It so happens that this past Saturday was kind of a big day for sweets lovers in Japan (well, at least for this writer). That’s right, June 20 was the much-anticipated grand opening of the Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the original cronuts, in Tokyo’s Omotesando district.

For those of you who may not be into sweets, the cronut is a hugely popular baked creation the bakery is known for which can be described as a hybrid between a croissant and donut. Not surprisingly, stories of people forming long lines every morning at the New York City-based bakery for the cronuts and other delightful baked treats have reached Japan, and many sweets fans were ecstatic when it was announced that the shop would be opening in Tokyo. Not to miss out on the sugar-filled excitement, we were there bright and early on opening day, all psyched up to try the cronuts we had heard so much about!

As a matter of fact, we were so excited that we got to Omotesando at around 5:15 in the morning, but guess what? There were already about 15 people waiting in line even then!

▼ Here’s what the line looked like at 5:15am. The first people in line apparently had been waiting from around 9pm the previous day!


▼By around 7am, there were several TV crews interviewing the people waiting in line.


The bakery was scheduled to open at 8am, and about 30 minutes before opening time, the staff began leading the customers to the store front in small groups.

▼ One person in each group was given a very soft and cute bread toy as a kind of marker to keep the group together.


▼ Finally, we were in front of the shop, waiting for 8am to arrive.


▼ We get our first peek into the shop.


▼ There was even a brief performance by professional dancers to keep the customers entertained during the wait.


▼  A little before 8am, the crowd’s excitement went up a notch as the chef behind the cronut craze, Dominique Ansel himself came out to greet everyone.


▼ He seemed genuinely happy as he addressed the crowd, saying that it had been a dream of his to open a shop in Tokyo, and that the staff have been working very hard all night to prepare for the opening, so they might be tired, but they are sure to have a ready smile for all of the customers. He also told us that he had special gift caps to give out to everyone. Yay!


▼ The shop opened precisely at 8am — there was even a large digital clock at the entrance showing the time in New York, Paris and Tokyo.


▼ The moment we’d been waiting for arrived as we were shown into the shop.


▼ Chef Dominique himself was passing out the gift caps at the entrance.


▼ And here’s the cap we received. Cool design!


▼ As soon as we stepped in the shop, we were offered sample mini madeleines, which were freshly baked and still warm.


▼ Here’s the menu that was presented on the wall behind the counter.


▼ And this is what the interior of the shop looked like.


▼ The counter was quite long, with many different pastries and cakes on display.


▼ Near the entrance, they had some packaged items that looked like they would make great gifts, like these Sable Breton cookies …


▼ … and these Mini Me miniature meringue kisses in an assortment of bright colors.


▼ The Mini Me meringues looked adorable in a gift box:


▼They also had homemade granola and even a thermo mug …


▼ … as well as a cute tote bag in a pop design.


▼ And now, for the baked treats! This Mr. Roboto bread that looks like the face of a robot is available only in Japan and is a variation of the Japanese “melon bread“.


▼ This Match Monaka Cookie is another only-in-Japan item. It combines the crispy shell of the traditional Japanese monaka confection with a moist financier cake, flavored with match green tea.


▼ The croissants looked heavenly!


▼ You can try the Ham and Cheese Croissant if you want more of a meal-type bread.


▼ And here are the popular Dominique’s Kouign Amann, called the DKA for short. They’re so popular, in fact, that they apparently outsell the cronuts in New York.


▼ Yes, they had piles and piles of DKAs baked and ready to be sold, and we were almost drooling at this point.


▼ There were also plenty of artistically prepared cakes as well. They looked absolutely gorgeous!


▼ The insanely adorable cat-shaped creation in the middle here is the Maneki Neko Religeuse, a cream puff based pastry made in the image of a maneki neko, a cat-shaped Japanese charm that is supposed to bring good luck. This Japan-only item is flavored with a yuzu citrus and vanilla cream.


▼ The lovely green Paris – Tokyo cake shown here on the left is also only available in Japan and contains matcha ganache and passion fruit curd.


▼ Other cakes on offer include the Mini Me Cake topped with the miniature meringues, the Cotton Soft Cheesecake and the Salted Caramel Eclair.


▼ Here’s their banana bread decorated with colorful letters.


▼ They also had brightly colored macarons …


▼ … several types of cookies …


▼ … and the cute little madeleines we had sampled earlier.


▼ You can also order beautiful whole cakes.


▼ They were also showcasing their Frozen S’mores. This unique creation involves vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate feuilletine flakes encased in a large rectangular marshmallow. The item is torched with a burner and served on a smoked wooden branch. This, we were going to have to try right in the shop.


▼ When we got to the ordering counter, there was a complete menu of all the items on offer. It was definitely going to be difficult to choose from all of the mouth-watering options.


▼ This is where customers received their orders, and where they also prepared the Frozen S’mores by torching them right in font of you.


▼ While we were waiting for our order, we took a closer look around the shop. The wall on the first floor was decorated with colorful patterns drawn like subway lines.


▼ The tables and seats were done in a simple design and chic color.


▼ The self-serve drinking water area was labeled “Spring St.” in a style similar to that of New York subway stations.


▼ The staff were busy at work in the kitchen …


▼ … and behind the counter as well.


▼ Finally, it was time for our Frozen S’more to be torched!


▼ And our order was ready!


▼ In addition to the Frozen S’more, we ended up ordering cronuts, the DKAs, a croissant, a Mr. Roboto and a caffe latte. Mmmm … we couldn’t wait to try the treats!


▼ Here’s the buttery and rich looking DKA …


▼ … the playfully designed Mr. Roboto …


▼ … and the flaky yet substantial croissant.


▼And of course, we bought the cronuts, which by the way are limited to two per customer. The yellow glaze looks simply divine.


▼ The process of making cronuts is apparently quite complex and takes up to three days, but they certainly look worth the effort and time.


▼ Since there was so much sweetness for us to try here, we thought we would just have the Frozen S’more at the shop, as it was an item that had to be eaten right away, and then try the other items at home. This is the Frozen S’more, in all its sweet and toasted glory.


▼ You can’t really go wrong with a combination of ice cream, chocolate and marshmallow, can you? The ice cream using Tahitian vanilla was beautifully done, and the 100% honey marshmallow was not too sweet. Plus, the warm torched surface of the marshmallow and the cold ice cream mixing together inside our mouth was a delectable sensation.


▼ After finishing our Frozen S’more, we also took a peek at the cafe space on the second floor. The cafe space doesn’t open until 9am, however, so we were only able to take a quick look from outside the dining area.


▼ The walls of the stairwell leading to the second floor were decorated with colorful pop illustrations.


▼ At this point it looked like we were done with our visit, having finished enjoying the Frozen S’more and  the interior of the shop. As we left, we took a close look again at the exterior of the shop.


▼ You can see from the window display that in Japan, even internationally famous pastry chefs get moe-fied into cute comic-style characters!


▼ The line outside showed no signs of shortening.


▼ By the time we left at around 8:45, there were people lining up in an open parking lot like space next to the shop …


▼ … and onto the larger Omotesando Street. There were apparently about 250 people in line by that time.


▼ Once we got home, we had all the other items to try: the  Mr. Roboto and croissant …


▼ … and the cronut and DKA.


▼ Here’s Mr. Roboto sliced in half. Although this bread is supposed to be based on the Japanese melon bread, it didn’t taste too strongly of melon. Instead, the caramel black truffle custard filling gave it a very gentle sweet taste.


▼ The croissant was light and flaky, yet had plenty of substance


▼ And here’s the DKA. The rich buttery and caramelized flavor was amazing, with the flaky crust and tender interior providing delightfully contrasting textures.


▼ And just look at the cronut with the numerous delicate layers! When we bit into it, the flaky multi-layered texture felt incredible. Each month they’ll be offering a different flavor cronut, and this month in Japan, it’s the  “Hokkaido Milk Honey Ganache with Yuzu Lemon Curd” flavor. The sweetness of the milk and honey combined well with the zest of lemon and yuzu.


Unfortunately, the bakery’s other signature item, the Cookie Shot, which is basically milk served in a warm chocolate chip cookie glass (that description alone makes our mouth water), is served only from 3pm, so we weren’t able to try it for ourselves. It looks like we’ll just have to come back again! We already know we’ll be making plenty of visits in the future anyway, with a new cronut flavor on offer each month. And we haven’t even tried any of the cakes yet!

Well, we certainly had a sugar-filled blissful morning visiting Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo. All the items we tried were delightful, but we have to say we were particularly impressed with the soft yet complex and chewy texture of the cronut. It was a pure pleasure to sink our teeth into!

Thank you, Chef Dominique, for coming to Tokyo, because as we’ve said before and as we’ll most surely be saying again, we can never have too much sweetness in this world!

Reference: Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo website
Photos: © RocketNews24

Details for Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo
Address: 5-7-14, JINGUMAE, SHIBUYA-KU, TOKYO 150-0001
(〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前 5−7−14)
Tel: +81-3-3486-1329
Business Hours: 1F 8:00am – 7:00pm  2F 9:00am – 7:00pm