If you’ve ever been to London, chances are you’ve walked by Minamoto Kitchoan as it’s well-situated on Piccadilly Road, not far from Piccadilly Circus and across the street from Fortnum & Mason. A cursory glance inside might have you think that it’s jewels or expensive cosmetics they’re selling but walking inside, you’ll see that there are little cakes in the display cabinets. A closer look (or perhaps a double take) will reveal that those cakes are plastic and that the actual products sit on top of the counter and are all elaborately packaged. Welcome to the world of wagashi (Japanese sweets)!

I brought Blai there for the first time last Saturday afternoon. He watched and waited patiently     as I wandered back and forth along the shop, hmm-ing and haw-ing at every little dainty. I finally made a selection and asked to have them there and then. Do you know, if you have your little treats at one of the exceptionally tiny tables in the shop, they’ll be brought to you on little plates along with a small cup of green tea?

I had chosen three wagashi. The first was a tsuya, a mixture of sweet red beans between two pancakes, a very Western-influenced cake. Does anyone know how this differs from dorayaki?

Tsuya

We also had a mochi and a tiny plum jelly. Their mochi is the best I’ve had in London, outstripping those sad refrigerated versions from the shops in Chinatown. They’re so wonderfully chewy! The jelly was new to me and though tiny, it was very aromatic. It’s like a grownup jelly cup.

Jelly and Mochi

And here’s the setup of a tea I had there many months ago. Isn’t it cute?

Tea time!

Our little teatime treat came to under £6 altogether. Of course, if these Japanese flavours aren’t for you, La Maison du Chocolat is right next door!

Minamoto Kitchoan
44 Picadilly
London W1J ODS

Shops also in Tokyo, New York, and Singapore.