If you are a fan of matcha or mochi, chances are you’ve heard of Pastisseria Takashi Ochiai. It’s been around since the 80’s when the Japanese pastry chef/owner, for whom the shop is named after, opened it after studying patisserie in Belgium and then in the UK.
To begin with, the shop kept to local traditions, making the usual Catalan pastries and desserts, before developing their own distinctive style. They are now detour-worthy. Their many layered Matcha cream filled croissants are reason enough to go. They will shatter dramatically upon impact, you will be finding shards of crisp pastry tucked in all corners of your person throughout the day. Having said that, the original shop looks tired and dated, with harsh fluorescent lighting over the seating making it more of a takeaway than an eat-in location.
So it’s good news that they have opened a second shop next door, Aula Ochiai, and made it pleasing to the eye. Exposed brick walls, delicately ribbed light fittings over the display unit at the front and clusters of pendants in the back.
Perfect rectangles and cylinders of Japanese patisserie, impossibly uniform, greet customers coming in. There is a selection of mochis, some easily recognizable and some fashioned into intricate flowers. In the warmer months, house-made ice cream is available, hidden from view in lidded compartments – a sign that they have been made with natural ingredients. Further in there is a machine to shave ice with flowered paper cups stacked on the side at the ready. Plenty of options then, to placate a sweet tooth.
For lunch a light, simple lunch menu available during the week. Things like steamed salmon with a small bowl of rice and a side salad.
Past the seating, at the end of the shop is the workshop, visible through French-style windows. That’s where I like to sit and to watch the delicate production at work. There are weekly workshops held here, ranging from Japanese food with Miho Miyata to Dorayakis, croissants, birthday cakes, mochis (of course), matcha tea specialties and even Ikebana. Aimed at non-professionals by professionals, a class here is definitely on my to do list.
If you want a Japanese Comfort Food meal, go around the corner to Yatai.