The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 22 August 2008

Gelato @ naturalBeat Gelateria Bar, Tokyo

Our galette lunch brought us for the first time to the upscale shopping area of Omotesando. Too bad we're not lovers of clothes shopping. However, Kim said that there was really good gelato to be had in Omotesando Hills, and being the gluttons that we are, we couldn't resist a visit to this gelateria. The naturalBeat Gelateria Bar is quite small with seating capacity of maybe 15 people in a bar-like setting. There was quite a variety of flavours to choose from, but for some reason none of the flavours appealed to us. Chocolate would have been our choice, but all three chocolate gelati available either contained an ingredient that we didn't like or had alcohol.

I've been curious for awhile now about the "salt caramel" flavour combination, which for some reason is quite a buzz in the foodie world for the past couple of years. (I haven't yet tried this salty-sweet combination because I'm not a big fan of caramels which are often too sweet, and I wasn't sure about eating a sweet that was actually salty.) One of the menu items was Sea Salt Caramel (780yen) with caramelised nuts, so we took this opportunity to see what the fuss was with this salty-sweet combination. The verdict? Well, I can't say I enjoyed it, and perhaps it was mainly because of the nuts, which were not caramelised but instead were burnt and disappointingly bitter. I can see why people would appreciate the contrast of salty and sweet, but let's just say I don't like tasting salt in my desserts (funnily, I'm fine with sweet in my savoury dishes). Somehow I have a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy chocolate-covered bacon. Another negative about the gelato was the texture, which was more like normal ice cream, and not the dense, smooth and fine texture that we associate with good gelato. Kim and Fumi shared Passionfruit & Mango (860yen) with juniper berry jelly, and it came with a separate tiny serving of sake (Japanese rice wine) in a sake glass for you to pour as much (or as little) as you like on the dessert. This was more like a sorbet than a gelato, but it was refreshing and was flavourful.

Sea Salt Caramel and Passionfruit Mango:

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