With the onslaught of foreign restaurant franchises popping up on Pakistani high-streets, it’s only the most innovative of them all, which have managed to win over the die-hard foodie crowd. From ‘Instagrammable’ gelatos to fusion cuisine, it’s all been a fad quickly catching up with people. However, amidst all the new options, the one that seems to have made it big with the sweet tooth connoisseurs of Lahore, is Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake.
Part of a Japanese dessert chain, Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake originally began in 1990 in Fukuoka, Japan and and was founded by Tetsushi Mizokami – the namesake for Uncle Tetsu. It soon became a major brand, and today, has more than 70 shops across China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and Canada.
The Lahore flagship branch on Mian Memood Ali Kasuri road – which is the first of many to come in the country – has been aesthetically kept in adherence to their international outlook, which features warm shades of red mixed with an open kitchen that’s been done up in white and brown woodwork. Adding onto it is also a Sakura tree in the backyard, which serves as the perfect fusion where the Japanese culture meets the Mughal heritage of Lahore.
Onto the menu in detail, Uncle Tetsu’s is largely a cheesecake specialist, and thus, features the soft and airy desserts at the forefront at about PKR 900 for a cheesecake round. Along with it, the offerings also include biscotti – which have been rebranded as cheese sticks in Pakistan, madeleines, a variety of latte, and a small range of ice-blended drinks that are all under the range of PKR 500 each.
To try out the menu, we chose to go with of course, their cheesecake, done two ways – warm, which brings out an eggier flavour, and cold – which brings out an airy, sweet cheese flavour, which visibly is the crowd-favourite. Along with it, we ordered their cheese sticks, which are basically biscotti-style cuts of crunchy, twice-baked cookies made from their signature cheesecake, and their hazelnut latte.
Baking in front of the consumer, the cheesecakes are especially branded with the signature Uncle Tetsu logo before being served and one is asked if they want it to be served warm or cold – depending on personal choice. For us, we were served both the cheesecake with a delay in the middle so that both the difference of flavours could be judged.
While the warmer one does in fact, taste eggier and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it brings out a delicate mix of savoury and sweet that is surely a taste made for the books. It not only is light and airy as they proclaim it to be, but also is a welcome change to the extra-sweet, gluttony-inducing desserts the Pakistani market is accustomed to.
On the other hand, the colder or rather, cooler version of the cheesecake is also not as sweet as usually cheesecakes are, and instead, metes out a subtler sweet taste, which can be compared to a light caramel flavour. Adding onto the taste is also the cheesiness of the cake, which keeps the taste on a borderline savoury tangent instead of making it sugary-sweet. In many ways, this is far from the sort of cheesecake one finds in bakeries around Pakistan – which may or may not be something everyone likes.
Moving onto the cheese sticks, the taste of the biscotti also is quite similar to cheesecakes in regards to how it changes. When it’s consumed warm, it doesn’t provide a sweeter taste and perhaps, be used as complementary to coffee. While when it’s consumed on room temperature, it definitely is the perfect go-to snack to pick up. However, it’s served in a portable plastic cup, which makes it really non environment friendly; the franchise definitely needs to change this.
In regards to the latte, this probably is the weakest point of the whole menu, as the coffee does not provide any sort of kick or flavour that is expected out of it. In contrast, it was rather milky, and felt weak. Perhaps, this is where Uncle Tetsu’s could work more on and aim to achieve the same level of quality as they have with the cheesecakes.
That said, Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake is still definitely a place to try if the standard fare of desserts has bored one to death. Plus, at prices which are nominal, it’s surely worth trying at least once.