A taste of Japan
As a foodie, I find Japanese food fascinating, so when I came across this little Japanese tea room off Chiswick High Road I knew I just had to check it out sometime - today was the day!
The interior is very traditional Japanese with low set tables and it is very tranquil inside with traditional music playing in the background - along with the occasional nature soundtrack - so if you're looking for a relaxing place for a light bite and something a little different then you're in luck.
Makoto Tea Room specialises in matcha, which is powdered green tea, and it is prepared very carefully. A small amount of matcha is placed into the bowl, traditionally using a bamboo scoop called a chashaku, and then warm water is added (around 75 degrees .. told you it was precise.) The mixture is then whisked using a bamboo whisk known as a chasen. There must be no lumps left in the liquid, and no ground tea should remain on the sides of the bowl. Because matcha can be bitter, it is traditionally served with a small wagashi sweet that you can see on the left.
It is served in a large tea bowl but in a small amount to sip.
Because matcha is the whole leaf and not just brewed the health benefits are tenfold, it is packed full of anti-oxidants and will also give you a slow release of caffeine over 4 hours which the Japanese say is good for concentration. Green tea is also known for its metabolism boosting powers and is good as a weight loss aid.
Makoto specialises in other teas too such as sencha which I would like to try in the future.
Obviously being a tea room they do not have much food, just a few light bites, maybe the Japanese equivalent to an afternoon tea with scones.
I decided to have the dorayaki with custard centre, this is basically a filled spongy pancake (bottom right) - they also did a matcha cream one and a adzuki bean one.
And last but not least my favourite Japanese snack, tacoyaki (bottom left), which are deep fried octopus balls and have some creamy sauce centre, they have tacoyaki sauce on top and Japanese mayonnaise. They are best eaten whole with little cocktail sticks, but beware that the centre can be boiling hot when just served! (The pink stuff is ginger)
You may or may not live in London, but where ever you are then you should go try out a Japanese tearoom nearby.