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Running a restaurant is tough work, as anyone who’s ever worked as a server, cook, or manager can tell you. Especially in Japan, a country where a good meal is considered one of the best things that can happen during your day, we try to give the staff the benefit of the doubt that they’re preparing our food as quickly as they can, while still maintaining the levels of flavor and presentation customers expect.

Still, we have to admit our patience was tested when we walked into a restaurant in Sapporo and ordered a single parfait. We were pretty surprised when well over an hour later, it still hadn’t come.

Then we were even more shocked when we finally got to eat our dessert and found out it was well worth the wait.

While visiting Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido we stopped by People Peape. Kind of a weird name, sure, but we’re just getting started on the things that set People Peape apart from ordinary restaurants.

First of all, it’s strictly a dessert joint, as it doesn’t open until 7:15 p.m. and continues serving up parfaits until midnight. If you’re worried the allure of late-night sweets would be too great to resist and you’d end up ruining your diet by showing up at People Peape every night, you can rest easy knowing that it’s only open from Wednesday to Saturday each week.

Thankfully, we were in Sapporo on one of the days it was open, and we sauntered in almost as soon as we could at 7:20. In the five minutes before we’d arrived, though, a group of eager customers had already claimed five of People Peape’s 30 seats.

In many Japanese restaurants, when you sit down you’re given a moist towel known as an oshibori to wipe your hands off with. People Peape mixes things up, though, as guests first receive a written notice telling them to brace themselves for a long wait.

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The paper informed us of a few important points. The parfaits are made-to-order, one at a time, and delivered to tables one at a time. Since it takes about three minutes to make one parfait, if there are, say, 20 people, your wait will be about one hour. In addition, as the parfaits are being made, other customers will come in and order, adding to the wait.

It was only after we’d given our consent to these conditions that we were asked for our order.

If you’re wondering why the restaurant doesn’t speed things up by putting another staff member on making parfaits, it’s because there is no other staff member. People Peape’s owner runs the whole show by himself, and whenever he has to seat a new customer or take their order, he has to suspend his parfait-producing process.

We looked over the menu, placed our order and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited some more. Eight o’clock came and went, and our table was still depressingly barren. At one point, a young couple that also hadn’t received their parfaits asked the owner, “How much longer is it going to be?”

“The paper says how long it usually takes doesn’t it?” the owner retorted. “Do the math yourself.” Either unwilling or unable to do the calculations, the couple repeated their question, only to have the owner fire back, “If you’re that concerned about the time, this isn’t the place for you!”

With that, the pair got up and left. We were too hungry/meek to follow suit, though, and patiently continued waiting.

Finally, at 9:05, an hour and 45 minutes after we’d walked in the door, we got our parfait.

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We’d asked for a rum and custard pudding parfait, and when the owner set it down on our table, it was like an oasis in the desert. A beautiful, creamy oasis.

After almost two hours of sitting with our stomach growling, though, we weren’t about to hold off eating any longer, so we grabbed our spoon and dug in.

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It turns out it’s not just the long wait and hard-nosed owner that make People Peape unique, but the flavor of its desserts as well. That huge portion of whipped cream doesn’t contain any sugar, so it isn’t sweet at all. This helps bring the delicious taste of the milk it contains to the forefront.

Likewise, the ice cream itself doesn’t go overboard on the sweetness, and has the airy texture you’d expect from the batches the owner kneads for six hours daily. At the bottom of the glass is where you’ll find the rum, and mixing it with the ice cream produced a sophisticated and extremely satisfying flavor.

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So while the owner’s people skills may not be the best, he is at least fair, and there’s no room to criticize his techniques in whipping up palate-pleasing parfaits.

So if you’re looking for a top-tasting parfait with a kick to it, stop by with a good friend, bring a compelling book, or use your smartphone to check out some great websites while you wait, and you’ll have solved the only real complaint about People Peape.

Restaurant information
People Peape / ピープル・ピープ
Address: Hokkaido, Sapporo-shi, Chuo-ku, Minami Yonjo Nishi 6
Open 7:15 p.m.-midnight
Closed Sunday-Tuesday

Photos © RocketNews24
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