Sweet One-Way Ticket to Paradise
Located on the third floor of a department in the vibrant neighbourhood of Harajuku, Sweets Paradise offers a twist where cake is the main course and savory foods are appetizers.
At the entrance is a ticketing machine, where you can select from various options; 1,300 yen for the basic plan, 1,500 yen for the recommended plan, and 1,700 yen for the “supreme plan.” Most tickets include a drink bar, so the difference lies in what add-ons you buy. We settled for “recommended”, a fair price for the wide food options included.
We did not wait long at all and, upon entering the cafe, the vast selection of cakes immediately caught our sight. They line an entire wall of the space, with a slight window that peers into the kitchen; a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of a sweets paradise.
From strawberry cake to cheese souffle, with more than 30 types of cakes, it caters to all palettes. Deciding to leave cake, the star of the show, for the end, we walked further to find savory items: pasta, curry, salad and soups.
Sweets Paradise is consistent in allowing comer-ins to choose from multiple flavors, allowing us to ponder over the selection of seven different pasta sauces ( fresh tomato, tomato cream, peperoncino, cream sauce, napolitan, wafu, meat sauce). We settled for the tomato sauce, wafu (Japanese-style) and a more outlandish mentaiko (Pollock roe) cream sauce. The sauces were all fragrant and flavorful, each delivering freshness. Of the seven, the wafu sauce was definitely the highlight. Variations of wafu sauces can be found in a few restaurants across Tokyo, but none are as delectable as the one we had at Sweets Paradise. Additionally, having tasted good noodles before, we were hesitant in trying the pasta. Yet to our surprise, the pasta had a chewy consistency that excellently paired with the various sauces.
The curry and the soups, offered in a different flavors (sweet, savoury, creamy, fresh), again proved Sweets Paradise caters to friends so unceremoniously dragged here by their sweet tooth possessing friends. The curry, which has two sauces, traditional and sweet, can be served with hot rice, always ready in the suihanki (rice cooker).
The salad, which you can spice up with a variety of dressings (vinegar, red sauce, olive oil, quinoa sauce) and toppings, such as the Japanese goma (sesame) sauce, offers a nice palette cleanser before diving into the next sweets option. Sweetcorn and various beans (red beans and chickpeas) are available to garnish your salad.
Fueling ourselves with enough “appetizers,” we felt it was time for the cakes. When it comes to selecting cakes, one cannot help but gawk at the beauty and colours that comes to eye. There is just so much choice including framboise cake, plain cake, pound cake, orange cake, light spongy cake, mille crepe, banana cake, cupcakes, berry cake, custard roll, baked chocolate, baked cheese, classic chocolate, souffle cheese, caramel-custard cake, honey and lemon, strawberry mousse, rare cheese, sweets paradise pudding, smooth pumpkin mousse and tiramisu. Grabbing a plate, we walked along the wall. Unable to resist the temptation, we tried most of them. In this article, we we will recommend the most delicious or unusual flavors in our opinion.
What caught our attention was the number of fruit flavored cakes (pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, coconut, orange cake). One might assume an all-you-can-eat restaurant would focus on chocolate, but Sweets Paradise pulled out all the stops. On our plate we had coconut, rare cheesecake and our favorite, raspberry.
The raspberry cake had fresh fruit taste, reminding us of picking berries in the woods as a child. The coconut was sprinkled with real coconut shavings, which added a nice complimentary texture to the moist base of the cake, all experienced in a single bite.
Of the chocolate selection including dark chocolate, chocolate mousse, chocolate pudding, soft chocolate cake, baked chocolate, the one we still dream about is the orange chocolate cake. The chocolate mousse allows time for the flavour to melt in your mouth, sinking into your taste buds. The cake is not as sweet as others, which appeals to some. The slightly bitter orange garnish also pairs nicely with the cocoa.
Amongst the cheesecakes (traditional cheesecake and rare cheese cake), we recommend trying the ‘rare cheese’ one that offers an original taste and the perfect texture. When we first placed a slice on our plate, it jiggled in warm greeting. Though soft in texture, surprisingly the taste still packs a punch.
We've tried many delicacies by the end of our adventure, but we couldn’t leave without having tried the ice-cream, which can be enjoyed with colorful toppings (colored sprinkles and chocolate drops). All the flavors (chocolate, vanilla, cream, matcha, strawberry, hazelnut, pistachio, peach, raspberry), come from the famous Haagen Daz brand. They range from chocolate to matcha, tastes anyone could enjoy. Classic chocolate combined with raspberry are highly recommended but if you want more of a Japanese flavour, we recommend the matcha ice cream.
The drink bar, which we were pleased to find, had healthy, fruity options. Usually brewed with black tea, the fruit was splendidly infused. Besides juices (orange, red orange and apple), they had a number of tea options (golden leaf, strawberry, wildberry, grapes, health leaf, camomile, orange tea, chai, jasmine, black bean flavour, original barley, caramel). The chai and jasmine tea were the most aromatically pleasing to us.
Atmospherically, the space offers a calmness and joy about it, a perfect balance for a customer seeking the endless happiness sweets offer. The walls are decorated in bright colored polka dots, with posters of various J-pop idols. We snagged a couple of photos by them ourselves. All in all, Sweets Paradise was just the cherry on top of a fun day in Harajuku!