Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sekai de Niban-me ni Oishii Melonpan, Tokyo

On my previous trip to Japan, I discovered melonpan by accident, when it was brought in for a special event at the office.  I had no idea what it was, where it came from, but, I took one bite, and I was hooked (as I described when I reviewed melonpan in Paris next).  What was this magical sweet bread with a crispy top?  I quickly learned it was melonpan (e.g. "pan", the word for bread, "melon" since it looks like a melon).  

Since then, I've tried melonpan whenever I've found it, which, isn't very often (and usually isn't very successful, like in Sydney at a Japanese bakery I did love).
A Melonpan Adventure.
So when I knew I was headed to Tokyo again, I instantly sought out recommendations for melonpan, and stumbled upon Sekai de Niban-me ni Oishii Melonpan ... which translates to “The Second-Most Delicious Ice Cream Melon Bread in the World.”

I laughed, a lot, at the name.  I laughed even more at the signs I saw posted with warnings on how messy it was.  But I respected the reviewers, and they all agreed that this was very good.

So on my very first day there, I gathered a crew, and to melonpan we went.

The Setting

Like many things in Tokyo, it was a bit hard to find, only because there wasn't much of a sign, and, well, none of us can read Japanese anyway.
Ordering Window.
 One thing to note: this is not a restaurant or cafe, and it doesn't even have seating.  Its just a window.
Luckily for us, one sign was in English, although I'm certain there were more options, they just weren't translated for us.

Our options were pretty simple: melonpan, filled with vanilla, chocolate, or green tea ice cream.  You can add a slice of pineapple as well.  They also make a bread loaf of melonpan, a rusk (crispy one), and tiny one.
The aforementioned warning sign made me laugh again when I saw it in person.

"Don't enjoy this too much!", it warned.  It also gave instructions on how to eat, including using a straw-spoon (which none of my co-workers did), and a strong warning to leave it in the bag else a mess would result.
Made to Order.
Each order was sliced to order, and stuffed with the ice cream of choice.

I had read that the bread was supposed to be served warm, to help melt the ice cream, but perhaps because it was 90+ degrees, they felt that step wasn't necessary for us?  Ours weren't served warm.

The Food

The best seller is the simple melonpan with vanilla ice cream, but, reviewers all say to get the pineapple slice inside, so, I did.
Melonpan with Pineapple.
My server sliced it, and added the pineapple slice, and then added the ice cream.
Melonpan Ice, Vanilla, with Pineapple (half).
I asked to have ours cut in half, since I was sharing with someone, and knew this was something they did. She happily obliged, cut it in half, and gave us each our own halves in separate paper. I'm glad I braved asking in my non-Japanese, as splitting it otherwise would have been hard.

It also came with a chunk of the crispy melonpan rusk stuck in the side (two pieces in a full order).

It was ... ok.

The bread wasn't hot, as I mentioned.  The top wasn't nearly as crispy as I hoped, although the bread was light and fluffy, mildly sweet.

The ice cream was just generic vanilla.  It melted ok.

I didn't like the pineapple, for no reason other than I don't really care for pineapple.

I did really like the melonpan rusk though, super crispy, super sweet, more closely related to what I remembered the top of the melonpan being like.

But overall, this was just kinda meh.  Lackluster melonpan, lackluster ice cream.  And it was supposed to be one of the top ones in Tokyo?  Hmm.
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