Toraya (Paris)

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At this zen-like Parisian lounge filled with blonde wood and an impressive lacquered table d’hôte with elegant ikebana arrangements, Toraya (the official wagashi-maker for the Japanese imperial court since 1586) acts as the Parisian wagashi embassy. These traditional Japanese pastries made with rice and wheat flour, azuki beans and agar-agar, come in all different varieties, like namagashi (fresh seasonal cakes), monaka (thin stuffed waffles) and yokan (perfumed jelly), presented like little jewels on bamboo platters. The day we went, of the five ephemeral namagashi as beautiful as haiku, we fell in love with the astringent Parfum de Jeune Feuilles with matcha tea, and the Balle de Match, with round lemony notes. However, the place is also very popular amongst the fashion sphere from the nearby rue Saint Honoré for its lunchtime bento menus – like the delicate Avokani, featuring a bowl of rice topped with seaweed, crab, avocado and fish roe, seasoned with a citrus vinaigrette, sesame and ginger, served with steamed eggs en cocotte, miso soup, vegetables, tea and the namagashi of your choice. Reservations recommended.

FEELING THIRSTY? There’s a selection of teas prepared with the utmost care, including a matcha served hot or cold (€6.90) and lightly roasted hojicha (€6.50).

PRICE: Lunch menu €18-32.70. Wagashi €5.50.

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