Sometimes, less is more. For example, last year we heard the happy news that Denny’s in Japan was offering all-you-can-eat pancakes. But as enticing as that deal was, there’s an easy way to improve on an unlimited supply of pancakes, and that’s by losing that “pan” restrictor.
So when we heard a popular Japanese bakery has an all-you-can-eat cake deal, we were ecstatic, and then we were out the door to try it for ourselves.
Founded in Yokohama in 1910, the Fujiya chain of bakeries and cafes has gone on to become one of Japan’s most beloved confectioners. There are two things the restaurants are especially well-known for, their rosy-cheeked mascot Peko-chan, and their delicious cakes.
A slice of cake at Fujiya will run you about 300 yen, making it a perfectly affordable luxury. Still, the more luxuries the better, and at a mere 36 of the company’s over 800 domestic branches, Fujiya offers a 60-minute all-you-can-eat deal for 1,490 yen, which also includes unlimited refills on select soft drinks.
Doing the math, and assuming you’re saving all the room in your stomach just for cake, the break-even point is five slices, with a minimum pace of 12 minutes per slice. That sounded like a pretty easy task for us, and while most of the participating branches are located in Fujiya’s home prefecture of Kanagawa, there are three locations in Tokyo that offer the all-you-can-eat deal. We decided to stop by the Arcakit Kinshicho Fujiya in the Kinshicho neighborhood, on the far side of the Sumida River from the RocketNews24 offices in Shinjuku.
We rolled in at 2 p.m. on a weekday, figuring there’d be fewer strangers in the restaurant to witness us stuff our faces with cake. Fujiya is a popular place for a mid-afternoon snack, though, and maybe due to Arcakit Kinshicho being one of the only all-you-can-eat branches in Tokyo, we still had about a 30-minute wait before we got a table. Once seated, we asked for the unlimited cake deal, and our waitress brought us a card with our cut-off time written on it and a plate.
While you’re right in thinking a restaurant with unlimited cakes is like some sort of sweet dream world, it isn’t the lawless Wild West. There are a couple of rules. First, your choices are limited to what’s in the special all-you-can-eat dessert case. On the bright side, the case contains nine different types of cake, so it’s not like it’s hurting for variety.
Second, as much as we would have liked to bask in the decadence of having all nine cakes crowding our plate, you can only order two slices at a time. Aside from that, though, your 60 minutes in limitless cake land are yours to spend as you see fit.
Unless, like us, you suddenly get a call saying you’re needed back in the office, check the train schedule on your smartphone, and find out you suddenly have just 15 minutes before you have to dash out, forfeiting the rest of your time. Still, we’d come this far, and we weren’t turning back now.
We resisted the temptation to lay up and simply get our money’s worth by eating a mere five slices, because our parents taught us to never quit. Come to think of it, they also might have taught us not to spoil our dinner by gorging on cake during the afternoon.
Anyway, we settled on a goal of plowing through eight varieties at a blistering speed of less than two minutes each, figuring there probably wouldn’t be enough time for the fourth refill we’d need to complete our gluttony bingo card by eating each and every type of cake. We started off with Fujiya’s signature dish, its shortcake topped with a strawberry and filled with a layer of strawberry jelly. Since time was of the essence, we placed all of our orders for two pieces at once, and we coupled the shortcake with a cupcake, which was also crowned with a strawberry. Both tasted great, although with just over 10 minutes left to spare, we couldn’t afford to leisurely savor their flavors.
Next up were two layered desserts, a mille crepe and mille-feuille. Again, no complaints in the flavor department, but if you’re eating for speed, the mille-feuille is a bit of a problem. The pastry has the firmest stricture out of the desserts we had, requiring you to slow down and spend more time chewing it compared to the other options.
Thankfully, we were able to make up for lost time with the easy-to-swallow cheesecakes. Fujiya offers three kinds in its all-you-can-eat case, and we opted for the baked cheesecake and soufflé cheesecake. Since they were soft and creamy, we polished them off in a manner more like drinking than eating.
Finally, to close things out, we ordered the Fujiya Mont Blanc and the Italian chestnut Mont Blanc.
Sadly, with 45 minutes left on the clock, we had to head for the exit. Even with all the cakes in our stomach, there was still just a sliver of regret in our hearts, since we didn’t get a chance to try the ninth and final type of dessert, the velvety cheesecake.
It’s a situation we’re planning to go back and rectify as soon as we can, and while we could order it a la carte, that just seems like a waste of money compared to the much better value of the all-you-can-eat deal. Plus, we’re really tempted to see if we can sustain our pace for the whole hour and devour 32 slices next time.
Restaurant information Fujiya Arcakit Kinshicho branch / 不二家レストラン アルカキット錦糸町店 Address: Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Kinshicho 2-2-1, Arcakit Kinshicho 10th floor 東京都墨田区錦糸2-2-1 アルカキット錦糸町10F Open 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Website
Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Late-night all-you-can-eat yakiniku for only 980 yen? Yes, please! -- A Sweets Lover’s Paradise – Tokyo Confectionery Land opens in Tokyo Station and their “drinkable” cream puffs are a must try -- Monster Hunter Rathalos cake available for pre-order, comes with Epitaph Knife and 49 res points© RocketNews24