Japan's prodigious ability to assimilate, reproduce and then develop homegrown adaptations of products from other cultures is legendary. Why should it be any different when it comes to patisseries?

Having mastered the standard repertoire of classic European pastries, the new generation of Japanese pâtissiers are busy working up their own crossover versions. Among them is C*Lab Project, a small workshop that opened in Tokyo's Asakusa district last year.

Just a short stroll south of the historic Kaminarimon gate, C*Lab looks and feels über-contemporary. The walls are smooth, bare concrete; chilled electronica plays on the sound system; and soundless video flickers overhead in the compact cafe space that looks out onto the street.