Archive for the 'Cafes & Cute Food' Category

henteco: Sweets in the Forest (actually Meguro)

Somewhere deep inside the neighbourhood of Meguro, Tokyo is a small cafe that makes a small number of small woodland creature-shaped cookies every day. And people come all the way here just for that! So I took cues and came early in the morning before they were all sold out.

henteco’s a tiny space and everything contained inside is right where they belong. Lots of wooden furniture, plant pots, cookies and cookbooks that teach you how to make said cookies.

It’s not even enough to get a parfait these days. You need a whole bear on top of it.

I really liked this raccoon. Unfortunately everyone else did too, so within twenty minutes of opening they were all sold out.

They also have normal food on the menu! Shaped like a bear again, but still relatively normal.

Otherwise they also have extremely normal, non-zoomorphic hot dishes.


This is their special animal basket, which got empty extremely fast. I had a fun time looking at each of them, but not so much choosing just one to take. I’d have taken them all if they didn’t each cost 400 yenBut make no mistake—they’re well worth it.


Kissa Housekibako: Back to the Girly Showa Era

I’ve gotten bad at posting every week, but really good at saving my streak at the last minute. And making excuses.

Recently I’ve been into kissaten—those old school Japanese coffee shops that were popular during the Showa era. 50s pop, idol posters, ice cream floats…everything’s stuffed into this small space like a little time machine back to the past. A time machine that serves good food.

Hosekibako’s made a name for themselves, but it’s hidden enough that there’re never too many customers crowding it on any given day (they can’t anyway, considering they have barely ten seats in there). It’s along a quiet street in Chitose-karasuyama, and took me a while to hunt around the neighbourhood for it. But once you get there it’s so pink and distinct you can’t miss it.

And inside is basically the Showa era. It’s like a museum of the past when huge perms and bell-bottoms were popular.

The stripy Meiji Ice Cream sign was cute; I wish I knew where I could get my own so I could bring it back to decorate my own place.

There’s even a bunch of old manga for customers to read while they’re eating. All nostalgic shoujo series, filled with the OG big-eyed heroines of those years.

And of course foodThey had the standard kissaten menu with all the typical things like toast and pasta and pilaf rice—and this extra fancy cinnamon banana toast that I ended up ordering.

The jewel in the crown here though, is their cream sodas—or ice cream floats, whatever you call them—that come with a big scoop of ice cream and the classic cherry. They had a lot of flavours in different colours and I would’ve tried them all if I could (even if I suspect they taste the same). This one was Pink Opal i.e. strawberry calpis soda with the sweetest shade of baby pink.

They did a great homage to the old Showa coffee shops; anyone would feel nostalgic even if they don’t actually have anything to be nostalgic for. It’s a great place to feel like a young girl enjoying the colours and music of that timeI sound like a grandma, but I hope you can tell how much I liked it.

The Little Bakery Tokyo

Ok! Let’s see if I can get this post up before the month changes to August. Or I’m going to have to change the timezone.

There’s a cafe in Jingumae that I’ve been to twice now, and it’s this small and cute bakery that’s sandwiched between a bunch of cafes and hair salons. As expected of Cat Street.

They had some sort of retro American theme going on, with smiley donuts and antique(-looking) ornaments and vintage floral prints everywhere. And lots of English. It was all very pretty and I can tell they’re working that aesthetic to their advantage. Not a single spot of this tiny bakery went unsnapped.

A truly magnificent bread display. They even came with golden tongs and candy-coloured trays for you to pick your bread with, so that’s really going the extra mile. If my hands weren’t full and the shopkeeper wasn’t right in front of me I would’ve taken a picture right there.

Any cafe that uses striped paper straws in their beverages gets an extra point.

They also have sandwiches, and I think these were grilled cheese and turkey avocado. They make them fresh for you so you can just sit around and watch them work that grill.

If you want other options all you have to do is look at the menu

Oof is all I can say when I see all that melted cheese oozing out. And look! Even their wet napkins are inspirational. Telling me that I look good (right until I consume a big carby feast).

And when you’re done you can have something sweet. Isn’t that strawberry bun adorable? It’s like a princess in bread form.

Baking in progress! The whole time I was just waiting for the staff to open the door so I could get a nice good smell of all that hot, sweet smell of bread blowing out.

Strawberry Sweets Buffet in Tokyo

Look at me saving my streak by the skin of my teeth. How was your June?

So way, way, way back in April I went for a strawberry buffet and consumed about ten years’ worth of strawberries in one lunch. Every year a lot of the hotels do seasonal buffets and each one goes all out to splash the whole restaurant in themed sweets and decorations. You’ve never seen a pinker setup than the dessert tables at The Strings

And of course you can’t begin the buffet till every guest has circled the dessert table at least once and gotten their money’s worth of pictures. It definitely took more than five minutes till someone was brave enough to be the first one to actually take a cupcake off the tray.

Starting with the macarons because these were by far my favourite and I had about twenty of them. If a single macaron costs ¥300 outside then you bet I’m going to eat them all when I see them at a buffet. Plus they’re strawberry-shaped.

My other favourite was the tart because I’m a tart person in general. If you ask me to choose between tarts or cakes my pick would probably be the latter because it’s all about the crunch for me. Just give me all the crusts

Of course the classic strawberry shortcake has to make an appearance.

There was a very pretty strawberry mousse that I fortunately got to get a picture of when it was still whole. Mousses are delicious, but also flabby cakes and there was no way to take a slice without it smooshing around everywhere.

Just look at how bouncy that is! All soft and wobbly like a good cheesecake should be.

They lined up the cupcakes to look like the shape of a dress, and added a tiara and pink gloves just in case we didn’t get it. I also realise now that I cut it out of the picture, but there’s a pink glass slipper on the side—Cinderella?

And obviously they had the actual strawberries for us to eat too.

A chocolate fountain, but better because it’s pastel pink.

My dessert after dessert was ice cream with strawberries and silver balls that I sprinkled in myself. They had so many toppings for you to customise with I felt like I was doing some sort of expensive arts and crafts. I was going to have another but then the time ran out and we were very politely chased out so the next group of people could come in.

Also all these pictures are of sweets but we did have our fill of savoury things before all that sugar. Almost too much, actually—we spent so long talking while eating our meats and salad that we completely forgot the time and ended up with only twenty minutes to get the desserts (that we came for in the first place). But look at how much we stuffed into that twenty minutes! You really can do anything when you put your mind to it.

Sakura Sweets 2018

Indeed it’s the end of May…but I’d really rather not wait till the next spring to come around again before posting all these things I ate.

Since it’s been a while and all how’s everyone doing? Before moving to Japan I always thought the May sickness was a total myth but it’s turned out to be pretty real, I kid you not. I can’t even remember what I did in April because all sense of time disappeared along with the sakura. But jpegs are forever, so I’m still left with all these pictures of sweets I ate (and maybe that weight I gained from them).

It was all just very pink. So much pink.

Once upon a time this year I actually had time to go to festivals and chow down endless sticks of mochi. They’re still my favourite, because they roasted right there in front of you and they’re all soft and chewy with the occasional roasted crisp.

This ice cream shop in Hiroo had a secret spring menu, so here’s a visually pleasing soft serve with the daintiest sprinkling of sakura powder and flowers.

The star of the season was definitely this one donut from Siretoco. Some sweets are just born for Instagram greatness

More pink mochi! I got this from 7-11, who persevered till the very end and kept these on the shelves well after cherry blossom season was over.

And this was my piteous attempt to be decorative. I tried hard to be creative and make a sort of hanami scenery on my toast, but the sakura marshmallows turned out a lot fatter than I’d thought (definitely not like the picture on the package) and it all just became a little blobby. But effort should not be wasted, so here it is

See you next week (maybe?!)

Photobook Diner Megutama: Feast for the Stomach, Feast for the Eyes

I used to get mad if I didn’t keep up with my posts every week, but now it’s come to the point where I feel like I deserve a medal if I remember to update before the month is over…okay, no. I’ll try harder.

Recently I haven’t been going to a lot of places, but yesterday I went to a new cafe for the first time and I liked it so much I’m posting about it right away.

写真集食堂—Photobook Diner Megutama, a small cafe in Ebisu, Tokyo that’s essentially a cafe and a library all in one. It’s not just any kinds of books either but specifically photo books by hundreds of photographers from the famous to the obscure. I could spend hours looking through photo books so that’s what I did here. The next best part is the food, all simple homemade stuff made right there in the kitchen in front of you by the sweetest ladies. It’s like coming home to three moms.

I ended up coming here that day because plans got cancelled and I suddenly had nothing to do and no one to meet, so I made the trek all the way to Ebisu and walked a good distance before I found their sign off the main road.

Here the walls are covered with books and more books carefully lined up by chronology of publication, so you know exactly which decade you’re heading for. That day I picked out more than ten books from the contemporary end and sat for ages looking at everything.

I found my favourite photographers and photographers I’d never heard of before. It was all very worth it, because I paid only about ¥1000 for a whole meal and (since it wasn’t crowded at all) they let me take all the time I wanted after that just reading while popping back on occasion to give me more hot tea. I would honestly just move right in

Teatime with Peter Rabbit in Tokyo

More like lunch at 2pm because it took forever and three train lines to get to Jiyugaoka, but all that wouldn’t fit in the title. Anyhoo, I went to the Peter Rabbit Garden Cafe in one of the fancier ends of Tokyo.

Here you can find the storybook characters sitting around at blue gingham tables and looking very much at home surrounded by waitresses in that same blue gingham. It was all very Beatrix Potter and very English. I didn’t read a lot of Peter Rabbit growing up—I was more of an Arthur & Friends kid—but it was one of the better done themed cafes I’ve been to so far.

Themed cafes that commit through and through are the best ones to go to. They had a pretty extensive menu with things like Peter Rabbit’s House (a burrow of rice and salad leaves for trees) and Mr. McGregor’s Winter Menu. Plus the quintessential afternoon tea

They called this a Sleepy Salad Plate; I came for the omurice and stayed for the bread. That might have been the best bread I’ve ever had on the side. So fluffy! So buttery! I probably could’ve ordered five of those instead of a main meal.

The Healthier Choice™ i.e. Peter Rabbit’s House and Mr. McGregor’s Vegetable Curry (Peter Rabbit included). There was a little light inside the burrow and it all looked very homely until it was eaten up.

The dessert was a lot bigger than I expected. I’d been in the mood for something light and cheesy, and the Caramel Cheese Parfait turned out to be something of a monster with whole chunks of cheese tarts stuck on top. But delicious! Just do not attempt to finish alone.

Meanwhile the tart was a lot lighter even with ice cream on the side

I had about three seconds to take this picture before Peter Rabbit started sinking into the froth. On the menu it says cappuccino, but if you’re an ambivalent caffeine drinker like me you can ask for hot cocoa instead. Life hacks at the Peter Rabbit cafe.

You don’t really have to be a Peter Rabbit fan to enjoy this place—it’s a pretty special cafe that somehow manages to feel cute and cultured at the same time, which is exactly the kind I like.

▷ . Cheryl

A university student in Tokyo who takes pictures and puts them on the Internet

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