Friday, June 29, 2012 0

Shiso Tree Cafe - Japanese-Italian Pasta at J-Town

By kc in ,

I've been to Shiso Cafe so many times now for the past year, I've actually personally witnessed a change in their quality. And it's about time I've finally blogged about them.

Shiso Tree Cafe is located at J Town, right across from the grocery store. It's been referred to as a Japanese-Italian restaurant, which is something we don't have at all in Toronto quite frankly. Since I absolutely LOVED the pasta that I had in Tokyo one and a half years ago, I was super excited about Shiso Cafe!

I also had my birthday dinner here last year, where we booked off both of these tatami rooms and were able to sit 25 people. They have renovated since then, so there's only 1 tatami room left.

Now these pictures are from my first visit back in let's see... April last year? Every pasta comes with a complimentary salad. I really like their salad dressing - flavourful, tangy and light. I heard it can also be bought at the grocery store across.

Nori Fries (seaweed) ($5). It was very average, not crispy enough so we wanted some dipping sauces with it. The white sauce on the left is mayo, which was $1.50 (!!!) extra.

The pasta entrees also come with a piece of very crispy, toasted garlic bread.

Shoyu and Mushroom Wafu Pasta ($11).

Sukiyaki Wafu Pasta ($13) for the beef lovers.

Shiso clam white wine wafu pasta ($13). I remember having watched the Korean drama "Pasta" earlier that year, which is when I became obsessed with vongole and ordered this xD

The pasta set also includes CAKE (the same ones sold at the J Town Bakery Nakamura)!

This is THE best cake they have, hands down: rare cheesecake. Whenever I come to Shiso, I always make sure they save a piece of their rare cheesecake for me at the beginning of the meal! haha They have sold out some of their cakes before so you can never be too safe!

What makes this cheesecake stand out is the piece of lemon shortbread on top. It's light, it's refreshing and just the right amount of citrus flavour. With the addition of a moist cheesecake and generous (but not over the top) whipped cream, this is WHAT YOU SHOULD ORDER!!!

À la carte, each slice of cake is $5.

Chocolate mousse cake.


In May 2011, I went to Shiso again with JT. I think it was one of our bet meals.
Tangy complimentary salad.

Homemade mushroom soup with croutons
We had two of their pasta sets in addition to our pasta entrees, which consists of the salad, soup of the day, a piece of toast and a slice of cake. Basically, the pasta set gives you a soup + cake in addition to the complimentary items you get already.

Carbonara Bacon Cream Pasta ($11).
I LOVE a good carbonara. A creamy sauce deliciously coating every strand of pasta with bacon pieces sprinkled sporatically. What's not to love? And surprisingly enough, the one that made me fell in love with Carbonara in the first place was in Tokyo!

Here's the one that I had in Harajuku, Tokyo. IT WAS SO GOOD T___T

Just for comparison, here's another pasta dish that we had in Tokyo too. LOOK AT THAT YUMMY SAUCE!

However, I found the one at Shiso Tree didn't have enough sauce. I also missed that raw egg in Carbonara (I ADORE runny eggs. It makes my world go round). Overall, there just wasn't enough of that creaminess and flavour.

Smoked Salmon à la Crème Vodka Pasta ($12) with dill and salmon roe. I love the name of this dish! Which is why every time I look at their menu, I always end up ordering carbonara or this smoked salmon pasta >_>. While good, I still think it could be more creamy.

Err not sure what cake this is. But do enjoy this picture of it.

Okonomiyaki Fries ($7?). It was fries + okonomiyaki sauce + mayo + bonito flakes. Quite simple and you can make it yourself at home.. but it was still quite tasty because of the sauces.

Last year, I bought 2 online vouchers that was $15 for $30 value at Shiso Tree. I didn't have the chance to use it till now (right before it expired >_> I really should stop buying so many restaurant vouchers...) and was able to compare the quality of their food to 6 months and a year ago.

Generally speaking, the pastas are OK. Not amazing, not terrible either, simply alright or if you're fobby, okay la. However, my two recent visits to Shiso Tree proved there is a slight decline in quality. Although I was never blown away by them even in the beginning, recently the food has been subpar. Or perhaps the hype is over and I no longer feel the dishes are anything special? Either way, Toronto lacks eateries of this type of cuisine, hence Shiso Tree is still definitely a great addition to the city's gastronomic landscape.

P.S. There's a cute Japanese waitress there that is super nice! Love talking to her every time I visit.

Shiso Tree Cafe
3160 Steeles Ave. East - Unit 1
Markham, ON
(905) 479-9319

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Shiso Tree Cafe on Urbanspoon

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