Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: baked cheesecake from Rikuro no Ojisan.
The name ('Uncle Rikuro') is a very famous one in Osaka. Their cheesecake is a highlight, but honestly everything they make is popular. Pudding, banana and pudding cake, matcha cake, apple pie...
(One other thing you can buy at Rikuro is their cake roll. It's called the Rik-roll. I laughed.)
There's a branch in Namba, fairly close to the river. One of 9 in the region. When I made a split-second choice to buy a Rikuro cheesecake there, the queue was like this:
And that's at 9pm on a Saturday night. Walk by any time the shop's open and it'll look pretty similar. I don't think I've ever seen that particular Rikuro open without a line outside.
Fresh cheesecakes were wobbling off the production line at the speed of light. They had to be quick - someone in front of me ordered a whole batch of 6. Well, there went any prospect of getting 2, the guy behind me looks incensed. How dare anyone be so opportunistic when it comes to dessert? So I stuck with just a single cheesecake.
I bounded home, ready to review this for you straight away. Striking while the cheesecake is hot, as you might say.
And then I bumped into some friends at the door to my apartment building, and those foody plans went straight to hell. As did my cheesecake.
The 'just-baked' look is rounded, bouncy and super light. Like they were when I bought one:
After a night in the fridge, my cheesecake looked more like I just hoiked it out of a hot bath.
Wrinkly, like a proper ojisan.
The texture is very light, as is the flavour. It doesn't feel rich, or difficult to eat. It'd be easy to eat a whole cheesecake in one go.
Well, maybe if it tasted a bit less egg-y. Yes, I know there's meant to be egg in cheesecake. But, given the name, when the main flavour in a plain cheesecake isn't cheese that's a little concerning. The taste of the Rikuro version is just bordering on scrambled egg. It's not overly sweet.
I was regretting not eating a slice back when it was still warm. Luckily I didn't have to go back and fetch another. The box suggested popping chilled slices into the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
In the charming illustration, a slice of wrinkly cake magically became round and fluffy once more. Before it went in, my cake looked like this:
After 20 seconds, it looked like this:
And after a futher 20 seconds for good measure, it looked like this.
Yeah, the cake gave up and slumped, defeated, across the plate. It was, mercifully, now warm. And tasted like warm scrambled egg instead.
One Rikuro no Ojisan cheesecake is something in the region of 1,400 calories. Don't worry, you can't really taste them. With other cheesecakes, from the first bite you can feel the extra kilos sliding towards your hips. This is so fluffy and 'not rich' that 1,400 calories feels unreasonably heavy. Like eating an Aero and pretending it's only half the chocolate...
Verdict: 8/10, mostly good but the egg is over-egged.