Recently, light and fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes have become nearly as popular abroad as they are in Japan. And while people may have their favorites, there’s one particular cheesecake in Japan that’s become legendary, and it’s called the “Phantom Cheesecake“.
Created by Japanese dessert restaurant Criollo, headed up by patissier Antoine Santos, the Phantom Cheesecake is said to be so popular that 2,000 were once sold in 10 minutes. That equates to roughly three per second, so needless to say, we had to check this sweet out.
There are several options available to those who want to try the Phantom Cheesecake. You can either purchase one at Criollo’s online store, where they retail for 1,400 yen, or pick one up to go at the Nakameguro and Kotake Mukaihara branches in Tokyo or the Kobe branch in Hyogo Prefecture.
The Kobe and Kotake Mukaihara branches have eat-in areas, so we headed to Kotake Mukaihara to enjoy this decadent dessert inside Criollo’s relaxed cafe, where we could fully savor the phantom flavor.
As soon as we arrived, we could see a sign advertising the Phantom Cheesecake, with a blurb to let customers know it was their top seller, with 2,000 sold in 10 minutes. The store also suggests purchasing the cake as a souvenir, with a recommended use-by date of five days after purchase.
We couldn’t quite believe that so many cakes were sold in such a short amount of time, so we decided to check once again with the staff to see if the legend was true. That’s when they told us we weren’t mistaken; the cheesecake shot to fame after it was featured on a TV program, and they were unable to keep up with demand after they were flooded with orders over the phone and online. That’s when the dessert was named the “Phantom Cheesecake”, and after further improvements to the recipe, the cake remains the most popular item in the store to this day.
We were glad they hadn’t sold out of cheesecakes that day, because after hearing the cake’s intriguing backstory, we were keener than ever to try it. And once we laid eyes on the beautiful-looking sweet, our mouths began watering in earnest.
▼ The cheesecake was cube-shaped, with visible air pockets around its edges, making it look like a fine, soft, airy soufflé.
One of the great things about ordering the cake to eat-in is the fact that it comes served with a beautiful, rippled mound of fresh cream on top.
So how did it taste? Well, in a word, it was sublime. The cake had a light, airy texture that melted on the tongue, coating it with a soft, creamy, rich sweetness before disappearing with a clean, light aftertaste.
It was so good that the whole cake was gone in moments, disappearing like a phantom. The most impressive part of the tasting was the obvious high quality of the cake, displayed in its refined aftertaste, which didn’t have the overly sweet notes seen in inferior varieties.
At 503 yen for eat-in customers, the Phantom Cheesecake is definitely worth trying. In fact, it’s so popular it hardly needs advertising, as most of its sales comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, which makes it an even more tantalising discovery. Kind of like the dreamy Cloud Cake we caught wind of at Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel earlier this year.
Criollo Tokyo Main Branch
Address: Tokyo-to, Itabashi-ku, Mukaihara 3-9-2
Hours: 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
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