At 10am yesterday, 1 Utama was only beginning to stir. Shutters were being rolled up, sales people were readying themselves for the day ahead and a few early shoppers were taking slow strolls through the still-quiet mall.
But outside the Pablo outlet, on the second floor of the Old Wing, things were quite different. The famed Japanese cheese tart chain was opening its first outlet in Malaysia, and in anticipation of the traffic surge, barriers were set up to control the expected crowd.
At 10am, a considerable queue had already formed. By noon, rows and rows of people were standing patiently in line, waiting to get their hands on Pablo's delicious cheese tarts (the first 100 in the queue even bagged free tarts!).
Standing proudly in front of the store was the dapper, handsome Masamitsu Sakimoto, the founder of Pablo, who flew in for the store launch.
Sakimoto is used to queues snaking outside his stores and says he has a worldwide goal: "I want to make everybody fall in love with Pablo!"
In this sense, his job is a pretty easy one. Pablo (the name is derived from the artist Pablo Picasso) first opened in Osaka, Japan in 2011 and became an instant hit. Since its inception, the brand has sold six million of its classic cheese tarts!
In Malaysia, the 1 Utama outlet is the first of a planned 15 outlets, slated to open in the next three years.
On the menu are its classic freshly baked cheese tarts and chocolate and green tea cheese tarts, premium cheese tarts, cheese tart crunchies, soft serve cheese ice cream and a whole host of cheesy concoctions.
Mini tarts go for RM8.90 (S$2.85) while the larger freshly baked cheese tarts (about the size of a small cake) are priced at RM45.90.
What's missing however, is the one tart everybody is hoping to dig into: that ooey, gooey, creamy soft-centre tart that's melting hearts all over Japan.
In Japan, customers are able to order their cheese tarts according to two degrees of doneness - rare and medium rare - while in Malaysia, only the medium rare option is available.
The medium rare has a soft-slightly firm texture balance. According to Sakimoto, the medium rare cheese tart variants are what Pablo offers in all its overseas outlets as it can stay at room temperature for a longer period.
So just what do these cheese tarts taste like? Well, pretty darn good actually! The freshly baked medium rare cheese tart is a soft, velvety smooth beauty so tender, cheesy and melty in the mouth (especially when freshly made) that you'll be making loud, exaggerated exclamations of pleasure with each mouthful!
And just when you think things can't get any better, they do! Malaysian cheese tart lovers will have more to look forward to in the coming months as Sakimoto says he is already working on a durian-flavoured cheese tart!
"I'm trying to make durian cheese tarts and durian smoothies. It will come out sometime in the future, so please look out for it," he says.
Pablo Cheese Tarts
1 Utama Shopping Mall
2nd floor Old Wing