Next time you’re walking up Swanston St, you might notice a bit of a scrimmage. This isn’t the queue for a new iPhone. It’s a bunch of hungry cheesecake enthusiasts, standing in line to score an Uncle Tetsu Japanese cheesecake.
If that name means nothing to you, trust us—this is a seriously big deal. Uncle Tetsu has just arrived in Melbourne for the first time ever (Sydney got them a little while ago, but let’s not dwell on that). The brand started in Fukuoka in Japan in 1990, and has spread across Asia, Canada, the US and New Zealand like some sort of delicious zombie apocalypse. Their juggernaut success is pretty much down to a single menu item: a humble, golden brown, perfectly round cheesecake.
These cakes make people do strange things. Customers will queue, sometimes for hours, for a single bite. Most Tetsu stores have to institute a one-cheesecake-per-customer rule, just to keep up with demand. The cake itself is remarkably simple. Just seven ingredients: cream cheese, butter, egg, flour, milk, sugar and love (okay, so six ingredients). The consistency is lighter, fluffier, puffier than your typical western cheesecake. If a cheesecake and a cloud made love, nine months later you’d have one of these. The flavour is delicious in that really
bland subtle way that Japan does so well.
Of course the store stocks more than just cheesecakes (the honey madeleines have also gained a bit of a cult following), but let’s be realistic—you know what you’re gonna order.
Pro tip: the store is open till 11pm each day, but realistically the cheesecakes will be a distant memory by like...9pm. Rock up at 10:30pm craving a cheesecake and you’re gonna be sorely disappointed.
Image credit: Uncle Tetsu