Ah, soufflés. The élégant and temperamental French dessert loved by many, yet mastered by few. Eating the decadent baked egg dish is risky business: you will either be absolutely blown away in a single mouthful, or end up disappointed with the lack of rise/ evenness of texture. For some serious soufflé indulgence, head to the Le Salon Jacques Borie located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward – home to Japan’s busiest entertainment, business and shopping districts.
Le Salon Jacques Borie is the namesake and offshoot of legendary French chef Jacques Borie’s expanding roots in the culinary capital of the world, offering Tokyoites and curious Gaijins a taste of his mastery in classic French patisserie. The restaurant focuses heavily on its dessert menu, so we love coming here for a mid-afternoon sweet treat, and save room for lunch or dinner elsewhere. A little background on chef Jacques Borie: He was conferred the title of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (M.O.F.) in 1982 (the highest recognition given to top chefs in France), and later became instrumental in establishing the 2 Michelin-starred French restaurant L’Osier in Tokyo. He now serves as executive producer for the popular Shiseido Parlour in Ginza.
We visited the restaurant several times during our trips to Tokyo from 2014 to 2016, and always left satisfied and continuously impressed with its signature Le Soufflé au Chocolat (¥2,500), a made-to-order chocolate soufflé dessert.
The dessert had all the makings of an ideal soufflé – a perfectly even rise, a firm (but never tough) crust, and a pillowy texture throughout. What makes the Le Soufflé au Chocolat special was its hot, molten chocolate centre, baked together with the rest of the soufflé’s egg white mixture. This is an unconventional approach to the classic French soufflé (where fillings are spooned in after the soufflé is served), and the inclusion of dense fillings (such as chocolate) can easily alter the rise of the dessert. But it is safe to say that Le Salon Jacques Borie’s unique rendition of the chocolate soufflé was consistently mind-blowing, and a game-changer in the world of traditional soufflé baking.
Besides the chocolate soufflé, the restaurant has an excellent (and very exciting!) sweet trolley – a treasure trove selection of gâteau opéra, tarte tatin, savarin au rhum and paris-brest among other sweets, presented atop porcelain cake stands and silver serve-ware.
Each slice of cake was priced between ¥1,400 and ¥1,600. But go for its afternoon cake sets for better value: you can sample two slices at ¥2,400 (¥3,300 with coffee) or three slices at ¥3,200 (¥4,100 with coffee). We took the modest route with our selection of two cake slices (after having two soufflés), which we narrowed down to the le Vacherin Alsacien à la meringue glacée and the Gâteau Opéra.
The le Vacherin Alsacien à la meringue glacée is a popular choice among patrons. The cake arrived as a four-layer medley of fruit sorbets and ice cream, and was served with blueberry compote. Tart flavours of the fruit sorbets lent a refreshing contrast to the sweet meringue and vanilla ice cream. The meringue was fresh and melt-in-your-mouth despite sitting out in the open trolley.
As expected, the traditional Gâteau Opera was richer in taste and heavier on the palate, but no less exquisite. Each bite of aromatic coffee sponge and smooth, high quality chocolate ganache was heaven!
Other delectable cake selections from the sweet trolley:
4F Main Building 3-14-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Open everyday from 10:30 to 20:00
LUNCH : 11:00- (Last Order 14:30)
DINNER : 17:00- (Last Order 19:00)