Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake and Angel Garden, Sydney

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake opened their sig­na­ture red and white open kit­chen on George Street with much fan­fare in late 2016. Originally opened in Oyafukou Street in Hakata, Japan in 1990, their cheese­cakes have taken the world by storm.

A few months later in early 2017Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Garden opened up down­stairs from the main store. It provides a quint­es­sen­tially Japanese style cafe exper­i­ence, com­plete with maids as wait staff (among the com­ple­ment­ary ‘maid ser­vices’ at each table are cof­fees dus­ted with cocoa in the shape of a heart and chocol­ates dec­or­ated with a pic­ture drawn in chocol­ate sauce) and JPOP dance per­form­ances on the week­end.

Not really one for cheese­cakes, it wasn’t until a col­league brought one to work that I tried their sig­na­ture cheese­cake. Eaten warm, I was pleas­antly sur­prised that the cream cheese fla­vour was strong in the first bite but receded by the third, leav­ing an enjoy­ably fluffy (or fuwa fuwa), light and moist sponge.

A few months later, T tried a cold slice of the Original Cheesecake ($6.00, above) at the Angel Garden. Eaten cold, the cheese fla­vour is dra­mat­ic­ally mel­lowed and inof­fens­ive even to N’s cheese averse pal­ate.

Whereas their ori­gin­al cheese­cake was mel­low in fla­vour when eaten cold, their Matcha Cheesecake ($7.00) has sur­pris­ingly little matcha fla­vour des­pite its vibrant green col­our and a dom­in­at­ing cream cheese fla­vour that comes through many times stronger than in the ori­gin­al. I’ve not had it warm to know if heat enhances the matcha fla­vour.

Moving on from their cheese­cakes, this is their Matcha Cheesetart ($4.50) with a fra­grant matcha aroma.

The chee­setart has a crispy thin pastry with a runny matcha cream cheese filling that tastes much like a matcha cus­tard with an intens­ity of fla­vour that puts the matcha cheese­cake to shame. The rich matcha filling is smooth and creamy with a bal­anced sweet­ness and near undetect­able cream cheese fla­vour, mak­ing it immensely enjoy­able.

T returns for the Original Cheesetart ($4.50) with an intensely rich cream and smooth cheese fla­vour — as rich and strong as the matcha fla­vour in the matcha chee­setart — that lingers long on the pal­ate. If, like me, you’re not a fan of unfla­voured dairy — the taste makes me gag — I’d sug­gest steer­ing clear of this one. I had one bite and I could not have fin­ished one by myself.

The Angel Garden offers a few made-to-order items on their menu that are devoid of cheese, so when N found out that madeleines were offered only in the main store, she goes for a Lemon Crepe ($6.00). The crepe is decent — I’m not a fan of crepes — with sug­ar crys­tals dust­ing the sur­face to add crunch and a lem­on slice to bring acid­ity to cut through the sweet­ness.

And finally, their madeleines! These were the first items I tried on their menu. The madeleines come in four fla­vours: honey, chocol­ate, lem­on and matcha. These madeleines are best warmed up to enjoy their melt in your mouth tex­ture when just-out-of-the-oven but taste just fine at room tem­per­at­ure.

This is the Matcha Madeleine ($3.50) with a red bean jam centre.

The madeleine is a beau­ti­ful, vibrant green, fra­grant with the smell of matcha. Underneath the crispy crust, the taste of matcha is more mel­low than in the smell, with a but­tery crumb tex­ture that’s light and melt-in-your-mouth. The red bean centre brings a sweet­ness and nut­ti­ness to the the enjoy­able madeleine.

This is the Lemon Madeleine ($3.50) with lem­on icing and can­died lem­on peel.

This sur­prised me with its fresh and light zesty fla­vour both in the melt-in-your-mouth madeleine, but also with the lem­on icing that’s refresh­ing and zesty and adds just enough sweet­ness along with the can­died rind to keep the lem­on fla­vour shin­ing through, even as its mel­lows out in the madeleine itself, and have you return­ing for anoth­er bite.

A few months later, the lem­on madeleine was replaced with a Lemon Earl Grey Madeleine ($3.50) with the same lem­on icing and can­died lem­on peel.

The addi­tion of crushed Earl Grey tea leaves, which you can see through­out, gave this madeleine a much heav­ier and dens­er mouth­feel that lacked the light and bright qual­it­ies of the Lemon Madeleine. There’s not much of a notice­able Earl Grey or lem­on fla­vour either, which makes the addi­tion of the lem­on icing and can­died lem­on peel a bit unex­pec­ted.

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is at 501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000.