It’s 11am, Uncle Tetsu hasn’t even opened its doors to the public and queues have already begun to snake outside the George Street store.
Sydneysiders are here to get their hands on the famous Japanese cheesecake that supposedly tastes unlike any cheesecake you’ve ever tried before.
The fluffy, sponge-like dessert has been the talk of the town, so the Be team decided to check it out for themselves and see what all the fuss is about.
Made using all Australian ingredients, Uncle Tetsu’s renowned cheesecake was born when the master himself, restauranter Tetsushi Mizokami, came across Australian cream cheese during his travels.
It was love at first sight for Mizokami, who began to import the fresh product in bulk to his hometown of Hakata in Japan, home to the first Uncle Tetsu cheesecake store in the world.
Now an international dessert sensation, Uncle Tetsu’s super soft, rich and creamy cheesecake is available in almost every country in Asia, as well as Canada, the US, and since July this year, in Sydney, Australia (with another shop to come!)
Be was extremely lucky to skip the queue and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the cheesecake factory, and of course, taste the creation, both hot and chilled.
The flavourful cheesecake is baked fresh all day every day, and is handmade by trained Japanese pastry chefs in a compact kitchen in the city’s CBD.
The efficient employees pump out about 2000 cakes a day until close and hungry customers are limited to one cheesecake per person to help dissipate the lingering lines.
The whole cooking process happens on show behind the glass windows and as you walk into the shop, the smell of baked cheesecake is so potently delicious, it's like sticking your head straight in the oven.
So, what separates Uncle Tetsu’s creamy creation from all the other yummy cheesecakes out there?
Well, this cheesecake has a double life so to speak.
Eaten hot and fresh out the oven, the cheesecake tastes like an omelette and a sponge cake had a baby. It’s super light, fluffy as can be and melts in your mouth with each bite. Some Be staff found this quite unusual, while others loved its unique texture and subtle eggy flavour.
When it’s been chilled down in the fridge, the cake changes consistency entirely, tasting more like a regular cheesecake with a slightly denser texture.
So how is the Japanese creation made? Butter, cream cheese and milk are melted together then transferred to a mixer, where egg yolks and plain flour are then whisked into the mixture.
In another bowl, egg whites are whisked till soft peaks with sugar and folded together with the yellowish cream cheese mixture by hand, quite literally!
The bakers dip their arms elbow deep in the mixture and whip away! If you did this every day, there’d be no need to hit the gym - folding the mix is an entire arm workout in itself.
However, this traditional Japanese technique of whisking the egg whites separately and incorporating them gently by hand for aeration, gives the cake its unique spongy texture.
After being poured into lined tins sitting in a water bath, the cake goes in a 180 degrees celsius oven for 45 minutes and out comes a baked sun-kissed cheesecake that fills the room with the most scrumptious scent your nostrils have ever inhaled.
They then brand the hot cakes with the adorable Uncle Tetsu logo and package them straight away, ready to be handed directly to the customer.
The verdict? While it might not be for everyone, hot and fresh, straight out the oven is the go. You’ve eaten a chilled, thick and creamy cheesecake before but have you ever dug into the delight when it’s still steaming? We didn't think so.
This is the beauty of Uncle Tetsu’s creation and why sinking your teeth into his insanely delicious and distinctive Japanese cheesecake is like walking on cloud nine.