LATTEST {Omotesando}

Address: 3-5-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Website: http://lattest.jp/
Open: 10am – 7pm
Soy Milk: Yes

I had been wanting to try LATTEST for a while since I had walked past the cafe a few times before, but it closes too early for me to go after work, so it took a while for me to get the chance to go. Finally last weekend I was able to though! When I walked in, I immediately liked the interior of the cafe. Everything looked intentionally worn and cozy, giving the cafe a very comfortable, homey feeling. It just had one big table in the centre, with smaller tables scattered around the rest of the cafe with mix-matched chairs. The floors were concrete with graffiti, and the bar itself all made of wood. I liked it already.

It took a bit of time to get a seat because it was quite busy and no one seemed to be moving very quickly, but once we had a table we went up to check out the menu. LATTEST features a lot of different latte flavours, including hazelnut, matcha, and Bailey’s. They also have a drink called the “lattest,” which is their house special – a shot glass filled with milk and espresso. It’s quite expensive for a small amount of coffee so I gave it a pass this time, but it was incredibly popular amongst the other patrons of the cafe. As a fan of Irish creme flavour, I couldn’t pass up the Bailey’s latte.

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My latte definitely tasted like Bailey’s – and it was real alcohol that they put in it, not just flavouring, from the taste. Because I don’t drink alcohol personally I wasn’t very happy about that, but to someone who does, it’s a great chance to enjoy that kind fo coffee! My sister ordered a soy matcha latte, and typically soy never has latte art on it. However, at LATTEST, even her soy latte had a beautiful design! Sadly the coffee wasn’t very hot though, which was a bit strange.

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We stayed at LATTEST for a little while but it was actually quite loud and hard to hear one another, so it wasn’t very relaxing in the end. The acoustics in the cafe make everyone’s voices just a bit too overpowering. Overall I liked the aesthetics of the cafe and the chance to get some different kinds of lattes, but it wasn’t a good place for reading or writing, and the coffee should have been served hotter in my personal opinion. I hope to give it a second chance sometime, but I’m not in a hurry.

Pros: Variety of latte flavours, plenty of seats, cool interior
Cons: Coffee is not hot enough, too loud during busy periods, long waiting time

 

Lotus {Omotesando}

Address: 4-6-8 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Website: n/a
Open: 11am – 3am (Sun-Thur), 11am – 4am (Fri-Sat)
Soy Milk: Yes

I finish work kind of late, so I found Lotus looking for somewhere that is open late on weeknights – and Lotus certainly is, until 3am actually! Perfect for those of us out late and not able to go to all the cafes that seem to close at 7pm. It’s a short walk from Omotesando station, and about 10-15 minutes from Harajuku station through quite a nice area. Be careful you don’t walk past the cafe like I did the first time – it’s not very well marked or distinct from the outside, with dark windows and only a small sign written in katakana (ロータス). Watch your GPS if you aren’t sure the first time.

When you enter Lotus, you’re greeted with the large glass case of today’s sweets and cakes, opposite the open kitchen where they are making everything right there! It looks deceptively small, but in reality has a massive basement of seating in addition to the small area upstairs. Lotus offers a full menu of food, mostly Italian or fish, at really reasonable prices. And of course, a range of coffees and desserts! Some of the more unique things were the coconut latte, and the caramelised latte. We got both – the flavoured latte came with the syrup on the side for you to add as much as you want. And the caramelised latte literally had a creme brulee-style topping!

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The sweets were also incredible. I enjoyed an apple and sweet potato tart that was fantastic, but it was a hard choice. They had so much fresh fruit on top of their fruit tarts, and lots of chocolate options for lovers of that.

As for the atmosphere, Lotus had a very unique feeling. The lighting was quite dark, but it suited the ambience. The entire cafe had a very unfinished or weathered look tot eh decor – lots of unfinished concrete and rough edges. It was a casual atmosphere that was easy to relax in. Plus, our waitress was incredibly nice (it was table service, not counter service) and happy to chat with us for a little bit too. I’ll definitely be going back to Lotus when I’m looking for somewhere open late (and next time for food too I think).

Pros: Lots of choices, great prices, open incredibly late, casual atmosphere, good service
Cons: Easy to miss, quite off the beaten path, dark lighting (don’t come here to study, write, or read too late at night)

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