I first discovered this lovely little Japanese store a year ago, and have been in love with the store ever since. The store describes itself as a Japanese confectionery store which sells “wagashi” – which are traditional confectioneries served during tea ceremonies. Wikipedia has more information on wagashi here, if you’re interested.
One of the reasons I am fascinated by wagashi is the fact that so much thought and effort is put into each piece, from the actual food item down to its packaging. I have a weakness for anything that is packaged beautifully, which is not always a good thing when you’re in such a store!
When you first walk into this store, you will realise almost instantly that each type of wagashi is represented by a “model” wagashi, once again beautifully presented. It’s a nice touch as you get a rough idea of what to expect inside the individual packages.
Kuzukiri – Japanese jelly made using high quality arrowroot. 2 flavours: Brown sugar (comes with brown sugar syrup), and green tea (with green tea syrup). The store says that the jelly should be mixed with the syrup, and enjoyed cold.
Oribenishiki – chesnuts and sweet red bean paste wrapped in a Japanese crepe
Sherbet – 3 flavours: mascat, white peach and grape. It can be enjoyed in two ways – either pop it into the fridge to enjoy a cold jelly, or into the freezer to enjoy a sherbet.
Sakuranbo – Japanese cherry covered with lightly sweetened jelly, packaged in spring colours. (I’ve tried this in the past and it’s delightfully light, with just the right amount of fruitiness)
Mochi – black sesame flavour, with red bean filling
Kasutera – green tea flavour (also available in chocolate and vanilla)
The kasutera pictured above is one of my favourite cakes. It’s essentially a Japanese sponge cake made from sweet rice. The texture of this cake is dreamy, as it is very light and airy… which means that one can easily consume quite a few slices of the cake in one sitting.
However, all nice things come at a price. The wagashi sold here range from approximately £2-£5 per item (they can also be bought in box sets), whilst a “log” of kasutera (~15 thin slices) costs £14. Some of the other cakes cost up to £25. Having said that, the wagashi is definitely worth a try, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Minamoto Kitchoan (London Branch)
44 Piccadilly, London W1J ODS
Tel： 44 (207) 437-3135
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-8pm
Note: There are also branches in Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York and San Jose.