Hidden in Plain Sight: Quetzal
Hidden in plain sight behind the Higashi-Takasu tram stop is Quetzal, a quiet yōgashi-ya, or Western confectioner. The former full-menu cafe now specializes in desserts only, offering freshly made tarts, cheesecake, and more, alongside a wide variety of elegant and colorful traditional French confections from sable cookies, florentines, lemon cakes, and meringues, to the rarer homemade nougat, a tender and chewy delight filled with nuts and candied cherries. [日本語]
Filled with soft, natural colors; from the antique wood tables to the linen curtains and use of dried flowers, Quetzal has a certain rustic (and photogenic) charm. After ordering the Berry Tart and an iced cafe au lait, I took my seat by the window. The tart arrived on a beautiful earthenware plate the color of sand, bringing out the bright colors of the fresh strawberries and blueberries that sat atop the tart next to a cloud of whipped cream.
Tarts are deceptively time and labor intensive. It takes at least two days to prepare the pâte sucrée, or sweet tart crust, and let it set before baking, and then baking again. But when tarts are done right, the results are sturdy, buttery perfection, and this is precisely what Quetzal serves — the pâte sucrée crust breaks into a crisp, sable-like crumble, a lovely contrast to the crème d’amande, a dense filling made of almond flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and, is this case, a hint of vanilla. The sweetness of the crème d’amande is tempered by the lively tartness of the berries, and the airy whipped cream on top brings the tart to a well-rounded finish.
This dedication to real, quality ingredients (no margarine or hard-to-pronounce-more-chemical-than-food ingredients here!) and to small-batch production is what makes Quetzal stand out as a leader in fine confections — just one bite and you’ll know the difference it makes. And yes, it will probably ruin you for other confectionaries. Much like the rare bird for which the shop is named, Quetzal is a rare gem in the jungle of modern mass-produced confections, and worth seeking out.
Be sure to check out their official website (Japanese) and be aware that they are a small shop with three tables, so please, be respectful and ask before taking pictures.
Hours: 10:00-19:00, Sun & National Holidays 10:00-18:00
Closed: Tuesdays (check their official website for details)
Address: Higashi-Takasu 1-4-7, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima City
Address in Japanese: 〒733-0871 広島県広島市西区西区高須１丁目４−７ 新谷ビル1F