This bakery is so classy!

When you think “omakase” cuisine, Japan’s version of a “chef’s selection,” you usually think sushi, right? Ordering omakase at the kind of sushi restaurant where the prices aren’t written on the menu sets you up for a selection of the finest sushi, hand-selected and carefully prepared by the chefs themselves. It’s expensive, but exquisite, and totally worth it.

Some other kinds of restaurants also have an omakase options, but it’s not always easy to figure out which establishments offer them. If you’re in a nice restaurant, and it’s not written on the menu, you’ll have to muster up the courage to tell the waiter “Omakase de” (“The chef’s recommendation, please”), and hope they don’t look at you like you’re an idiot.

Our Japanese language reporter Yuichiro Wasai took such a chance…at Starbucks’ brand-new bakery, called Princi, in Tokyo. A typical bakery isn’t going to have an omakase option, of course, because, well, usually they aren’t that fancy, nor do they have such an involved level of customer service. But Princi has that kind of upper class feel that makes you wonder if they’ll pick a selection of snacks for you, so Yuichiro popped over to the newly opened branch in the trendy Daikanyama neighborhood to test out his theory.

The shop was very lively, but it still had a sense of elegance about it. Each of the employees, no matter how busy, could be seen attending to each and every customer’s needs politely and thoughtfully. With such skill in customer service and such a classy atmosphere, how could it not have an omakase option…right?

That’s what Yuichiro was thinking as he waited in line to order. When it was his turn, the lady at the register gave him a big smile and said, “I’m so sorry you had to wait so long!” He’d waited for more than an hour, but the associate was so nice and her smile so contagious that he merely blushed and said, “Nah, I didn’t wait long at all…”

He then started to worry that he was about to lose his resolve, so if he was going to do it, he had to do it now! He steeled his courage, and blurted out, “Is it possible to order…like, an omakase course…or anything like that?”

▼ “Maybe I should’ve just ordered some tart slices…” Yuichiro though nervously as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

His spoken request came out a lot less confident than he expected, and he realized his heart was racing as he said it. But the kind associate’s face lit up with a huge smile and she said, “Sure, we can do that for you!” “I knew it!” Yuchiro thought with a triumphant mental fist pump. It may depend on the cashier, but you can get omakase at Princi!

Then the associate asked him, “What is the occasion?” so he laid out his requests: it would be for the office, for about seven people, who like both sweet and savory varieties. He didn’t say anything about price, leaving that up to the cashier’s judgment. She had only Yuichiro’s physical appearance to go off of.

Based on that alone, you might wonder what kinds of items he received. Cheap selections? Really nice, expensive breads? Something in between?

Guess no more; here’s what he actually got:

  • Quattro Stagioni Pizza Focaccia (840 yen [US$7.70])

  • Speck and Scamorza Pizza Focaccia (920 yen)

  • Margherita Focaccia Pizza (780 yen)

  • An assortment of five Mini Cornetti (1,000 yen)

The total came to 3,540 yen. It’s not the cheapest bakery haul, but it’s not the most expensive, either. Although one pizza focaccia costs about 800 yen, if you think about it from a cost per person perspective, it’s not really that pricey. Plus, every person can try different kinds of pizza, and there are sweet options, too!

What’s more, after returning to the office and trying the food out, Yuichiro realized that Princi’s pizza is completely different from the pizza usually offered at Starbucks cafes. Yuchiro thinks that Starbucks’ usual food isn’t bad, but comparing this pizza to that is like comparing high-end sushi to chain restaurant sushi. You can taste the difference.

▼ It’s safe to say that the rest of our staff really enjoyed it, too!

In conclusion, Yuichiro would like to thank that Princi associate for the best office snack, ever. It responded to everyone’s flavor needs at a great price point, so it was a wonderful treat. If you end up going to Princi yourself, then make sure you pick up one of their loaves of bread that are as big as your head, too…Mr. Sato highly recommends it!

Bakery information
Princi Daikanyama T-SITE / プリンチ 代官山T-SITE
Address: Tokyo-to Shibuya-ku Sarugakucho 16-15 Daikanyama T-SITE N-4 Building
東京都渋谷区猿楽町16-15 代官山T-SITE N4棟
Open: 8:00 – 22:00

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