Cool Spaces: Mochi Mochi

WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES courtesy of Mochi Mochi

A new super kawaii pop-up bakery called Mochi Mochi, on Cape Town’s Longmarket Street, pays homage to Japanese confectionary – with adorable decor to match.

When Tjing Tjing was converted into a multi-level Japanese restaurant in 2018, head of pastry Adri Morel started focusing on Japanese treats and baked goods to work with each facet of the triple-threat restaurant. After extensive research and trips to Japan, Adri developed her own style and adaptations, paying homage and drawing inspiration from these confections.

Customers were thrilled with the offerings and showed an especially keen interest in mochi, handmade gelatinous and colourful truffles that are available in an extensive range of flavours.

“We realised there was an opportunity to take this to a wider audience, as fresh, handmade mochi weren’t readily available in Cape Town (and South Africa for that matter) if at all,” explains owner Ilze Koekemoer.

Being housed in the old Molten Toffee location, which was designed by Leon Morland in 2017, meant the interiors had a minimal, clean style that made it easy for the Tjing Tjing team to add their spin to the collaboration.

The new store features branding from local designer Casper Schutte from Spook Design Co. “We set out to create a brand that feels as sweet as the mochi it stood for,” says Ilze. “Taking inspiration from iconic Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty, Gudetama and Aggretsuko, Casper wanted to bring mochi to life.”

She adds: “It was very important to create our own lovable and unique characters to express the playful feelings we associate with Japanese pastry. Many South Africans would as children have interacted with this Japanese style of design through sticker packs – most often Hello Kitty – that we stuck everywhere. We referenced that experience in the Mochi Mochi design, creating a visual identity on social media and in our packaging with our unique stickers.”

Creative talent and senior pastry chef at both Mochi Mochi and Tjing Tjing, Toyah Humphreys, displayed her creative talents with some graffiti to add street flair to parts of the shop. She has been painting graffiti under the name Motelseven for over 15 years, and added an urban edge with her cute characters and pastel writing.

Mochi Mochi trades Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to 5pm. Follow them on Instagram @mochimochi_za.