Restaurant: Tsujiri Toronto
Location: 147 Dundas Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1P5
Price Range: $$
Are you a matcha lover? Are you looking to satisfy your green tea craving? Then Tsujiri is the place to go to and the shop have just arrived at the heart of downtown Toronto for their first North America’s store! Just a quick background of Tsujiri, the brand was first established in Kyoto, Japan in 1860 so it has been around for 155 years! Over time, they have been serving the most carefully selected quality green tea leaves in all their products, taking on traditional methods to ensure the best quality and flavors for their tea.
Tsujiri menu covers from traditional O-Matcha to matcha infused sweet treats including floats, parfait, shaved ice to even pastries. Unfortunately I came after their soft-opening night so all of their pastry items, such as macarons were not available yet – meaning I have another excuse to come back ;). Do note that the same item can be a bit more expensive depends on the type of sundae you choose. All the items are labeled with leaf icons to indicate the strength of the matcha taste in them. The maximum was 3 leaves, meaning that item would be the most bitter one.
As you can see, the shop is quite small and there are only 3 stool seats plus a tatami at the back that can fit 4 people comfortably. I came here around 7PM and there was no line up, however by the time we left a line already started to form all the way to the door. Thus Tsujiri will be a grab and go place which should be okay considering the weather is getting warmer!
Step aside Uncle Tetsu, Tsujiri definitely knows how to make an excellent soft serve! The matcha taste in the Tsujiri’s Soft Cream was quite strong and it was not too sweet. The texture was just light, smooth and creamy. I also liked how the soft cream was able to hold up after a few mins, whereas the one at Uncle Tetsu just melted instantly.
The Shiratama Sundae had layers of matcha sundae, red bean and shiratama (which is similar to mochi but they aren’t quite as stretchy or chewy as mochi). I loved how the red bean was not mushy and not too sweet at all!! The shiratama had a mild taste and subtle sweetness to it which paired perfectly with the mild bitter taste of the matcha sundae.
The swirled mixed cream crowned beautifully on top of the impeccably crafted ice blended matcha was the first thing I ate. Surprisingly it was quite dense and light at the same time. The drink had a pronounced matcha flavor, it was quite thick and not too icy as well – a super refreshing drink for summer!
This was our least favorite item of the night as it wasn’t really memorable. While I found the toppings to be good, the shaved ice didn’t have that distinct matcha flavor since the syrup didn’t distribute evenly – perhaps more syrup need to be added?
The chiffon cake was not as light or pillow-y as the ones I had before, however the cake was still moist though. Again the matcha ice cream was creamy and not too sweet, had a hint of bitterness which is how I like it. Corn flakes were added for some texture and I honestly didn’t care for the dollop of red bean served on the side, but my friend liked it as it added a bit more sweetness to the matcha.
The staff was insisting that the Sakura cookie was made from Sakura flowers and it should have that slight sour taste to it. With that said, all of my friends and myself included thought this was just a regular butter cookie. Nonetheless, the tsujiri sundae was the favorite of the night among my friends. Again the matcha soft serve was creamy and decadent and I loved that textural contrast with the crunchy roasted brown rice puffs. Since the brown rice can be quite overpowering, thus I recommend getting a mixed soft serve (matcha & vanilla) for a subtle sweetness which will balance out the nutty crispiness of the rice.
As you can see, most of the dessert at Tsujiri were incredibly delicious, not overly sweet, and each item was well-crafted and enjoyable to look at (and Instagram, of course). The biggest concern I would have is that you are paying a premium price for quite a small portion of dessert, but I honestly don’t mind paying more for this quality. Another concern is the layout of the store as the line up currently surround the area where people pick up the food which could potentially create some confusions. Otherwise I just love this place and hopefully it will expand the store to accommodate more seatings soon!