Japonaise Cafe and Bakery, Brookline

In my adolescence, my father, a baguette aficionado, took me to Japonaise Bakery to buy baguettes . Like clockwork, he would always use french bread for his lunch sandwiches. On Sundays, he would have the ends of the baguette with a bit of butter or brie with a coffee.

As I salivated at Japonaise’s glass counter, my dad realized I wouldn’t leave without my own little treat and he let me choose one item to enjoy. That time, I picked a slice black forest cake. I remember it being super chocolately. The cake was adorned with chocolate shavings on the exterior, fluffy from the whipped cream and slightly tart from fruit filling.

Japonaise serves French pastries with a Japanese twist and the first location has been in the Brookline area since 1985. We went on a Japonaise bender and purchased a nice variety of items for a proper tasting.

We picked up several Azuki Creams, a croissant baked with sweet red beans (azuki), filled with light whip cream and dusted with powdered sugar. We took the suggestion of the counter staff, we also purchased an Ichigo Cream, a croissant layered with our soft, silky custard cream and fresh strawberry slices.

On the right panel is the Melon Pan, a light japanese sweet bread covered with a cookie-like outer layer resembling the shape of melon.  On the right of the Melon pan is the An Donut, a soft, sugar-encrusted donut filled with sweet red beans (azuki) cost us $1.65 and was featured in the Boston Globe. I saw the almond croissants dusted in confectioner sugar, all the doughnuts and rolls and had a difficult time editing my choices.

Although we didn’t pick up a Fruit Tart for $4.95, we couldn’t help but notice the French pate sable biscuit lined with Belgian chocolate and filled with custard cream. The fresh fruits including strawberries and kiwi looked so fresh and tantalizing. Most of the tarts I have enjoyed do not have the Belgiuan chocolate lining, which I think is quite unique.

Japonaise also has a nice variety of Asian candies such including flavored gums (like Chicklets), jellies, assorted Pocky and Hi-Chew.

Menu board

The multigrain bread was so good as a pressed grilled cheese, ham and cheese panini and toasted with a slather of soy margarine. I would make special trips to Japonaise just for the multigrain and apparently other customers do. We picked the last of the fifteen loaves that were in the store.

L to R, cream filled pastry, curry donut and Multigrain, wheat, white, oat and rye flour bread made with sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds.

The curry donut was a lightly fried donut filled with homemade japanese-style curry full of beef, onions and carrots. This was by far one of the best items we tried. It was likened to a katsu curry flavor filling stuffed inside fried dough. We also had a bun filled with pastry cream which was light and sweet.

Inside the cream bun and the curry donut

Our two other favorites were the Thai Ice Tea with Boba bubbles and a slice of California Dream. The ice tea was a lovely orange hue and we loved the chewiness the boba provided. The California Dream slice tasted exactly like a creamsicle, creamy, tart citrus and amazingly light mouthfeel.

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