This spring in Japan has turned out to be another lonely year as the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented people from all over the world from coming to Japan. Even though there are state of emergencies declared in various prefectures, most people have been enjoying walks under cherry blossoms. In this feature, we introduce a cool cafe that is offering sakura-inspired treats.
In front of Shinjuku Gyoen Park (新宿御苑), one of the famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan, there is a traditional-style cafe called Romantei (ろまん亭). They have introduced a new set of sweets called HANA YORI DANGO (sweets before flowers): A set of dango with beautiful sakura decorations.
Dango (団子) is is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko, related to mochi. Enjoy this set with the view of gorgeous cherry blossoms.Although the cafe that is not very big, it has an antique feel to it giving it warmth. Measures to prevent infection of COVID-19 are in place so you may have to wait a little before being seated.
The most popular menu items are the Dango Fondue and the Butter Toast with Red Beans.
The photo above is that of this year’s spring set: HANA YORI DANGO set. This set includes dango, a sakura-flavored hojicha latte, and fondue. You can choose between Mitarashi (sweet soy) or Tsubuan (red bean). The latte comes hot or cold. For an additional 200 yen, you can get a Strawberry Sparkling Set.
If you don’t wish to have a drink, then you can choose a normal set. You can choose between white or green dango (kusadango) and a Mitarashi or Tsubuan fondue.
For those who wish to have something cold, try the shiny Mizu Warabimochi (made from bracken starch) or the Isobemochi (grilled mochi wrapped in seaweed).
If you’re starving and want something more than just sweets, try the Ogura Butter Danish (Red Bean Butter Toast).
Since its spring, we ordered the HANA YORI DANGO set which is served in a pink tray, perfectly matching the blossoms. There are also cherry blossoms used for decoration. Doesn’t it look adorable?
Let’s start with the Iced Sakura Latte.
Hojicha with a light sweet aroma, it may seem as if it was overly sweet but in fact is quite subtle. The cream on top isn’t too thick and it sends a warmth of savoring something comforting in the cold.
The set has 6 sticks of freshly made and grilled dango. These are topped with a dusting of kinako (roasted soybean flour).
We chose the Mitarashi fondue. Dip the dango in the slightly hot fondue and eat away. The dango is not too gelatinous or sticky and the mitarashi fondue adds a perfect balance.
The cafe is also decorated with cherry blossoms!
The shop is located across from the entrance of Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑). How about trying these treats on your next visit to Japan?
Shinjuku Gyoen Romantei (新宿御苑 ろまん亭)
Opening hours (Weekdays): 11：30-19：00（L.O. 18：30）
(Saturday, Sunday, public holidays): 11：30-19：00（L.O. 18：30）
Closed on Mondays
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