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Contemporary classics: Japanese patisserie at WA Cafe

Make a detour for this chic independent Ealing boutique that bakes a delicious range of Japanese pastries and breads on site every day

What’s the background?

Asian cuisine has long been part of the fabric of London’s brilliantly diverse food scene, and with the likes of the brilliant Lanka and Yauatcha leading the way it’s no secret that some of the region’s best dishes can be found on the dessert menu. WA Cafe is another highlighting the synergy that can be found in East-meets-West patisserie, blending classic French technique with Japanese flavours. The modern boutique, quietly tucked away in Ealing, offers both sweet and savouries made daily by patissier Atsuko Otsuki and baker Mayumi Nakahara.

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The space

Conveniently positioned just a few doors down from the underground station, the shop is bright, light and airy, just like the perfectly pristine pastries that line the sweeping counter. There is a small selection of seating to eat in, providing a nice escape from the fairly busy road outside, although whenever I’ve been most people tend to grab and go.

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What’s on offer?

For lucky locals, there’s much geared towards the lunchtime trade; the chicken katsu sandwiches, generously filled and put together with light-as-air bread, are a favourite, while the savoury doughnuts are legendary. The best comes stuffed with egg mayo and coated with a subtly spicy cornflakes that are then deep fried, in one of those hybrid creations that is better in person than it sounds on paper.

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What to choose?

The bread and viennoiserie is a real winner here. Matcha is deployed perfectly to enhance rather than detract from the rich, butteriness of croissants, while the array of pan, stuffed with a simple vanilla cream or red bean paste, make a surprisingly light yet satisfying snack thanks to the wonderfully soft texture of the dough. The patisserie on offer ranges from the very classic – raspberry or pear tarts, bread and butter pudding, Mont Blanc – to slight twists on the traditional. It’s the cheesecakes, though, that keep me coming back. By far the most addictive is a white chocolate concoction on a sesame base, a sweet/savoury balance that has even converted by dessert-dodging friends.

What’s the damage?

Buns and croissants are priced between £2-3 and cakes are around the £4 mark, which is in line with other independent patisseries of this level outside of central London. Worth the trip to the west!

WA Cafe, 32 Haven Green, London, W5 2NX; wacafe.co.uk

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