There’s Something About Japanese Baked Goods – Uncle Tetsu’s and HBCT

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There seemed to be a craze for Japanese patisseries that swept through Sydney last year with the opening of Uncle Testu’s, then Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts (a.k.a. HBCT) – and with them came the massive queues.

Uncle Tetsu opened in Sydney on busy George Street in June last year. The below was taken a month after its opening, on a rainy weeknight. Coinciding with the Pokémon craze, many passers-by wondered whether people were gathered to catch a rare one.

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A glimpse into the open kitchen dulled the pain of waiting a little.

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The signature of Uncle Tetsu’s and the product that everyone lined up for was the cheesecake. Unlike a conventional cheesecake, it was light, creamy and the taste of cheese was very mild. Was it worth the hype? I’ve actually tasted better cheesecake of a similar standard, but I can see why people queue up for it.

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I returned to Uncle Tetsu’s after missing out on the madeleines the first time. They had since expanded their menu to include 4 types of madeleines, all of which you can sample by purchasing the aptly named Happy Box.

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Matcha (or green tea), Chocolate, Lemon and the original Honey flavours made for a pretty sight in the Happy Box. The madeleines had a beautifully light honey infusion, though they weren’t as buttery or soft as I’d hoped. My favourite was the matcha, with just the right amount of green tea flavour. Hidden in the cake were small dollops of red bean. The lemon was a close second, with flecks of lemon zest embedded in the cake. The chocolate was my least favourite with it being heavy and monotonously chocolate.

Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart opened at the end of last year in World Square Shopping Centre.

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The service churned out each order so efficiently that the queue moved fairly quickly. Phew! The limit was a maximum of 6 per customer.

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I was pretty impressed with the taste. A charry, oven-baked skin formed on top of the curd, which was (when warm) slightly sweet and mildly cheesy. When consumed cold, the sour notes of the cheese was brought out. The pastry was nicely browned, crumbly and buttery. Trust me, these cheese tarts are seriously addictive.

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