The city’s most popular gourmand hotspots are usually characterised by queues long enough to make you feel faint. People will wait for untold hours for a bowl of their favourite ramen or arrive at a store long before it opens to snatch a specialty item. Ironically, there are no queues for one of the city’s most sought-after cheesecakes – because it doesn’t have a physical store.
Instead, the baked specialities at Mr. Cheesecake can only be purchased online two days a week (Sunday and Monday) and they sell out within minutes. In fact, it disappears so quickly that serious foodies who have tried to get their hands on the delicacy have dubbed it the ‘phantom cheesecake’. Should you be one of the lucky few to snag a cake, it will be delivered to you within five days – no, you can't choose the date and time of delivery. You can then eat it immediately or store it in the freezer for up to three months and save it for a special occasion.
The man behind this operation is chef Koji Tamura, who spent a number of years studying French cooking while working at Michelin-starred restaurants including the now-closed Tirpse in Tokyo. He started making his famous cheesecakes while he was still working full-time at a restaurant. He had to wake up at 4am in order to make two batches of 16 cakes a day. Tamura asserts that he’s not just striving to make the best cheesecakes in the world, but the best cheesecakes anyone will ever have in their lives. An indulgent combination of cream cheese, sour cream, double cream and yoghurt are folded together and accented with tonka beans, white chocolate, vanilla and lemon.
The cheesecake can be eaten at three different temperatures, which affect its taste and texture. Eat it frozen and you’ll notice the prominent tartness of the lemon. Chef Tamura recommends thawing it for an hour and a half to get a contrast of textures as you bite into it. Allow it to thaw completely and the cheesecake will have the velvety mouthfeel of crème brûlée.
Chef Tamura has also announced that he will be making a limited quantity of pumpkin chai cheesecakes for autumn. If you’re keen to have a bite of this seasonal dessert, orders can be made through the Line app from 10am on Sunday October 20 – though you’ll need to have your screen at the ready as the limited-edition special will likely sell out instantly.
Order the original version of Mr. Cheesecake here every Sunday and Monday from 10am. Otherwise, get instant gratification with these amazing Japanese desserts and fluffy soufflé pancakes. You can also snack your way through Harajuku's famous Takeshita street.