I was intrigued by Kyotofu the moment I typed their name into Google. This Japanese themed dessert bar and bakery goes on the theme of “changing the world, one soybean at a time”. Soybean? Oh, yes. The humble soybean is taken to new levels at Kyotofu, inspiring a whole range of innovative (and delicious!) savoury and sweet dishes.
Barbequed unagi - The only savoury dish I tried at Kyotofu. And to be honest, it was R’s dish as I chose dessert instead. This was actually a really nice spin on the usual unagi sushi you get in Japanese restaurants. The barbequed freshwater eel was wrapped in crisp phyllo dough, and served with whole sansho peppers and teriyaki sauce.
I would have tried more savoury dishes, but I was concentrating on the desserts each time we went to Kyotofu (we went twice, both at odd times, in between meals.) Catty tried their chicken tofu burger when she visited them last year and liked it, so I’d definitely want to aim to try more of their savoury food the next time I’m in New York.
Warm miso chocolate cake. I knew I had to order this when I saw it on the menu. I mean, how could I resist the combination of a warm miso chocolate cake with a mochi center, miso caramel, and adzuki shiro-an (red bean sweetened paste)? This was absolutely gorgeous, and I think I must have let out a little squeal of delight when it was brought to the table. I never thought that miso could be paired with caramel, but it worked really well… think of it as an Asian twist on salted caramel, because that is exactly what it tasted like. The warm chocolate cake was moist, and the mochi center was a pleasant surprise.
Whilst I was enjoying my warm chocolate cake, people kept on coming in to take away their soft serve. Intrigued, I decided that I simply *had* to try some. So I did. The waiter who initially served us (but had gone on a short break) was extremely surprised when he got back to find the ice cream in front of me, asking me “didn’t you have the chocolate cake?” with a puzzled look on his face. If only he knew how much I can eat…
Anyway, on to the soymilk soft ice cream sundae, served with a fruit compote, matcha mochi, brownie topping and pocky sticks. Kyotofu cycle flavours on a monthly basis, and in March they were serving matcha and black sesame ice cream. I believe it is chocolate and white sesame this month, and I only wish I could try the white sesame version! I really, really liked the ice cream. It wasn’t too sweet (always a plus), and was bursting with the flavours of matcha (green tea) and black sesame respectively. I don’t think I paid much attention to the toppings that came with the sundae, as I was too busy eating the ice cream itself. I especially liked how it was made with soymilk, which therefore meant I could *claim* to be eating something healthy. Sort of.
Because we enjoyed Kyotofu so much, we managed to squeeze in another trip just before leaving New York. Priorities. We tried their matcha lattes (both cold, and hot) – both were good. I felt that the hot version was better, but that might have been because it was a very cold day.
Anmitsu – adzuki red bean, coffee & strawberry agar, shiratama dango (mochi-like balls made from sweet rice flour) and kinako ice cream. You get a choice of kinako ice cream or a vegan coconut sorbet, but I chose the kinako (soybean flour) as it was something different. This was again beautifully presented. It tasted as good as it looked, and my favourite bit of it was the kinako ice cream. The red beans had just the right amount of sweetness, and went well with the ice cream and the dango. I love anything chewy, so naturally really enjoyed the shiratama dango. I couldn’t eat the sugar wafer though – that was too sweet and too hard for my teeth!
Black sesame sweet tofu, served with a hoji-cha syrup. I had a hard time deciding between this, and their signature white tofu. I ended up choosing the black sesame version as I felt the white tofu version would be similar to “tofu fah” (one of the absolute MUST EAT’s everytime I go home). Like everything else here, there was a burst of black sesame goodness in each bite of the tofu. Despite the word “sweet” in the name of the dish, the tofu itself wasn’t all that sweet. I felt the hoji-cha syrup complemented the tofu very well, but R preferred the tofu plain – but then again, he does not have a sweet tooth. I still prefer “tofu fah” though, as it’s what I grew up eating.
I also bought a selection of their baked goods to bring back to London – again, this was influenced by the many, many people who walked in to do this each time I dined there. The photo above is of their genmaicha brown rice almond financiers (golden) and matcha green tea almond financiers (green). I absolutely loved these. Surprisingly I enjoyed the genmaicha ones more than the matcha, as the tea added an extra nutty flavour to the financiers.
Miso chocolate brownie. As you can tell from the photo, there were sesame seeds in this – I thought this was absolute genius. I’m definitely going to try making some sesame chocolate brownies very soon! I must say I couldn’t really taste the miso in this, but it was good nonetheless.
Chocolate chunk and hazelnut kinako cookie. What I really liked about Kyotofu was how they put a Japanese/Asian spin on their food. This looks like your standard chocolate chip cookie, but believe me when I say it was better than that. The kinako (soybean flour) added a pleasant nutty aftertaste to the cookies. Only way I thought this could be improved = some sea salt sprinkled on the tops of the cookies.
Mini cupcakes – chocolate souffle, matcha green tea, yuzu vanilla and apple cinnamon. Apparently their chocolate souffle cupcake was voted NYC’s best cupcake by New York Magazine – so obviously I had to try one. Whilst the chocolate souffle cupcake was good, my favourite flavour was the yuzu vanilla. The tangy yuzu cupcake had delightful notes of vanilla running through it, and like all their other baked goods, was not overly sweet.
I really enjoyed Kyotofu, and it is definitely a place I can visit over and over again. I can only imagine how often I’d pop in to get some soymilk soft serve if I was a New Yorker…. Fingers crossed I’ll get to try their tofu cheesecake, miso brittle and tofu marshmallows in the near future. In the meantime I’ll continue hoping that they may one day come to London!
705 Ninth Avenue (between 48th and 49th)
New York, NY 10019