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 2017, Uncle 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.