Fruit sandwiches and soft serve may be already trending in Japan, but now a passionate team is aiming to introduce the delicious treats to an audience here in the Pacific Northwest, too. Manager Masako Terao describes Capitol Hill's Baiten bakery as a space in which to enjoy Japanese-influenced soft serve and fruit sandwiches, as well as sundaes and Japanese ice cream cookies.
"We are always searching for new, fun products to introduce here in Seattle," Terao says. "Always something new and something different."
They have been open since January 27, 2022, and Terao says many customers have been happily surprised to discover what they offer at their E. Pine Street dessert shop.
Overseen by Makotz Co. founded in Seattle in 2014, this company aims to share Japanese culture and food with those who may already be in the know, as well as folks who haven't quite yet delved into this delicious culinary world from the other side of the globe.
Located on Tamari Bar's upper patio, Baiten is a collaboration with Fuji Bakery and Sugimoto Tea Company. Tamari Bar is now the anchor of Chef Makoto Kimoto’s lineup of Seattle-area food and drink venues. Terao explains that Kimoto is the owner of Tamari Bar, Rondo and the newer venue Hi-Life, located on Bainbridge island.
"Tamari Bar is Baiten’s sister restaurant," she says, adding you can get Baiten products during Tamari Bar business hours and online.
When it comes to soft serve, Terao recommends trying the bakery's matcha deluxe sundae. The popular ingredient appears in many variations — matcha jelly, matcha custard cream, soft serve with matcha sauce, matcha cookies and more.
"For fruit sandwiches," she explains, "'mix fruit' is our signature product. You can enjoy five kinds of fruit in one piece. Strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, mandarin orange and grapes." Other fruit sandwiches that they serve feature enticing flavor combinations like banana with chocolate chips.
Terao reflects on how she got involved with Baiten to begin with, "I worked at Suika Seattle, which was our first restaurant in Seattle. I worked as a prep cook and [on] special menus. I have worked in food business for more than 20 years, but I had never worked as a professional pastry chef. So I also started to work at Fuji Bakery, too. I set up the sweets menu at Rondo."
Once the pandemic arrived, she left Suika [which is temporarily closed, as it searches for a new home] and Rondo, and was working only at Fuji Bakery. Yet, when she received an offer from Kimoto at the end of 2021 to come back and set up a new project — Baiten — she was excited about the new opportunity.
This spring and summer, Baiten's menu will introduce special seasonal treats. The best way to stay on top of their rotating items is to follow their Instagram and prepare to see beautiful creations that might have you rushing over to Capitol Hill.