Last week, I became invited to check out downtown Berkeley’s new Japanese-style dessert eating place, Amausaan Uji Matcha. Had I any doubt I was in the proper vicinity, I wished to observe the white rabbit inside. The kimono-garbed anime-fashion hare statue, this is, which stands simply in the door, retaining forth an ample bowl filled with a vibrant inexperienced swirl of smooth matcha serve.
The decor at Amausaan is uber kawaii, with a red torii front and a front dining room included in garlands of brilliant crimson fake cherry blossoms. Your common seven-12 months-old will suppose they died and went to Sanrio heaven. But I’m now not going to pretend that I wasn’t charged with the aid of its saccharine kitsch, too; you can’t help but experience a bit giddy internal, as you ought to in any desert region.
Co-owner Wilson Chan confirmed me around the distance, which became once a Body Time retail save. Continuing with the shrine topic, just beyond the Shinto-esque gates and to the proper of the ordering counter is a wall of ema, small wooden plaques, wherein guests who spend more than $30 on a visit are invited put in writing their wishes. And to the right of that, there’s an unfastened diversion — a darkish wooden chest that holds fortunes.
Although the decor and cakes suggest Japanese origins, Amausaan Uji Matcha is a Chinese international franchise chain. Chan stated one of the agency’s co-founders is from Uji, Japan. However, he pitched his idea to Chinese buyers who added the view to life. After the first place opened in China, others observed in Indonesia and Toronto. Last month, Amakusa Uji Matcha made its stateside debut, beginning an outpost in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond. The Clement Street store, even though, is only a take-out window and gives fewer menu gadgets.
I sat down at a table, in which Chan helped me choose objects to attempt. The menu, providing more than 70 items, has plenty of photos, which is a superb component because this is the form of the location where the appearance of what you’re eating and the flavor encompasses the revel in and amusing. Chan pointed out the most famous objects in each phase. Not somewhat, they were mostly matcha-flavored cakes — which other than a handful of items — you quite an awful lot can’t avoid right here. Uji is a city directly south of Kyoto, famous for its premium matcha. Amakusa uses notable matcha powder, Chan said, showing me conventional Japanese bamboo matcha whisk the eating place uses for making liquids with the potent green tea. You can’t get the equal consequences, he said, the use of a gadget.
After taking my order, Chan disappeared into the kitchen, and I joined Lola Lo of Amausaan Uji Matcha’s advertising crew. She regarded a touch disappointed to hear I had eaten lunch, possibly because I became about to consume a diffusion of cakes that might total about per week’s worth of energy. I became resigned to that; I’m an expert glutton, in any case.
First to arrive at the desk changed into the Ishita Shiratama Matcha Story ($eight. Ninety), a bowl of smooth matcha serve, crowned with candies like sweet azuki beans, egg pudding, mochi balls, and two crunchy additions — puffed rice and black ice cream cone bits. Most elements are made at Amakusa’s commissary kitchen in Hayward, including the soft serves, mochi, and other toppings. One of the few things which might be sourced are the ice cream cones, which are colored black, sold from the identical vendor that offers Disneyland their cones, Lo said. Although black as coal, they’re flavored with chocolate, now not contemporary charcoal, as I had first of all idea.
Before I ought to even gulp down one chewy Dango ball, two drinks arrived at my table. The Hakodate Starry Sky Lemon Drink ($4.60) is part of Amakusa’s “Rainbow” category. One of the few sections of the menu that don’t feature match is a substitute offering typically refreshing soda drinks in a colorful multi-colored ombre presentation. I stirred the beverage until the pinnacle pink half mixed with the opaque lemon segment, forming a brilliant Fuschia. It becomes lemony, sweet, and barely effervescent, however in the end, only a pretty lemonade.