Archive for the 'Cafes & Cute Food' Category

Towa Mowa Cafe’s Dessert Aesthetic

Nowadays cafes in Japan can’t get by with just word of mouth; you need every post, like and share on Instagram to drive it into everyone’s desires. And with a presence and aesthetic like that, Towa Mowa’s been doing a great job at making it the place to go to. (That’s how it worked for me anyway)

They have the cutest entrance! I had to take it with a fisheye lens up close that day because it was right in front of the road and I didn’t really want to stand it the middle of it. But I kind of like how it’s puffing out at you with all its different little doors.

Inside is just a lot of cute food. They don’t serve any main meals so it’s pretty much all desserts and drinks. Perfect for tea timeI had the seasonal sweets plate the first time I went, so I got an extremely attractive cherry tart with ice cream on the side.

And a latte, which of course they had to make adorable too.

Both times I’ve been to Towa Mowa it was never crowded because I went on a weekday before school, so I always got to take my time with my dessert. The space there is like its own warm, airy bubble, so everyone just kind of sits around enjoying their own peace.

The second time I had the chocolate gateauWith a big cookie perched on a dollop of chocolate cream and a little pot of raspberry sauce on the side. Like the cake wasn’t already good enough—they had to stack it up and turn into a work of art that I spent five minutes taking pictures of.

I had an ice cream float to go with that one. What a classicEveryone around me was sipping as these bright drinks (their melon sodas are a shocking green) and it just felt very summery at that moment.

Another cafe crossed off the list! I actually have a whole bunch of them I want to go to, thanks to Instagram and the power of circulation. Half my time is spent scrolling up and down potential places I want to visit, and the other half goes to actually finding them. You get real gems out of it sometimes, like this one, so it’s fun to sort of window shop for cafes.

The Biggest Sandwiches in Tokyo

…or at least, the biggest I’ve ever had.

Have you ever seen a bigger chunk of scrambled eggs in between two slices of bread? They even managed to squeeze long beans and a flower. This is now my favourite sandwich, by the wayThe eggs were so fluffy and compact at the same time I fell in love. Don’t even get me started on how satisfying it was to get it all in one big block.

These are all from Potasta—they’re a sandwich specialty shop with three branches in Tokyo, and they have the best variety of sandwich fillings I’ve seen. I mean, I never knew I could have chocolate cake in a sandwich. It seems ridiculous and it is; it works ridiculously well. It was like having dessert in handheld form.

But most of their sandwiches are still of the savoury sort. They’re so creative with the combinations that sometimes I eat one and get blown away by the genius of it. Like this curry potato and lettuce one I got the other day. There were small cubes of tofu and bamboo shoots wedged even between and as crowded as that sounds, it was just like one big delicious party.

They’re all pretty healthy in general, though some of them can tip over the scale a little. Back in spring I had this carrot overload of a sandwich and I have to say I regretted it a bit, because I’m not a carrot person by nature and I hadn’t expected there to be so much of it. There were supposed to be scrambled eggs, but before I got to eat them they were already eaten by the carrots occupying most of the sandwich.

Another case of extreme nutrition! I don’t even think I have that much lettuce in my usual salad. But I still like lettuce better than carrots anyway, and those eggs are a saviour. Even when they’re squashed down to the bottom of the sandwich they’re the only part I remember.

I’d never thought of having beans in my sandwich. And I think for my first time this massive amount of beans was a bit much, but it was still a super interesting flavour. I’m a texture girl so this was right up my alley, but side note to myself: do not eat after eating a whole other sandwich right before. This big bean number is so filling it could take up a whole meal. I just love how solid it is.

Another favouriteThe white chocolate part came in these biscuit wafers, so it added an extra crunch that I really appreciated in all that mashed pumpkin. This was a sweet flavour, so I had at it as another sort of chunky dessert. Easily one of my favourites, and not at all messy to eat [side eyes lettuce sandwich].

As you might tell from all the pictures I’ve posted, I’ve become a fan of Potasta by now. It’s so fun looking at the different flavours they have, and they actually do make a good lunch. Hefty and healthy. What’s not to love?! Plus if you have a sweet tooth like me you can splurge one of their sweet sandwiches, so it all works out great.

All Smiles at All C’s Cafe

Would you believe I found a cafe that wasn’t crowded on a Sunday afternoon?

Yeah, I really struck gold with this one. Sunday afternoons are the peak hour for cafes when everyone is out and about for lunchtime. But I found All C’s Cafe in Koenji and it readily welcomed me into its small, peaceful space. I liked it so much I stayed for dessert, which was the cutest plate of roll cake I’d ever had.

Everything about this place was adorable, from the food to the staff to the cafe decor. They even had a big ice cream cone standing outside. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of cafes that are all about being cool and trendy (or if I’m going to go there, hipster), so finding this cafe that’s just so unabashedly cute in everything they do was extremely refreshing.

I mean, they just won’t stop drawing smiley faces in everything! That’s how you make a non-caffeine drinker drink caffeine. If a latte’s this cute then I’m going to make myself drink itSeriously speaking though, I feel like recently I’ve been able to drink lattes to the point that I sort of enjoy them. The milk and extra sugar cubes I dump in probably help some, but still. I’m getting there.

They also had regular food, like this great big chunky bowl of veggies and rice and fish. So healthyIt doesn’t look much, but it was a huge portion and took me a good half hour to chow that all down. Plus look at that little green elf standing by my bowl. That’s a bell and you use it to call for the staff. I loved ringing this elf so much just for the sake of shaking him by his tiny hat.

And this bear was sitting at my table the whole time. There’s a whole family of them lying around the cafe, so it makes the space feel a lot fullerIt just makes my day to come to a place like this that’s so full of joy and childish fun. I need a break from being an adult even though I’ve just barely started haha.

I want to start the second half of the year with more smiles

Mugimaru 2: Steamed Buns in a Secret Alley

More hidden places! I’m starting to spend my free time just digging these up around Tokyo.

I found this place called Mugimaru 2—a tiny cafe along a narrow alley in Kagurazaka that serves traditional manju.  Lots of flavours and lots of fillings; they’re all handmade by the lady owner and delivered to you straight from the steamer.

The first time I actually walked right past because I didn’t see the entrance shrouded in all that ivy. How’s that for a hidden spot?! It was kind of like a treehouse, but on the ground. What a mysterious feel. You can’t even go inside without crouching so you don’t hit the low door frame.

But once you’re inside it’s a real gem of a placeEverything’s cosy and worn out, with lots of knick-knacks spilling out everywhere. The owner decorates the space with things she received from customers, so it was fun thinking about where it all came from. There’s supposed to be a cat too, apparently, but it wasn’t there that day I went.

This is my favourite bit! A Mount Fuji wall panel, plus a little round table and cushions to make you feel like you’re having tea by Mount Fuji haha.

Like I said last week, the ice cream cravings are starting for real. I’ll trade up my usual tea for a matcha float if it means getting a big scoop of soft serve ice cream in it. The debate is, do I eat my ice cream before it melts or the manju before they get cold?

I ate the ice cream first. But even though the manju did cool off a little while waiting they were still soft and fluffy with some warmth left in the thick bean paste. I just really love anything sweet and squishable. Plus I got a good combination of flavours—uguisu bean paste and chocolate.

I haven’t had this much fun coming to a cafe in a while. Mostly because there weren’t any other customers, so it just felt like I was at home surrounded by plants and rugs and the smell of buns steaming in kitchen downstairs. It’s not the most pristine or modern of interiors, but it’s full of soulI mean, those cracks in the paint don’t come without years of history.

Kosoan: Hidden Japanese Tea House in Tokyo

We’re on the cusp of summer, which means I’m going to be consuming a lot of ice cream for the next few months till we’re back to sweater weather. And Japanese desserts in the summer are just so good at cooling you downI went to Jiyugaoka to check out the teahouse Kosoan, mostly because it’s such a beautiful place and also because I wanted to eat some anmitsu.

It’s quite literally hidden. The place is just so shrouded with greenery you miss it if you don’t pay attention. It was built in 1954, so the traditional aesthetic is off the charts. Sitting inside made me feel like I was visiting someone’s old Japanese house, complete with tatami and potted plants.

They served the daintiest slice of cake I’d ever seen. I can’t even remember what flavour it was because my portion was gone in two bites, but it was a good side to the strawberry smoothie. And that was kind of underwhelming, but that’s Japanese sweets for you. Less pizzazz, more comfort.

The anmitsu was the real starThere’s nothing more attractive than a bowl snugly packed with fruits, chunky red bean and a big scoop of ice cream. I love having lots of colours and different tastes and textures, so this was a winner for me.

I’d willingly travel to Jiyugaoka again just for teatime at Kosoan, because it’s such a pretty enclave tucked away in the streets (plus with good dessert to boot). Plus the neighbourhood has tons of things to do and see, so you could really just spend a few hours walking around and looking at the shops.

The Farm in the City: Mr.FARMER Cafe

I get frequent assumptions that I live on a diet of pancakes and cafe sweets in Japan, but (once in a while) I actually go out of my way to have salad for lunch. Welcome to Mr.FARMER, a cafe in Tokyo that has successfully gotten lots of people to eat their veggies.

Healthy food, stylish ambience, and full of appropriately sophisticated customers—it’s a trendy place to be even for a neighbourhood like Omotesando. Plus you know a place is really putting itself out there when they serve water infused in three different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

(The only reason why I can’t come to places like this more often is because one salad could buy me a week of meals from the convenience store)

So while I’m here I need to get the best out of it. I had the Cobb salad plate, packed with ingredients and with a fancy arrangement of bread and baked potatoes on the side. My rule of thumb when it comes to salad: the more colours there are, the more likely I am to eat it. It was like eating a collage

And then because I am who I am, I couldn’t stop there and went on to get dessert. Their sweets are a lot more dinky than their massive salad bowls, but I very much enjoyed that stick of tiramisu

It was sunny, so lots of people were taking advantage of the weather and having their lunch out on the terrace.

Since it’s so popular, there was a queue all afternoon.

Health is wealth, which might explain the pricey meals at this cafe. But then everything was delicious, and the atmosphere had a way of making you feel like you belonged in that charming, airy aesthetic. I’d definitely want to go again the next time I want a nutrition splurge

A Real Cafe from a Ghibli Movie

Today I went to a special place, possibly one of my favourite places in Tokyo I’ve been to in the time I’ve stayed here. But first let me tell you about one of my favourite films of all time (yes, it’s relevant)!

The Cat ReturnsOr Neko no Ongaeshi in Japanese. It’s an old Studio Ghibli film, and it came out more than a decade ago when I was 7 or 8. I couldn’t get enough of all those cats—even the human protagonist turns into one—and years later it’s still one of the few shows I always go back to.

Anyway, these fish cookies are a recurring motif in The Cat Returns and a symbol of friendship between cat and girl. And they’re the same ones in the first picture on top. They’re real!

Everyone knows the beauty that is Ghibli art; this scene of a cake shop was just one of many gorgeous shots in The Cat Returns. What’s less known is probably the real shop that it was modelled after. The director of the film based it on an actual cafe in Koenji, Tokyo, and I never knew until I stumbled across it online. So of course I went to look for it

It was just right there around the corner of the street! So modest, so unadorned, but so surreal to see come straight out of the Ghibli film I love so much. It’s in a quiet neighbourhood and not a lot of people pass by. There aren’t often fans or people who watched the movie coming for a pilgrimage either, probably because The Cat Returns isn’t as known as some of Ghibli’s bigger hits.

Inside the cafe hangs a framed message from Morita Hiroyuki, the man who directed The Cat Returns, and it’s the most adorable autograph I’ve seen.

“Thank you for not only appearing in our The Cat Returns, but for even making these cookies in real life!” The famous fish-shaped cookies initially appeared only on the film and weren’t sold in original cake shop, but it seems that once they found out they were in a Ghibli movie they decided to make them for real as thanks to the director. And I’m so glad they did

They keep lots of film memorabilia inside, and a guest book for people to write in. It’s not a big cake shop, but there are a bunch of stools lined up along the wall and the counter for people to sit in and have tea. When I dropped by there were two grannies talking away with the shopkeeper while eating cake, so it seems like a good place to come to when you want some peace and dessert.

I only got the cookies and had to dash, but I enjoyed my 5 minutes inside lots. And the other 10 spent taking photos outside.

Tokyo never stops surprising me; I didn’t think I’d come across a place so familiar yet what was always just a fictional part of my childhood. Coming here made me feel like watching The Cat Returns all over again. And if you haven’t seen it before, you should too! It’s highly underrated and I need to share this imaginative gem of a Ghibli film with everyone. And maybe cookies, if there’re some left.


Welcome ♡

▷ . Cheryl

I'm a university student in Tokyo blogging every weekend about cute food and cute places in Japan٩( ᐛ )و

Read my About Me ☆ to know more.

はじめまして!
大学一年生のシェリルです
毎週日本の可愛い食べ物や場所についてブログ更新していますヽ(´_`) /♪

よろしくお願いします

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