Thursday, December 07, 2017

Saryo Itoen, Haneda Airport, Tokyo

My last stop on my way out of Tokyo was Haneda airport.  Literally, the last stop.

Still not entirely satisfied, and wanting "just one more sweet treat", I was drawn in by a soft serve shop, Saryo Itoen, in the airport.

My order was not a success, and I left more sad than I started.  That said, I think I ordered poorly, and should have gone elsewhere, as there were many other shops (I counted at least 5) that sold soft serve (soft cream), which is really what I wanted.

Uh, next time?

Setting

The shop is located in the edo market area inside Haneda, outside security, upstairs from the departures level.  This area is all different shops, mostly restaurants, all which have distinct look and feel, and are certainly not a standard food court.

There are tempura shops, sushi bars, and more, but I zeroed in on the sweets (of which I had many choices).
Interior-Exterior.
  Saryo Itoen really did look like a standalone building ... inside.
"Patio" Seating.
The seating area was designed to look like patio seating, on low benches, under red umbrellas.  It really did not feel like an airport.
Ordering Window.
The ordering window did actually look like a food court though, just a window with light up menu and register.

Menu

Fake Food "Menu".
Near the entrance was a display, per Japanese style. with fake plastic displays of the standard items, plus signs with all the seasonal items.

There were many tempting parfaits, with red bean and mochi as common toppings, with or without soft serve.
Full Menu.
My original intention was to get soft serve, likely as a parfait, but ...  soft serve was only available in green tea or roasted brown tea, both caffeinated (as it is a tea shop, after all).

I saw that they also offered the famous Cremia soft serve, but only the plain flavor I had at Silkream already (which I did enjoy), which was great, except, it was available in a cone only, no toppings.
Seasonal Fall Special.
So I moved on to the seasonal special, featuring chestnuts, as was very common throughout Tokyo in the fall.  I loved some of my previous chestnut desserts (like the Mont Blanc soft serve parfait from Mother Farm Milk Bar) and hated others (like the Mont Blanc soft serve from Ministop), so I knew this was a gamble, but, I still took it (after confirming with the server that it did indeed include ice cream, as it was a bit hard to tell from the picture).

Food

My order was prepared quickly.
Plated up.
It was handed over on a tray, with spoon and wet cloth for each of us (as there was someone else with me, and it was clear we were sharing).  The dessert bowl and spoons were disposable, the tray was not.
Jelly Dessert w/ Chestnut. ¥870.
Well, this certainly wasn't what I wanted it to be, although, it looked decent enough.

For starters, uh, no soft serve ice cream.  At first, I wasn't even sure there *was* ice cream.  But there was, a scoop of hard serve, very hard serve (top right).

But stepping back first.

The base was clear jellies, plain, boring, flavorless besides sweet.  With the jellies was red beans, full little beans, but they didn't taste ... "fresh" if that makes any sense.  They seemed old, and clearly from a can (which I'm sure all red bean is, but still, there was something just very low quality about these).  I did not like the base.

On top of the jellies and beans was a scoop of sweetened red bean paste (better than the beans, sweetened, little bits of texture in it, but uninteresting), 3 dango balls (again, these just didn't taste like a quality item, very boring), 2 small soft mochi (one pink, one green, neither had flavor, but were soft enough), and 2 chunks of chestnut (and somehow, I didn't care for these either).  These items were all better than the base, but, none particularly good, and I didn't care for them either.

But the real problem was the sauce drizzled all over it, that was also down in the jelly / red bean mix.  It was very sweet, and there was too much of it.  It had a flavor that just tasted ... off.  I'm sure it was "chestnut", but I hated it.

The only component of this that I liked was the scoop of ice cream.  It was hard as a rock when served though, it took forever to soften enough to get a plastic spoon into it to taste it.  As it softened, it actually was quite good, nice flavor, actual bits of chestnut in it.  Good ice cream, but, alas, hard serve, and not what I wanted, and certainly not with all the other bits I didn't like.

This was really a complete ordering fail on my part.
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