Dominique Ansel Bakery in Omotesando is certainly the trendiest bakery I’ve ever been to. Credited with creating the beloved “Cronut”, a cross between a croissant and a donut, which became all the rage last year (if you’ve never tried this is then I suggest you go out and get yourself one now- shame on you!), Dominique Ansel is top of the who’s hot list in the food world right now.
Dom’s shop is a delight to behold. Marketed as a “new generation bakery”, here are none of your traditional sweet buns, cookies and cakes, instead Dom’s bakery is a veritable feast for the eyes: cronuts; all flavour of macaroons (chocolate, raspberry balsamic, lemon poppy seed, etc.); seasonal specialities; and the cakes! Such delights I never did see, to buy one to eat? No, no, sir, surely we only buy one to look at it and muse over its scrumptious perfection.
In addition to cronuts another particular favourite of patrons are the frozen s’mores, (a torched, giant frozen marshmallow with chocolate wafer and custard ice cream centre), but we were here for another of Dom’s best sellers: The cookie shot.
When I initially heard about cookie shots my first thought was: Whatever that is, it sounds amazing! Followed quickly by: I must have one now! The close friend who introduced me to them saw the shop featured on Japanese TV and insisted we sampled them. Who am I to argue with such good logic?
The chocolate chip cookie shots are small shot glasses made out of- you guessed it- cookie dough. The inside of these glasses are lined with chocolate to prevent the Tahitian vanilla milk from seeping through. The vanilla milk is then poured into the cup. Down the milk, and then eat the cup. Bloody marvellous!
These really were phenomenal. So rich, so chocolaty, so good. The great thing about these cookie shots is that you can buy them as a 2 piece box set to take home with you for round 2, or if you’re feeling generous, as a souvenir. The only reason I didn’t take multiple packs home with me is because it was over 30°C that day, and I didn’t want to risk it. But one day…
A sign on the door states that cookies shots are available after 3pm. It gets very busy after this time so expect to wait in line. The queue up to the counter was a trial indeed. What to do when everything looks so good, and you want to try it all? The frog cakes, the flower shaped treats, the macaroons!
In the end, my friend also purchased a Mr. Roboto; a melon bread with a black sugar hojicha cream centre. (Hojicha is roasted green tea). This sweet bread is only served in the Japan store, alongside the monaka cookies, and a cake called Pairs Tokyo which is a Japanese take on the French dessert Paris Brest. Dom’s other store in New York similarly has its own special edition desserts, which can only be purchased on site.
As for me, having a soft spot for the old favourites, (and being overwhelmed by so much choice) I bought a chocolate éclair with chocolate cream centre- the sweet little ladybird won me over!
After finishing our cookie shots we realised that ordering our additional desserts had been rather over-ambitious (I’d recommend you get a second cake to go- unless you have no problems with copious amounts of sugar). Somehow we found room. In Japanese, this is called the betsu bara （別腹); the separate stomach that many people discover when it comes to finding room for desserts. I personally have three betsu bara.
The éclair was of course delicious, and I also had a cheeky bite out of my friend’s Mr Roboto and can recommend that too! We rolled out of Dom’s bakery, propelled into the hot outdoors by our chocolate high. With so much on offer I can definitely say I will be returning to Dom’s bakery for a second, third, fourth sampling of his wonderful menu. Already we are planning our next visit.
Not long after…
Okay, so I went back just over a week before the last time, and happily before posting this. I just happened to be in the area, you know how it is!
This time I had me a frozen S’more. The s’more has a custard ice cream centre covered in a layer of chocolate wafers and then an outer layer of marshmallow. When you request one the staff fishes it out of the freezer, spikes it onto a long willow stick, and proceeds to fire it with a blow torch. The Dominique Ansel Bakery prides itself that the majority of its goods are baked fresh on site, and some, like the s’mores and cookie shots, are finished to order, so you get the freshest taste experience possible.
Needless to say, the s’more was good. The torched marshmallow was delightfully crispy and gooey at the same time and gave way to crunchy chocolate wafer followed by the custard ice cream. Nom nom nom.
Fast forward five minutes later, and we were tucking into our second dessert for the day, the July Cronut. As mentioned above, Dominique Ansel likes to regularly change up his menu, keeping things fresh and exciting. Each month features a new cronut, the previous month in June, being Okinawa-inspired with a passion fruit jam centre. The July cronut is all about the peaches:
I love the texture of a cronut. Satisfyingly spongy whilst flaky and light. The monthly specials are without doubt delicious, but when all is said and done the occasional indulgence is enough for me. In the mean time the traditional plain cronut with a cup of tea will do quite nicely. And maybe I’ll wait more than a week before my next visit in future (just so I don’t have to buy a new pair of jeans!).
A big appeal of the bakery is it’s seasonal menu coupled with its new dessert for each month. This is not only limited to a cronut; the July special at the time of our visit was half a grilled ear of corn topped with caramel soft cream. I didn’t get the chance to try it this time but I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on offer the next time!
If you’re tempted to try the bakery yourself you can arrange to drop in on your next visit to Harajuku or Meiji-Jingu, which are within walking distance. It opens every day from 9am to 7pm (but remember cookie shots are AFTER 3pm!). If you take the metro the nearest station is Meiji Jingu-mae, Exit A1.