While you may face considerable challenges trying to procure a big dark pumpernickel round, there is no shortage of good bakeries in Japan. (Of course, there’s also no shortage of mediocre ones.) With a market more saturated than the fat in a stick of Hokkaido butter, it can help to differentiate yourself — even when that market has 40 million people passing through it each day. Location and luck also help.
There are people who may walk by your shop almost every day. They even look in your display window from time to time. Then one evening, while you’re baking six chocolate cakes, the intoxicating aroma wafts through the nostrils and captures those passersby — or at least a couple of them.
True story. I’ve walked by Sugar Rose for years. I like cake but I don’t generally seek it out, or pick it up on the way home. On Sunday night I was walking down Pearl Shotengai and the smell of chocolate filled the air. I stopped and looked around. Nothing. There were no bakeries on the shotengai.
So I followed my nose. It led me through the narrow walkway that connects the shopping street to Nakasugi Dori, the main north-south artery running through Asagaya. And right there on the unapparent corner was Sugar Rose (シュガーローゼ), the source of the scent, a shop I’d walked passed innumerable times but never patronised. But that was about to change.
With a chocolate cake smelling good enough to draw me through an alley and around a corner I owed to the baker — and myself — to try it. Fortunately, they also had slice of baked cheesecake on sale. Cheesecake in Japan is usually of the no-bake variety, which they call “rare cheesecake” here, and is more like a mousse and usually quite small. Not at Sugar Rose. This is a dense, rich piece of real baked cheesecake.
And the chocolate cake that captured my nose? Needless to say, it was also very, very good — if you like thick and rich chocolate cake.
Sugar Rose is takeout only, as they closed the cafe component of it last year. It’s also more expensive than most neighbouring desserts. But it’s worth it. They’re also open daily until 4 am. Except Sundays. They close early on Sunday — at midnight.
1-35-19 Asagaya Minami
Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 166-0004
Tel: (03) 3315-4546
Mon-Sat: 10:00 to 26:00
Sunday: 10:00 to 24:00
Website: none found
Twitter: none found