Eating & Drinking

Uncle Tetsu opens on Elgin

No need to head to Toronto anymore for the those decadent Japanese cheesecakes that see devotees lined up out the door for Uncle Tetsu’s trademark sweet treat.

It’s a welcome addition to the scene — locals got a taste for Japanese cheesecakes and tarts from the long-lived Boko Bakery on Elgin and the delightfully different Uji Café, which enjoyed a short, one-year run on Rideau Street. Unfortunately, both closed within the past year.

Uncle Tetsu just happens to be setting up in the former home of the much-loved Boko Bakery on Elgin, so will enjoy the benefit of the busy setting and thousands of customers who associate the space with Japanese treats.

So, what should Japanophiles and homesick expats look for? The cheesecake, obviously. For newbies, Japanese cheesecake is fluffier than the North American version. It’s also is less sweet and with a subtler texture and flavour that resembles a pillowy soft soufflé (the cheese mixture is whisked with eggs to create that lightness).

The Uncle Tetsu bakery chain, which was founded in Japan in 1990, is truly a bakery phenom. It has more than 70 stores beyond Japan (mostly in Asia), with the first Canadian shop launching in Toronto in 2015 (yes, Toronto does get everything first).

Find It: 280 Elgin St.

Open: Daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hot Tip: Try the cheesecake two ways to discover your sweet spot. While some swear the only way to eat an Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake is still warm from the oven, others say it tastes best when it has been chilled in the fridge. You be the judge.

Hot Tip #2: Expand your horizons (though not till after you’ve tried the cheesecake, of course). Also on the menu? Honey madeleines and cheesecake rusks.

Hot Tip #3: Respect the limit! When it’s busy (and it’s usually busy) staff implement a one-cheesecake-per-customer rule. Seriously. Says so right on the FAQs page. So if you feel like you need more than one, better get a friend to join you in the line to buy an extra.