A long list of herbal teas and coffee which comes served as art, we escape to Putney’s secret coffee shop hotspot
Otabé is a Japanese style cafe which serves some of the best coffee in Putney. The Japanese serve good coffee? That’s not something you’ve heard, I sense the frown on your face. We are all aware of the reputation of the long listed varieties of organic and herbal Japanese teas. Otabe teas range from the Houji cha to the Sencha and whilst this cafe naturally sets the Japanese standards with mild and delicate, yet rich in flavour teas, they also go the extra mile and serve high quality coffee. Otabé translates from Japanese to ‘Enjoy and Eat Well’ but the secret is at this little corner cafe, you drink well too.
On entrance you immediately feel healthy. The smell of herbal teas hangs in the air, I felt as though I had climbed tree house, worlds away from the bustling traffic of Upper Richmond Road, the smoky and heavy days of life in the city of London behind me, with the shut of the door. Otabé has this immediate sense of peace, with jazz music on repeat; it is the perfect escape to spend that all important time alone. People don’t appreciate time alone, the way it should be. I witnessed a couple in Starbucks once, on their phones, not engaging in conversation for 15 minutes. I was horrified, mainly because I recognised this in myself. However, a few sips in to my soya latte in Otabé I felt myself sipping away, out of reality, into the comfort of my own thoughts and imagination. I firmly put my phone in my pocket and left it there.
Whilst pondering the wonders of the universe I glanced at the menu, I learnt that Otabé’s Japanese teas come from the Hoshino village, Yame on Kyushu Island. Just by the name I knew this place was for real. I also discovered that this area is one of the best for high quality Japanese tea production. My experience in Otabé let me escape from technological pressures, habits and at times annoying addictions. What is more the coffee is perfect. My coffee was the right amount of bitter, the right amount of creamy and they were certainly generous. They served the coffee in a potted, tall ceramic cup. The cup looked as though the barista had just moulded the cup himself, moments before. Then the cute added touch; a the small wooden spoon they served with it. Perfection.
Otabé’s organic blend of coffee beans come from Ethiopia, Mexico and Peru, all fairly traded and roasted by Union. Its food menu is also a treat waiting to be discovered. From a choice of the Ingen Salad to a Banana and Mix Berry Compote Crepe, you don’t feel guilty for indulging as the menu is the heart of healthy! You feel good in this place; it feels authentic and real.
Sure enough I was sad to leave my peaceful, herbal, tree house, coffee world. I exited and the first thing I did was grab for my phone out of my pocket, I had a text message, 6 emails, a Facebook friend request, 3 tweets, 4 Whatsapp messages which all had been impatiently waiting for me…
Otabé, 213 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 6SQ