There’s a lot of freedom and innovation when it comes to dining in Japan. For every Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, there’s an equally impressive place where you can dine with maids, hang out with cats or even watch boys make out.

Now there’s another must-visit eatery to add to Tokyo’s ever-growing list of unique cafes and this time the star of the show is the humble slice of bread. At Centre the Bakery in Ginza, you can choose your own toaster, take it back to your table and enjoy freshly made toast.

Centre the Bakery is run by Takahiro Nishikawa, a respected boulangerie owner known for his famous Viron brasserie and bakery outlets.


Toast sets are available from 10:00 am while a variety of sandwiches can be ordered from 11:00 am. Although there’s a take-out option available, eating-in means you get to try out a number of toasters from the display inside.


The toaster selection runs along the right-hand side as you enter.


The space inside is light and airy, with Scandinavian furniture adding to the minimalist, natural interior.



Prices start at 400 yen (US$3.49) for a small soup and go all the way up to 6,000 yen ($52.35) for a deluxe deep-fried beef sandwich. The toast sets, which allow you to use a toaster at the table, range from 1,000 – 1,700 yen ($8.73 – $14.83) depending on whether you choose two or three slices with butter or jams. The price reflects the artisanal nature of the whole experience.


There are twenty toasters to choose from. Simply grab your favourite and take it back to the table with you.


The all-star lineup includes Magimix, Rowlett, Russell Hobbs, T-FAL, Dualit, and DeLonghi. Each toaster comes with information regarding key features and the country of origin.



Once you’ve made your selection, the waitress plugs the toaster in at your table and gives you detailed instructions on how to use it, including how many slices you can put in and the fact that the toast will pop up once its ready.


While the crash course in toast making may seem unnecessary, toasters as we know them aren’t commonly seen in Japanese kitchens, with many people opting to use mini grill ovens known as toaster ovens instead. If a Japanese toaster oven cafe opened up abroad, we’d probably need some explanation to use them too!


When your order is delivered to the table, a waiter carefully explains each slice of bread and butter as if you’re dining in a five star restaurant. From left to right, the breads are made according to Japanese, American and English styles, each with their own distinctive texture and flavour.


Two of the butters come from Hokkaido; one from well-known Yotsuba dairy and the other from Mr Nishikawa’s own farm. The other butter, from renowned French company Échiré, is one of the world’s most expensive butters, which explains the high price of the toast sets.


Artisanal jams and chocolate spreads accompany the more expensive toast sets.


Surprisingly, each slice of toast really does taste different, with the Japanese style being the mildest, increasing in flavour and crunch with the English style being the most distinctive.


The high quality ingredients and service extend to the cheese wheel, which is freshly melted onto cheese-based orders.


The Croque Monseiur is full of cheesy goodness.


The area under the flue has wire mesh sitting over coals for customers who prefer to toast their bread in more of a camp-style manner.


The area at the back of the restaurant is often in demand, with customers waiting at the front for a seat in the cosy, den-like atmosphere.


The line to buy loaves of bread extends all the way outside the store so if you’d like to take home a loaf, make sure you get there early. With many of the ingredients delivered fresh from the owner’s pasture in Hokkaido and the special method of dry-ageing their bread dough for 36 hours to ensure maximum umami flavour when toasted, this is one of the most popular places to enjoy bread in Tokyo.


Photos: RocketNews24