Alright so like most Pho places “Pho hong ha” does not do delivery. My boyfriends Mom kindly drives out to buy us Pho from time to time and today was one of those mornings where I really looked forward to it after hearing we’re getting pho. Delicious pho right when you get out of bed, who doesn’t love that? WELL. I’m about to tell you how I hated it LOL.
What it comes with
The pho comes with two containers separating the noodles and topping from the soup. They put the noodles in the same Styrofoam container as the toppings. The soup come sin this tall cylindrical soup Styrofoam container like most soups.
Like most pho places, we get bean sprouts, Lime, hot sauce, hoisin sauce and lastly “rau thom” (the leafy herb thingies).
In the plastic bag that contained all the containers you get (very cheap quality) chopsticks and a plastic soup spoon. You poor the soup into a bowl you won and microwave it (for me approx 5mins to make it hot enough to cook the tripe and rare beef etc) then add in the toppings you need to cook and the noodles.
I’ve had this pho multiple times from the same place, but all from take out. My boyfriend (taking care of me♥) Microwaved my soup for me because I just woke up at the time and was quite grumpy. When it was done I sat down at the table preparing to add my toppings and noodles in when I noticed the color of the soup…This is where I thought to myself… Uh oh…
What i’m about to tell you happened once before (twice now). The broth/soup was very light in color which got me worried. Boy was I right. The broth/soup tasted bland. Okay, bland isn’t the right word…”nothing” seems like a better fit for it. It literally tastes like watered down broth but with the ratio gone wrong. I’d say maybe 60%-75% water. No amount of Hoi sin sauce ( my boyfriend tried) or Sriracha sauce ( I tried) could save it. With the soup being tasteless it goes without saying that the noodles become tasteless too. There goes my wonderful Pho morning 😦 .
Last time when this happened to me I was more upset than I am now (maybe I got used to it i don’t even know). I let it go because it was affecting my mood ( can I get a P.M. and an S?) at the time and because I thought that it was a one time thing. People mess up at some point right? Now that it happened again I don’t think I’ll purchase from them again…unless i’m in the area I might pop in for coffee. Vietnamese coffee is so GOOD. I’m going to tell people around me to not purchase pho from them (as petty as it sounds) as I did go and look up reviews myself and a lot of them didn’t seem very nice. I also took a peek at the menu while I was wasting my time staring at my bowl of tasteless pho, Pho hong ha doesn’t seem to have prices that I can really justify . Sigh.
Packaging was very like every other take out place …not much to like or dislike to be honest.
If you just want to read about how the actual cake tastes you can skip through all the details about the store and such. (Go towards the bottom)
I never went in the Matcha cafe because it literally closed in front of us right when we crossed the street.
How I ended up buying Uncle Tetsu
So Uncle Tetsu has been around downtown Toronto for roughly a year now (opened in March 2015). Until Today I have actually never tried it. My friends and I were in the area today (just hanging out) and my boyfriend lost track of time, we ended up not seeing this movie (zootopia). As we were wandering around outside the Eaton Centre we passed by Uncle Tetsu and my Boyfriend (being the sweet tooth and foodie he is) yelled out “I WANT CHEESE CAKE!”… So here we are…
Just look at him…
Yes the guy in blue
Waiting Proccess (outside) first impressions
The first thing I noticed was the long line (of course). The hype actually died down, supposedly anyways, I guess we picked the wrong night for Cake? I’m not sure how long we waited in line but it shouldn’t be over 20 minutes. Before going I thought how ridiculous it was to wait so long just for a Cake that we might dislike… I was wrong. I actually enjoyed the cake but i’ll tell you that later. So to justify the long wait for these cakes.. they make 12 (they say it’s ten cakes in case some of the cakes don’t turn out well?) cakes every 10-15 minutes to ensure freshness. Not to mention that they only have three ovens stacked on top of each other in that small kitchen. If I recall correctly it says on the window outside ( forgot to take a picture while I was waiting in the cold LOL) that they don’t like to pretend that their cakes are fresh. Of course that wasn’t the only thing that it said. They stated on the piece of paper stuck onto the window that it is one cake per person only. They had to also state that pets, spiritual people and imaginary friends don’t count towards an extra cake (Friends and I found that hilarious).
Inside the Store
After the long ( not that long) wait outside in the Canadian winter cold 😦 , We finally step inside the small store. Ahhhhh~~ Boy does it smell nice in there. Of course the smell wasn’t the first thing I noticed when I stepped my foot inside. It was the warmth of the store that saved me from the Canadian Weather (LOL). Anyways moving on… Despite passing by it countless times and knowing for a fact that it’s a small store,->
It seemed even smaller inside. It could be because of all the people crowding around me though.->
Apparently before the place became “Uncle Tetsu, It was a convenience store ( I wouldn’t know or remember i have terrible memory). As you can see in the picture, they have an open kitchen kinda look. You can see all the employees working on your cakes and such.
The wall opposite of the counter has many many things for you to read as you wait for your turn in line or your cake ( if you can actually see through the crowd). It displays some history about Uncle Tetsu, News paper clippings and pictures of Cows and eggs symbolizing their use of fresh, high quality and carefully selected ingredients. Apparently Uncle Tetsu has had a 25 year history (only! 0_0) in Japan and they already have stores in China. Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and now in Canada! Of course til today they still make all their goods by hand and Fresh.
Back to the counter~The top side has a T.V. that plays whatever song is on at the time and on the right is the menu. You can see Uncle tetsu’s little mini avatar being the symbol on the first chalk board.
Under the glass counter you can see this adorable little display of utter, cows and eggs which I couldn’t stop staring at for some reason. There is also a display of their honey Madeleines and “Angel Hat”
I did ask out of curiosity about the Angel hat. “What is it?” I asked. I could’ve worded it a little better I mean I read the little card so I knew it was a cake with cheese in it… Which is what he told me. He did tell me that it’s “denser” than the uncle tetsu’s cheesecake. “whatever that means” is what I thought at the time. Little did I know the uncle tetsu cheesecake is very soft which I’ll talk about later. Compared to the &inch Uncle tetsu cheesecake the Angel Hat is only 4 inches still priced at $10 is shaped like a gumdrop or should i say “hat”. It uses more than one type of cheese so I’d imagine it to be more cheesy than the Uncle Tetsu cheesecake.
I also asked about the “Rusk” that was on the menu, though he didn’t really give me a detailed description… He just said what was on the label and that was that it’s made from the cheesecake. I went on the tetsu site and it doesn’t say either…It just tells you the location it is available at so I think that it’s just a piece of the cheesecake in a small slice in case you don’t want to buy the whole thing. (Not sure)
My boyfriend passed me 10 bucks so I can get another cake ( so he gets two). He was intending on using debit, but for some reason the cashier let him buy two…? I don’t know if it was a one time thing or because it’s not insanely busy, so he inserted his Debit card and paid first. They actually didn’t charge us tax even with debit the total was exactly $20, so 10 per cake. one cake was done but we had to wait an extra 7mins for the next batch to get our second cake.
My two friends actually decided to get a Honey Madeleine as they accompanied us for the cake and it so happens to be on sale at the time. Usually one Madeleine is $2.22 but
they got a box (4 Madeleines) for roughly $5. As we were outside waiting for my boyfriend (who is waiting for the 2nd cake) I was having a smoke when my friends offered a Madeleine to me. I refused it naturally as I disliked Madeleines….or sweets in general. I did pinch a piece off to try it though. It wasn’t as sweet as your typical Madeleine would be nor was it shaped the same. They looked more like japanese cream puffs or muffins rather than the french shell shaped ones.I didn’t really taste the honey that much either which is fine by me. My friend Jason enjoyed eating the top part but I personally likes the insides as it was quite soft.
Finally onto the Cheesecake~!☻♡☺♥
Lets talk about the packaging and looks first then we’ll get to the taste.
Here is what the bad looks like from the front and back (very cute). Most of you probably already know what the bag looks like though 😛
Front of the Bag
Side of the Bag
If you buy the cheesecake and peek into your bag you would notice that there are two
holes. When I noticed this I inspected the box and found out how fragile the box was! I’m not that bothered by it but I’m just glad I knew before putting anything else in the back (we had some left over food from the food court at Eatons). So just a little warning for those of you who plan to buy it. The box isn’t that sturdy so don’t stack anything on top of it (the two cakes stacked on top of each other just fine).
I think the reason for the two holes is because of the moisture from the cake. Water droplets accumulate on the top of the lid cardboard lid but don’t worry they wrap your cake in this…film/wrap (thingy). I’m guessing it also absorbs the oil surrounding the cake.
You open the box from the side and they use a piece of tape to make sure the flap stays in the slit.
Below is pictures to show you how to move the cake out instead of try to scoop it out.
NOW ONTO THE TASTE AND MY PERSONAL OPINION ♥
My cake didn’t turn out to be ALL brown but let’s be real how often is it going to be perfect. Personally I don’t care☻
To be honest I really dislike sweets and I am very picky with cakes due to that reason. western cakes are just too sweet… I was a little annoyed that my boyfriend decided to buy two cakes at a go without even knowing how it tasted or without knowing if he’ll even like it or not. Before even tasting this I already told myself I wouldn’t like it so no one is going to help him finish the cake (boy am I wrong).
I imaged this cake like the cake image on the right ——> Super cheesy and super gooey. Yuck. I don’t like cheese and I’m a little lactose, I can have milk in my coffee not cream. I can’t drink a whole glass of milk but I can have ice cream (small amount). I can eat poutine with cheese in it…anyways you get the point. I‘m a little lactose. Naturally I
wouldn’t be expecting myself to like the cake because its two things I dislike combined (cake and cheese).
My friends tried the cake with my boyfriend at a table in the food court by the movies and suggested I try some, and so I did. BAM!!!~~~♥ I was in LOVE. It’s not even an exaggeration. The description on the site pretty much matched and sums it up. the flavor wasn’t too cheesy nor was it too sweet for my liking. Unlike the typical western cheesecake this cake was more on the souffle side. I honestly believe it’s the texture that pulls people in. the texture is moist yet fluffy and definitely airy! To achieve this they actually separate the yolks from the white and whip it into a foam. On the site it says it could melt into your mouth…let me tell you it’s almost there LOL! The texture goes with the taste very well, hand in hand. What’s great about this cake is there are no preservatives or additives.
Now if you’re like me and you also dislike cheese and sweets please give this a try. I am really glad I stepped out of my safety bubble to try this because now I can eat and enjoy “cake” just like everyone else! Of course I had to deal with my boyfriend giving me the ” I told you so” crap. “I knew you would like it” (pfft whatever you say).
Now some people (like me) would probably wonder if it’s worth waiting in line for it…and to be 100% honest…no. err…well… depends. If it’s a warm day , you’re in the area and you happen to see that the line isn’t too bad then sure.If it’s during the summer and you think you can fry an egg on the sidewalk…then no LOL. I personally dislike winter more than summer but I guess getting inside to the warm cake haven makes up for it. ☻☺♥
I really enjoyed looking at all the stuff on display. I would’ve gave it 5 stars if the place was more roomy though they can’t really do anything about that.
Packaging was very cute and simple (which I like). Just wish the box was more sturdy since the cakes are quite fragile.
No complaints. very polite.
FANTASTIC (wow fantastic baby…dance!)
Reasonable. No complaints.
Location I went to:
Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake
598 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 1M5
Hours : Mon-Sun 8am-11pm
Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Matcha Cafe
596 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 1M5
Hours : Mon-Sun 10am-9pm