It’s little places like this which reminds me why Tokyo’s one of the greatest cities in the world.
I’m quite a sucker for anything Japanese, so when Darren suggested having dinner at Hoshino Coffee before our screening of Les Miserables at The Cathay, I unanimously agreed. Hoshino Coffee is a relatively new player in Japan’s competitive “drip coffee” cafe scene, having being established in 2011 with its first store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku station East exit. It is the sister and offshoot of the huge Japanese coffee chain, Doutor Coffee (which to my wildest surprise, has recently opened its first outlet in Singapore at Marina Bay Financial Centre), and is itself owned by Nippon Restaurant System, a company which owns 16 restaurant brands including Yomenya Goemon, which is better known as Hiroshi Goemon in Japan. Hoshino Coffee represents in many ways, a synergy of sorts by Nippon Restaurant System – its menu is inspired by the signatures of the group’s restaurants. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Singapore is the chain’s first foray outside of Japan.
Our first course of the day is the Fuwa-fuwa Hoshino Souffle, which is directly taken from the group’s restaurant, Fluffy Egg located in Shibuya – located along Shibuya Koen-dori to be precise. It’s basically a baked cheese rice dish topped with an egg souffle which is not only physically fluffy and light, but on the stomach as well. Despite its hefty portion, there was never a moment where finishing it was an arduous task. I have to say though, that while it’s certainly enjoyable, I’d have liked to have had stronger flavors, particularly from the cheese, but that’s my personal opinion.
The next one samples the group’s Japanese spaghetti restaurants, Yomenya Goemon (Hiroshi Goemon) and Red Dragonfly. I can scarcely remember the name of the pasta, but it reminds me why I love Yomenya Goemon and Japanese spaghetti in general so much. It’s so simple yet it combines the best of Italian cooking with Japanese cuisine – the noodles are cooked perfectly al dente, and while the ingredients of bacon, eggplant and tomatoes are quintessentially Italian, there’s a certain quality that rounds it up as something completely Asian. It was definitely one of my favorites.
Unsurprisingly, our dessert too, isn’t uniquely Hoshino Coffee. Initially a limited edition feature item from the group’s decidedly feminine-themed Mee’s Pancake (whose store is at Eight Shibuya Avenue store in Shibuya), the souffle pancakes have since become standard at Hoshino Coffee stores thanks to its more contemporary and therefore more accessible decor. With a choice of three sweet syrups, including maple syrup, this Double Souffle Pancake is easily the best pancake in Singapore right now in my opinion. Despite its thickness, the pancake was fluffy, inside with a silken texture and most importantly, actually cooked unlike a certain local pancake chain located at Selegie Road.