Azabu Sabo

Our first taste of Azabu Sabo was its rightfully acclaimed Hokkaido ice cream, but we soon found that there’s more to Azabu Sabo in its trendy tea café that serves “authentic Japanese desserts and unique cuisine.” Our cold appetizer, the tangy seafood salad, was appetite-inducing. From the wide range of mains that included bento meals, udon and ramen, we tried the torinan hirahira udon, a warm, smooth and satisfying bowl of flat rice noodles in light soya sauce soup with grilled chicken and leek.

But the main draws here are its sweet treats. Our red bean milk shake was wonderfully thick and creamy, and the green tea ice cream with dumplings and red bean paste was a good combination of tart matcha and subtly-sweet red bean. But our favorite was the hot-ball with butter sauce—we liked it so much that we’ve designated it to be the “must-eat” for future visits. Service was polite enough, but the wait staff seemed to be playing peekaboo with patrons—hiding behind the walls, then re-emerging intermittently. That said, Azabu Sabo proves that a nice Japanese meal doesn’t need to be all about sushi and sky-high bills.