Hokkaido Cult Favorite BAKE Cheese Tart Finally Opens In Manila
After rumors of its opening in Manila spread as early as mid-2016, BAKE Cheese Tart finally opens not one, but two locations in Manila. Its flagship store opened at SM’s The Podium Mall’s new wing in Mandaluyong last December 22, followed soon after by its second branch that opens January 11 in Rockwell Makati’s Powerplant Mall.
BAKE Cheese Tart’s freshly baked cheese tarts were born in Kinotoya, a long established Japanese bakery based in Sapporo, Hokkaido, when Shintaro Naganuma took over the pastry business from his father Akio, with the goal of improving the store’s sales. It was while tweaking the recipe of Kinotoya’s chilled blueberry cheese tarts that Naganuma realized how the tarts tasted better when eaten warm, fresh from the oven versus chilled. He further improved the product by just removing the blueberry topping and selling the cheese tarts plain.
The plain cheese tarts were an instant hit and regarded by many of its loyal customers as one of the best in Japan. So it did not come as a surprise when BAKE Cheese Tart decided to open its first separate store from Kintoya in Tokyo by July 2011.
My first encounter with BAKE cheese tarts was during a Hong Kong work trip in January 2016, where I myself experienced the long lines that one had to endure back then, to buy some of the cheese tarts at its stall in the basement level of Sogo Department Store in Causeway Bay. But after my first taste. I soon realized that it was well worth the wait, and I found myself lining up again the following day to buy more.
Cheese tart lovers who haven’t tried BAKE’s version need not worry about long lines here in Manila as the store usually just gets full during weekends or holidays. But not (yet?) as crazy busy as the Hong Kong branch.
For P95 a tart, expect an on-the-thick side, double-baked crust that’s like a less crumbly shortbread baked until crispy to form the crust, then filled with a baked cheese custard, mousse-like filling, with a distinct, tangy cheese taste that sets it apart from its less “cheesy” competition.
According to the BAKE Cheese Tart website, their tarts are made from three kinds of cheese— two made locally in Hokkaido (Betsukai cheese for its full-bodied taste and Hakodate cheese for its mild flavor), and one imported from France. “The cheese tarts are made with a complex layer of flavors that requires almost artistic detail,” Naganuma shared. “The cheese tarts may look simple but this recipe has been our best-selling product since. That takes years of practice and attention to perfect our recipe.”
Manila is the 9th country to open BAKE Cheese Tart stores. For more information, visit https://cheesetart.com/en, FB and IG: bakecheesetartph Follow the writer on IG and Twitter @cyrenedelarosa