I have a friend, Y, who is so obsessed with Matcha. He is known to drink green tea powder-flavored water all day, caffein-fueled sleepless nights be damned. So when there are newly opened Japanese dessert places that specialize in matcha green tea, we are sure to flock over ASAP. This week, it was my turn to propose a new dessert venue I found via Instagram, Ikigai Kakigori Café.
I didn’t have any expectations coming in. All I know is that there was a delicious-looking giant bowl of shaved ice dessert I found on social media, and I wanted in. I showed the photo to Y and M, and they were immediately on-board. (M, not much of a green tea lover, was more interested in checking the place out than having dessert there.)
True to its name, Ikigai Kakigori, is perfectly café-sized. There are about six small tables (some found outside), plus bar seating. For the current menu offerings of coffee, ice cream, and various flavors of shaved ice, that’s an aptly-sized restaurant. And with its wood design elements and Japanese knickknacks, it does give off an old-fashioned sushi bar feel without the actual sushi.
We ordered just one big bowl of Matcha Shaved Ice (PHP 250), though you can get a smaller size for all flavors. It was presented beautifully. Sticky rice balls carefully lined up, a generous helping of adzuki beans, and a covering of green tea syrup (with extra served on the side) make it look too good to resist, even for M who doesn’t care for green tea. It didn’t convert him, but he did enjoy a few bites.
The dessert itself is subtly flavored, despite the deceptively vibrant color and the extra helping of syrup on the side. It’s milky shaved ice with a strongly-flavored green tea syrup that isn’t too sweet. The beans are at that halfway point between soft-formed and bean paste. But when eating a spoonful containing all the ingredients, the state of the beans wasn’t a big deal to me.
The inside is all milk shaving, so the extra syrup is best poured after you’ve finished the top layer already. Otherwise, you just get strong matcha at the top and milk at the bottom.
Verdict: The limited menu makes it strictly a kakigori and ice cream dessert place, and I wish they had other matcha-themed desserts (cheesecake, sponge cake, cookies, etc.). Just so you’d have more reasons to visit. But the interiors are done up well in their simplicity. It makes for a great hangout for smaller groups.
Ikigai Kakigori Cafe
305 Pos building, Sct. Madriñan St corner Tomas Morato, Quezon City, Metro Manila