Paul Bassett

The Australian World Barista Champion 2003 has certainly made his mark in this big city like few others.

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Roasting a signature blend of his own and then storing it in a climate-controlled glass cabinet ensures a fresh cuppa every time.

A larger space than what I’ve experienced to-date, the kissaten (coffee shop) is housed in an upmarket food court down in the bowels of an office building, sharing the large space with an Italian restaurant called Pizza Salvatore Cuomo & Bar.

The combined dining area has a section that feels “open-air” because of the glass-roofed atrium. Lots of lovely natural light beneath this granite-clad, concrete monolith towering high above us.

On offer at Paul Bassett is a selection of gelati, tempting cakes (such as tiramisu: my favourite), pita bread sandwiches, and their own trademark blend of coffee beans.

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Their co-tenants look a better bet for lunch with the aroma of the buffet absolutely mouth-watering. It works well, the two creating a synergy that feeds each business with customers.

The set-lunch menu at Pizza Salvatore includes a vast array of salads and hot food for ¥1500 or go with their new, 40-minute time-limit option for just ¥1000; a perfect choice for the time-strapped office drones making a bee-line here.

They also do a wood-fired pizza that at a glance looks simple yet smells delicious. It appears almost family-sized so it could easily be shared between two.

Dark, recycled hardwood floors give the place a rustic, welcoming appearance. And an assortment of wines and champagne sits beckoning on shelves with small blackboard tags indicating their price per glass.

The place is busy at lunchtime yet surprisingly doesn’t feel crowded. What’s more, the hub-bub of conversations and cutlery on plates is hardly noisy.

But I’m really here for my all-important cup-of-joe.

The sound of the barista hard at work behind the espresso machine as he prepares my cappuccino reminds me of home.

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The distinctive measure of the ground beans, the tamping, the steaming of the milk, and finally the careful crafting of some creative latte art all combine to show how much they care about their coffee thereby making both a memorable and an enjoyable experience. I didn’t realise how much I missed it.

Needless to say, the taste is excellent. It renews my faith that Tokyo does in fact have a handful of die-hard fans making the real thing.

Although on this occasion I happened to be in Shinjuku, the coffee alone is definitely worth the trip.

www.paulbassett.jp

Mon – Fri : 7.30am – 8.30pm
Sat : 8am – 8pm
Sun : 9am – 7pm

Kim*

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