In Japanese, "wagamama" means selfish, which is what Miwa Yamada's parents called her as a child. So when she grew up, she was like, "yeah that's right, I'm so wagamama that I'll open my OWN CAFE. Take that!" And Miwa The Pastry Chef opened Wagamama Cafe, and it was good.
Originally a co-partner business, Wagamama is now run solely by Miwa, the keeper of recipes and the baker of goods. Almost all food is prepared on premises (the croissants and danishes are supplied by a local baker) with Miwa's personal recipes, some influenced by a Japanese twist (green tea cake, sesame cookies).
Tuesday's potato leek soup of the day is a hit and in-house breads are sold every Saturday at Sanko Market (daily leftovers are donated to The Good Shepherd). Gorgeous cupcakes tempt my belly at the cash as I order a cafe mocha and a carrot wagamuffin (come ON, that was necessary).
Turns out I got a serendipitous pumpkin muffin instead, cause whoa - taste central. Server Christine says they're so popular that people will call in advance to ensure the flavour bombs are in stock. And while I'm on the subject of "people", Christine also estimates that 90% of customers are regulars.
As I sit at my table, three people enter (separately) and a group conversation commences (together). The cafe mocha and my friend's hot chocolate were decent, but I think the real star of this show is the fresh food - my mood was a little shifty when my good camera died mid-cookie, but the smell of baked goodness made everything better.
There's less of a make-yourself-at-home vibe here than other spots (only a few tables, no wi-fi and closed at 5pm), but the friendly staff and satisfying eats make Wagamama a worthy stop for King West dwellers.
So maybe I don't like raisins...