Akashi Gallery is a brand new traditional Japanese bar in Eixample that caters for a more niche clientele. If you are a lover of the ancient Japanese culture then this place is perfect. The two owners are both professional photographers and went on a year-long photography expedition, travelling some 42 000 miles through Japan to collect material for their book titled “JAPAN/日本” Whilst doing this they encountered a multitude of Japanese tea houses, and in turn learning the ancient art of making tea and Japanese cuisine.

The owners’ work is displayed on the walls and are for sale to those interested. My initial thought when I ordered the organic green chai latte was that who in their right mind would pay close to €4 for a tea?! But as soon as I took my first sip I had my wax-on/ wax-off moment, it all made sense. It was the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted – rich and creamy and yet I could feel the toxins seep out of me. Next I had a sticky rice ball stuffed with a tuna/mayo filling. Once again it was the most delicious thing I’d ever had. Before the third course I shared a pot of herbal tea with my Japanese friend, who used a lot of big words in trying to explain to me the properties and healing qualities it contained. What struck me most was the absolute precision in which the tea was served: the waitress was armed with a timer that counted the exact amount of seconds in which the water was to come in contact with the tea, then pouring it into the cup with such focus and technique I was almost too scared to drink it.

By the time we had dessert (a waffle type pancake in the form of a fish, filled with sweet, sugary red beans) the place was packed with young artsy, affluent types coming to see what all the fuss was all about. Traditional Japanese music soothed the respectfully controlled noise level as some people gawked at the origami workshop in progress somewhere in the background. Go and check it out as Akashi is soon becoming the place to be in Eixample.

(Published January 2013)