Posts Tagged 'Cafe'

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

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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.

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.

Cafe itonowa

Cafe itonowa! It’s been making its rounds on Instagram and their seasonal strawberry cakes are something of a poster child so I went to try it for myself. Twice, in fact.

It’s one of those small, Instagrammy cafes where everything is in shades of white and tan and customers walk in with little else but a camera. It was near Asakusa and a bit far out from the city centre, but at opening time there was already a queue. It’s popular!

Their menu is pretty uncluttered, with just a few main items and drinks. And lunch sets, to coax customers into getting a dessert along with their food.

I had the toast set which came with cream of spinach soup, so that was healthy.

On my next visit I tried the curry rice, and that was satisfying too. Brown rice doused in grainy curry with a half-boiled egg cracked on top. And a broccoli for some greens, yum.

If you search itonowa up on Instagram, this is the one that’ll probably show up the most. I’d gone all the way there with the intention of getting their famous strawberry roll cake, so I had it with a cup of hot houjicha milk (hooray for lunch sets). Expectations met

These cafes really make you work; travelling there and looking for them in the maze of streets they tend to hide in takes effort, but so far they’ve been worth the trip. I even went to itonowa a second time! It’s a special kind of joy going to a cafe alone and seeing you’re not the only one alone (ha, the irony).

Cake and Peaceful Days at Cafe SOROR

Recently I’ve been on a hunt for small cafes with pretty desserts so it’s a good thing that there are so many hidden around the streets of Tokyo. Everything is designed with heart, from the interior to the beautifully plated desserts.

I went to SOROR, a cafe in Shin-Otsuka near Ikebukuro. It’s tiny, so sometimes people have to wait outside for a table (I waited). But since it was cold out the staff gave us blankets to keep us warm. So kindPlus the storefront is adorable. I want to sit out there!

Lunch plates are one of my favourite things about Japan. Cafe SOROR had the typical sets with soup and drinks, so I had their bibimbap with apple juice.

Their quiche plate was also good

We finished off with dessert and were completely satisfied with the aesthetic and taste of their homemade cakes. Everything was so pretty! There was also a vase of dried flowers conveniently placed on our table that became a prop for our pictures.

It’s the kind of place that I would go to even by myself—a cosy and unassuming space that lets you enjoy cake in peace.

Springtime and Matcha Pizza at Max Brenner

My laptop has life support again! Bring out the champagne! (Just kidding. I don’t know how to drink.)

Max Brenner

I mentioned the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar in passing on my blog once, but I’ve been back there three more times since then. Each time at the branch in Omotesando, with an hour-long queue. It’s a pretty justifiable wait though because Max Brenner is the mother of all chocolate shops. And it’s the spring season now! That means new desserts, new drinks, and new excuses to spend your money on chocolate.

The marshmallow chocolate pizza’s always been the favourite child here, but recently they released two more kinds—green tea and strawberrykirakiraThey both come with white chocolate and roasted marshmallows on top of the fluffy pizza base, though I liked the matcha better (maybe it just felt more exclusive getting to eat it in Japan).

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

The other spring dessert I got was the chocolate egg pavlova! So named because it looks there’s an egg on top of the meringue, but is really passionfruit sorbet on white chocolate. This was delicious, but it was fairly mortifying trying to eat this because the knife just would not penetrate the chocolate and I got lots of crumbs everywheresadBut was it worth all that effort and embarrassing myself? Yes. 10/10 would recommend!

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

For this season’s drink they have this cherry blossom choctail! Which I tried and was mildly disappointed by just because I couldn’t see the pink part of the smoothie below. If you have a cute pastel pink and green drink that girls would order just to photograph for social media, wouldn’t you want to show it off a little more?! But to give it credit, it did taste good. Actually I ended up finishing it myselfhurhur

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

The Hug Mug is really just hot chocolate with a cuter name. But I recommend everyone to try one of these because it’s hot and chocolatey (way to go, me) and does kind of feel like a warm hug in beverage form. The best part is, it’s always on the menu! It’s always there for you.

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

This time I tried the salted caramel hug muggirl loveThat’s proof of my guarantee. Like, it will be yummy. You will love it.

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Another year-round item at Max Brenner Chocolate Bar is their chocolate chip cookie, which is huge and literally half the size of my face (I held it up just to measure). It was chewy and crumbly and fulfilled every cookie craving I might have had for the foreseeable futurelove

I’m always impressed every time I visit Max Brenner because everything is delicious and photo-worthy—highly important requisite—and people are willing to spend a chunk of their day waiting in line outside the storenekoMost of the time the majority of customers I see are girls, with the occasional boyfriend thrown into the mix. Once there was a couple sitting next to me and they actually ate two whole chocolate pizzas between the two of them. Intense dating.

But the pizzas are really that good, so I probably wouldn’t be above doing that myselfdiet neko

Crayon House, a taste of childhood in Japan

Crayon House

Greetings, friendshand waveUsually I blog about the new cafes and food I find in Japan, but today’s is an old place; it’s a restaurant that I first went to ten years ago (a decade already, unbelievable). Crayon House is a cafe in Omotesando that believes in healthy food and having a happy life by eating said healthy food.

Crayon House

For as long as I can remember they’ve always served lunch in an all-you-can-eat style, and everything is homemade and supposed to be good for you. The menu changes everyday—every time I go there’re different dishes, from roast potatoes to creamy chicken gratin to tofu steak.

Crayon House

It’s kind of like eating at a cosy school cafeteria, with warm lights shining down on the trays of food and keeping them nice and toasty. I always have a lot of fun getting in line and choosing what I want to eatsmile

Crayon House

There’s outdoors seating too, and I like it better than just staying indoors (unless it’s 0℃ out or something). Sometimes it gets chilly but they have blankets outside so it’s not bad at all. I mean, you get fresh air with your fresh food.

Crayon House

They make their desserts from scratch, and since the kitchen can be seen from outside sometimes you can see the sweet old ladies inside making the cakes. And it just makes you feel extra loved when you eat those cakes.

Crayon House

Well, everything in this restaurant makes you feel like you’re eating it with love. Coming here always make me happy, kind of like I’m coming home for a home-cooked lunchnekoThere’re a lot of women and mothers with young children who come, but I usually see a pretty good number of businessmen there too just quietly eating their meal in their suits. I’m sure that’d help them get through a long day at the office.

Crayon House

And that’s a picture of me over ten years ago at my first visit to Crayon House (complete with date to seal the photographic evidence). Back then I liked playing with all the toys they had for the kids and being little enough for the children’s lunch pricehehe rabbitSince that first time, my mom’s been going to Crayon House every single trip she makes to Japan (it’s almost like a pilgrimage, even).

Crayon House

The menu always changes, but the taste is always just as goodgirl loveThey’re not pretentious at all and genuinely just want to fill people up with good food.

Crayon House

Maybe in ten years’ time I’ll still be going there to eat lunch. I’d probably be there with the businessmen just silently enjoying my nutritious food made with love.

Crayon House

Crayon House is special to me and one of my favourite places in Japan, especially because it’s been around since the first time I ever went therehappyTen years ago I bought these cookies (baked in the shape of their mascot), and even now I still get these little packs to bring home and eat.

They taste like butter and nostalgia.


▷ . Cheryl

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

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