Minamoto Kitchoan, based at 44 Piccadilly, belongs to a smart international chain of ‘wagashi’ Japanese sweets shops, with branches in New York, Shanghai and other major cities. Cheering seasonal displays in the window highlight the delectable delights of each time of year. Step into the shop to feel like you’ve been transported to their branch in Ginza.
Helpful staff will come to your assistance, especially if you are overwhelmed by the range of sweets. Fairly high end, prices for a single sweet start at £2, nonetheless most customers will take a box. There is a small seating area if you are desperate to sample, sweets are served with a cup of steaming green tea.
Kitaya Wagashi provides London with most of the ubiquitous dorayaki (mini, fluffy scotch-type pancakes filled with, traditionally, ‘anko’ red bean paste). If you are already a fan of the sweet, you’ll know the divine whiff released when you open the packet. If you’re not into red bean paste, try the fusion variations such as Chocolate Ganache or Matcha Mascarpone.
William Curley is a patissier/chocolatier with boutiques in Richmond, Belgravia and Harrods. Together with his Japanese wife, Suzue, he creates Japan-inspired chocolates and deserts featuring wasabi, yuzu and toasted sesame. Japanese Black Vinegar Couture Chocolate is an award-winning speciality. Read about his unique flavour fusions in an interview with William Curley by the Japanese Embassy here.
Tetote Factory is a small, specialist Japanese bakery in Ealing, selling a range of fresh breads, both savoury and sweet. Particularly notable sweet treats are the melon pan, cream pan and anko-filled pan. Read our review of Tetote here.
On a different note, Cyber Candy offers a massive range of international sweets in the 4 London locations (Covent Garden, Islington, Camden Town and Shoreditch) and branches in Brighton and Birmingham. Visit their online shop to ‘Shop by Country’ and find candy from Japan ranging from Hi-chu to Ramune.