Thursday, November 02, 2017

Mother Farm Milk Bar, Tokyo

One night in Tokyo, we had a disappointing evening.  The restaurant we trekked across the city to was closed.  The place we went instead wasn't good.  And they didn't offer dessert.  I tried to turn the night around by leading us to the nearest Pablo location to get some cheesecake that I had read so much about, only to arrive and find them sold out of everything.  It was one of those days.

We were a bit demoralized, and were walking to the train station, when I kinda randomly got drawn into the first floor of the Atre Akihabara shopping centre.  I'm still not really sure why I went in, but, I found a small food hall.

Several merchants handed over little samples as I walked by (my night was looking up!), and I almost bought a pastry at the patisserie, when I saw a sign for an ice cream shop.  I know that Tokyo is a bit obsessed with great soft serve, like at Silkream (which I reviewed last week), and I'd even had it from Wendy's (decent enough), and convenience stores on this trip (stay tuned!), so, it seemed worth a gamble.

Spoiler: I still can't forget this one.  I wish I had been able to go back a second time.
Side Shop.
"Milk bar" is all the sign said, but the plentiful pictures around showed me the treats that awaited.  They looked great?  Very uncommon for me, but, I went for it, knowing nothing about the place.  I didn't even take two minutes to Yelp/Tripadvisor it.  I just got in line.

It turns out that the "Milk bar" is "Mother Farm Milk Bar", and this is the little shop of a real farm located just outside Tokyo.
English Menu!
The pictures on the regular menu were basically good enough to explain all the treats, but they did have a sign saying that they offer English menus, so, I asked for one.

Ice cream offerings ranged from simple vanilla or chocolate soft serve in a cone or dish, to "Islands" (seemed to be soft serve swirled with fruit syrup like mango or blueberry?), to "Mini Parfaits" (layered with what looked like something crunchy in the middle served in a cup?), to regular parfaits (but, uh, served in giant waffle cones).  The parfait versions (regular and mini) ranged from chocolate (with chunks of brownie?), to a Japanese inspired matcha and azuki bean version with matcha sauce and I think mochi balls, to a, uh, "Caramel Cheese" one with what really did look like chunks of cheese with caramel sauce, to one with fruits, to berries and cheese, and more.  They all looked pretty interesting at least.

The drink menu had hot and cold coffee, tea, milk tea, matcha, and cocoa, floats made with the soft serve vanilla, and a bunch of yogurt drinks.

They also sold just bottles of milk, which, I did see people get.  It is a milk bar after all.
Mont Blanc Mini Parfait. ¥480.
I decided to be a bit crazy and go for the mont blanc, in the mini parfait style as I don't really like cones.   Believe me, I was quite tempted by the caramel and cheese, but, chestnut just seemed to be everywhere in Tokyo, and I finally succumbed to it.

The parfait was more glorious than I really imagined it would be.  It lived up to the photo, and then some.

The vanilla soft serve was fantastic.  Really, really good.  Very rich, very creamy, and it had a flavor unlike anything I've had in the US.  Tangy, but sweet.  Just, really quite good.

Wrapped around it, to look like a mont blanc, was ... chestnut whipped cream!  It looked like spaghetti.  It was incredibly light and fluffy, really remarkable, it was so different tasting than it actually looked.  I adored this whipped cream.

Then, a few chunks of cooked chestnut, tasty enough, soft.

Then, another thing that didn't taste at all like it looked like .... the brown things.  They looked like twigs right?  They were kinda huge sprinkles.  Sugar I think, but harder than regular sprinkles.  Fascinating.

The white chocolate sticks on the side were not really necessary, but added to the visuals.

All of this was very, very, very good.  I loved the ice cream.  I loved the whipped cream and toppings.
And then I kept digging, and reached the cocoa crispies layer.  Ok, this I did not like.  They got soggy in the parfait.  Plus, um, I don't like rice crispies.

I dug deeper, thinking that the bottom layer would be ice cream as well.  I was very, very surprised by what I found.  The white layer in the bottom was ... jelly???!!!

So, the bottom two layers were not a success.  I didn't like them, but, the top layers were soo good I didn't care.

A complete random find, a very random order from me, and a total success.
Caramel Nut Ice Cream. ¥400.
One friend went for the caramel nut ice cream (yes, he dared take a lick before I got a photo!)

The ice cream was again great, the caramel was sweet and tasty, and the nuts were standard bits of nut you get on any ice cream sundae.

All fine, but pretty boring, and his toppings ran out quickly.

The cone was a standard large waffle cone.

I gladly took his extra ice cream off his hands when he got bored with it, but this was not particularly interesting, particularly compared to the other options.
Chocolate Milk Ice Cream Parfait. ¥580.
My final companion splurged on the chocolate ice cream parfait.

His had chocolate and vanilla soft serve swirled, chocolate sauce, nuts, brownie bits, chocolate pretzel pocky sticking out.  Yes, a sundae served in a cone.

He enjoyed his, until ... he reached about midway down the cone.  He kinda laughed as he got a spoonful of cocoa crispies, as I had been complaining about mine.  I joked that he might have jelly in the bottom.  And ... he did.  Yup, this cone was filled with jelly!  So ... odd.  He also didn't care for these layers, but still found this quite successful in spite of it.
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