredients playing off each other beautifully.
If you’re a fan of matcha sweets, you’ll definitely want to experience this dessert. Priced at 1,100 yen (US$9.94), it’s a small price to pay to taste your very own edible zen garden!
Salon Ginza Sabou / サロン ギンザ サボウ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-2-1, Tokyu Plaza Ginza B2F
東京都中央区銀座 5−2−1東急プラザ銀座 B2F
Open: 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. (last order at 9:00 p.m.)
Photos © SoraNews24