Made our way to Shimokitazawa, a hipster neighbourhood just a few stops from Shibuya, just for pastries – Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory. We have been to the area before during our previous visit to Tokyo before, back then it was just for unagi (Nodaiwa, see post here). The small town is generally known for its vintage stores and thrift shops. This area is also much less crowded than the tourist packed Harajuku and Shibuya, because the shop mix here probably don’t appeal to the mass market.
So what was it that lured us to this suburb? The cute Totoro Cream Puffs – and I’m not even a Ghibili fan. The shop is the only place where you can eat cream puffs officially approved by the Ghibli Studio.
The shop is actually closer to the Setagaya-Daita station instead of Shimokitazawa. But I reckon if one were to make the way to suburb of Tokyo, might as well make the most out of it and spend some time exploring Shimokitazawa before taking a break at the cafe.
The walk from Shimokitazawa to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory involves walking through what seems to be a residential area. This place would be probably be quite challenging to find if you do not have a real-time map with you. As we visited during winter, the night falls pretty early and it was already dark by 5.30pm.
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory is housed on level 1 of the 2-storey corner shophouse unit. However they only do takeaways, so if you wish to sit down and enjoy the pastries, you can enjoy it at the cozy Tolo Coffee & Bakery on 2nd floor.
A point to note: the cafe has its own menu offering proper food other than just pastries from the cream puff factory. However if you are only here to order the cream puffs, you would need to order 1 drink per person. Price-wise the puffs are slightly more expensive if you are eating in – for example ¥400 (takeaway) vs ¥440 (eat-in) for the basic custard & cream flavour.
During our visit there were 4 flavours listed on the menu: Custard & Cream, Chocolate, Strawberry and Caramel & Banana. Seasonal flavours was Strawberry and Caramel & Banana. Depending on the season, they also have other special flavours such as maron/matcha/peach. Although the puff factory is opened till 7pm, by the time we got there they have run out of Chocolate flavoured puff.
We had the Custard & Cream (green leaf) and the Caramel & Banana (yellow ribbon hat). The puffs certainly looked really kawaii staring at me with their innocent looking eyes.
I could not even bare to take a cross-sectional photo of the puffs after taking one bite…almost as-if I am the evil Gargamel eating the cute Smurfs… >_<
Taste wise, the puffs are profiteroles (choux pastry) which are light and airy with a crispy skin. The cream fillings are also pretty well portioned to the puff ratio.
This place is a must-visit for any Ghibili fan. Even if you are not, consider dropping by this quaint and cozy place if you are around the area. You’ll be charmed by the irresistibly adorable puffs!
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