Japan seems to love its bakeries. In Sendai, if you can't find one it probably means that there are two around the corner. You can find both sweet and savory treats here; loaves of bread and sandwiches. Sometimes there are extras like jam. Each one has its own atmosphere and its own specialties, so every time it's a chance to explore.
Ochiai already has its share of bakeries, from Chisana Kuri to Stone Oven Bakery: Birthday, but there's a new face in town. In April this year (2014), Bakery Wales arrived to share its own version of doughy heaven. You can find it on the road towards Ayashi, between Tsuruha Drugstore and Yamaya, not far from 82_no_28 (wani no niwa) Bakery. It's around the back of a sushi restaurant – if you look back where you came from you should see a sign with the name in English. It seems that the owner likes the UK, but he says that the name was chosen at random!
The building is quite big, but the business is still quite small. The range of goods is relatively small compared to other bakeries, but the quality is just as good, if not better. Each day there's a slightly different selection, but it's all Europe-inspired. Everything is neatly laid out in beautiful little baskets, labeled with the name and price. The price is roughly the same as other bakeries – a few of the bigger pastries will cost about ¥1000 altogether.
Besides pastries and danishes, you can find savory bread rolls and several flavors of croissant. I highly recommend anything that contains patisserie custard. My absolute favorites, and top recommendations, are the garlic ciabatta and European-style cinnamon pastry. The ciabatta has a proper garlicky flavor, and the ciabatta which forms the base is fresh and slightly chewy. The pastry is similar to a cinnamon roll, but even softer, and with the wonderful addition of a sort of fruit puree. The pungent taste of apricots is a perfect match to the warm cinnamon.
You can take out any of the bakery items, but you can also sit down in the cafe area. A pastry and a hot drink can be bought together as a tea time set. Between 11:30 and 15:00 they serve lunch - you can choose from various sets, like the pizza set or croissant sandwich set, which are written on a blackboard inside the store.
Bakery Wales is a great example of foreign food done well. The selection has obviously been informed by Japanese tastes and ingredients, but it has been executed tastefully. It is free of the urban sensationalism of Hampstead Tea Room, so a visit here is both relaxing and tasty.