Food

Japan's famous 'melting cheesecake' now in Manila

The first Pablo is in Robinsons Ermita and the lines are already long.
IMAGE Sasha Lim Uy
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A video of a “melting cheesecake” went viral in ripples throughout 2015. It was a mouthwatering one-minuter of a large, golden tart, with a bronzed crust that you could tell was crisp even through the screen. Inside, sunshiny cream that we’re not sure qualifies as cake; the word “Pablo” emblazoned on the glistening surface.

It took Suyen two years to get this act together. Rumors that the revered Japan favorite would open shop in the Philippines started long before that and the first board-ups were spotted at the beginning of 2015. But fans of this cheese tart knew that Pablo is best enjoyed fresh and there is no rushing that luscious gush of rich, tart, gooey cheese filling. That patience was rewarded on September 14, when the first Manila outpost opened in Robinsons Place Manila (Ermita).

Pablo was officially born in 2011, but its history stretches much further. In 2004, Masamitsu Sakimoto and his two brothers started Patisserie Brothers, which specialized in Western-inspired desserts. They strived to do more than simply develop stunning flavors; they aimed to astound. Guided by the Japanese principle of odorokashi (where products have to come with an element of surprise), the brothers came up with their now signature cheese tarts, available in either rare or medium.

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With freshness as the highlight of their product, Patisserie Brothers had to adjust their prep and service style, eventually paving way for the Pablo that everyone craves today.

With outlets all over Asia (25 in Japan), we were told that there is approximately one cheese tart sold every seven seconds. Once you’ve been acquainted with Pablo, you’ll know that this is hardly an exaggeration. Two hours prior to opening, Suyen even set up a starting line about 20 yards away from the storefront (and already snaking through the aisles).


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A nonstop operation


These bite-sized tarts aren't always available.


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The regular Pablo tart is around the size of a dessert plate. The Chocolate and Matcha cost P699/each.


The plain is priced at P599 a pop.

The tarts are curiously addictive-light and rewarding at the same time, with enough flavor variety to intrigue the palate. All boxes come with a "best consumed immediately" label. The recommended Cheese Tart (in rare) holds up for about six hours before the whole thing sinks to the bottom of the package (still delicious though). The cheese makes itself known through the subtle tartness in the filling; a trace of salt keeps everything balanced. Parcels of Sabrel cheese cookies are great for both seriously lonesome snacking and as gifts. The soft-serve ice cream is an under-appreciated must-try, while a Japanese coffee company supplies bold, bitter brews that work best with the tarts.

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A study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed that cheese could be as addictive as drugs thanks to an ingredient called casein, which releases opiates called casomorphines. Pablo does more than this. Whether you’ve simply been fascinated by that snippet of a video or you’ve actually taken that first satisfying bite or you’ve endured the long lines and the LSS-inducing “Pa-bu-lo, Pa-bu-loh!” jingle, the effect just doesn’t leave you.

Pablo is at G/F Robinsons Place Manila, Pedro Gil Street corner Adriatico Street, Manila (take the Pedro Gil entrance).

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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