Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shimokita Chaen しもきた茶苑大山 : Crazy Queue Timings for Kakigori

Shimokitazawa is often known as the town that is thronged with independent arts, fashion retailers, music cafes. But when I think of Shimokitazawa, the first thing that comes to my mind is the famous Kakigori from Shimokita Chaen. 

I finally made my way down to the tiny tea shop that opens only certain days of the month (from 2pm-6pm). Even if you check the calendar posted on their website, it is best to follow them on Twitter as they may randomly post a message that they are close for an event, even if it's only 2 hours before they should open. 

My queue timing did not shorten even when I reached the shop 30 minutes in advance before it opened to pick up a queue number. I was the 12th in line but I only entered the shop at 1.5 hours after it officially starts 2pm. The problem? Limited space and inflexible arrangements. You see a four-seater table being occupied by only 1 or even 2 customers. They won't allow another customer in to share the table. 

On the menu is a list of kakigori that revolve around the typical flavors like matcha, Houjicha, kuromitsu, milk and red bean. Depending on the time of your visit, there can also be seasonal flavor such as Hyuuganatsu. Since I've came all the way and queued for so long, I decided to have the signature Matcha Espuma Kakigori (微糖抹茶) which costs a whopping ¥1150. The portion is huge but manageable since it's all water. 
The kakigori looked as if it had been draped in a dark green cloud of cream but interestingly, the texture did not look as rich and creamy. On the contrary, it's so light and airy to the extent that it literally melted into the ice before you even deliver a spoonful into your mouth. Not overly sweet but I think it should have included azuki beans. Azuki beans, chestnuts are charged as extra even though it comes with a choice of syrup (I had the milk but I think black sugar syrup will work better) 
I saw a couple who order plain kakigori and at least three toppings. That could be a better way of enjoying the kakigori. With the numerous trophies on display inside the cafe and at its retail shop on 1F, one can be sure that this could be one of tea champions in Tokyo or even Kanto area. 

As for ice champion, I think it lies elsewhere.

Shimokita Chaen Ooyama しもきた茶苑大山 
Japan, 〒155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa, 2 Chome−30−2 丸和センタービル
http://shimokita-chaen.com/

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