You will be struck by a strong sense of déjà vu even before stepping into LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar located in Ura-Omotesando. The latte art signage outside bears a striking resemblance to STREAMER COFFEE’s. In fact, LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar was planned and executed with Hiroshi Sawada’s consultancy. This explains why the place is embellished with Sawada’s industrial chic style, from the concrete finishing to wooden furniture with industrial metal accents. Before you think they are just a twin of STREAMER COFFEE, this is where the similarities end: STREAMER COFFEE screams cool street hype, LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar is a laudation of wholesome girl power. Ran by a girls-only crew of baristas, LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar is a refreshing change in a male-dominated scene.
Needless to say, the bevy of barista beauties is immensely popular with male customers. We observed at least 3 customers who drank their coffee standing at the counter, chatting up the baristas despite plenty of seats available. Shizuka Nakayama and Asami Ito have been spearheading operations for the past year, after completing a rigorous two-months training under Sawada’s tutelage. Beyond just having killer looks, they can whip up potent drinks like LATTEST and Triple Shot Latte. Available only in-shop, LATTEST is made by adding espresso shot to cold milk; Sawada jokingly used ramen as a metaphor to describe how espresso floated on top of milk like oil in ramen soup.
We gave the Triple Shot Latte a miss as we would be heading for more coffee at identity COFFEEBAR + GALLERY later. Our LATTEST was served in a small Espresso Parts glass, and we could see dark swirls of espresso emulsifying with the pale milk gradually. My girlfriend took a sip and nodded her head in relish: the espresso’s richness complemented the milky sweetness wonderfully. The warm, dense espresso juxtaposed with cold, light milk to create a very textured sensation. Subsequently, the taste and texture became more subdued as the espresso ‘wore’ out. We finally understand why LATTEST is unavailable for take-out and come in such small serving. A take-out would inevitably end up as a flat, murky mix; it is hard to sustain the initial delightful sensation throughout a large glass and you would find the drink becoming bland. Hats off to Hiroshi Sawada and the team for the meticulous planning.
LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar is active in collaborative events such as regular Run & Yoga sessions: you could try out New Balance shoes for a run and unwind with yoga at the shop after that. The spacious interior is designed to accommodate pop up stores and art exhibitions; the long, unusually high table makes an excellent centerpiece display for merchandise and artworks. All it takes is a good DJ and you could throw a fine party here. Girls just want to have fun and when they do, so would the boys.
Address: 3-5-2, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo