All posts filed under: Tokyo Featured

Featured Tokyo eats

Chocolate Decadence at Tokyo’s Bubó Cafe

The ‘World’s Best Chocolate Cake’ can now be found in the backstreets of Tokyo’s Omotesando area. Bubó is a Barcelona-based patisserie known for its beautifully designed cakes and artisanal chocolates. On my recent trip to Japan, I visited Bubó’s Tokyo outpost to try Xabina, the chocolate creation that received the ‘World’s Best Chocolate Cake’ mention at the 2005 World Pastry Cup in Lyon. Worth the trek? Absolutely. The Xabina cake is velvety, rich, and a chocolate masterpiece. I enjoyed the chocolate macaron on top and the chocolate mousse inside is a cloud. I’ll reserve judgment on whether it’s the world’s best chocolate cake because there are simply too many chocolate creations I haven’t tried yet. But to date, it is certainly the best and most gorgeous chocolate cake I’ve had. When you visit Bubó in Tokyo, try not to be too distracted by the amazing chocolate gallery on the first floor and head straight up to the Cafe. Once you’re seated, your server will bring you a beautifully detailed cake menu for you to peruse. Other than the award-winning Xabina we …

Why Gyukatsu Motomura is a Tokyo must-eat

Gyukatsu Motomura is one of those raved about places in Tokyo that’s a must-try if you’re in town. Worth the hype wait? Absolutely. The Shibuya location has the bigger shop front but if you’re like me and always running off to the next city, Gyukatsu Tokyo Station (Yaesu entrance) is the perfect traveler spot. In case you haven’t had gyukatsu before, it’s like the older brother of popular Japanese comfort food tonkatsu. Instead of a fried pork cutlet, you get a beef cutlet. A beautifully marbled beef cutlet. Hence the first thing you’ll do when you visit Gyukatsu Motomura is choose the size of your beef cutlet (100g, 130g, or 260g). Keep in mind your gyukatsu comes in a set with rice, miso soup, potato salad, tsukemono pickles, and shredded cabbage! My friend Mizuha and I ordered the 130g Gyukatsu Set with Yam (tororo in Japanese) and were both very satisfied with the portion size. As you sit elbow-to-elbow other diners in the tiny L-shaped store, the simultaenous sound of gyukatsu sizzling on grills was Tokyo at its finest. Great food, small space, and light chatter doesn’t get better than …

A Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru 銀座圓 and more!

Tokyo, ただいま! People say the best time to visit Japan is in the Spring for hanami, the cherry blossom viewing festival; or in the Fall, to see the country’s beautiful Autumn foliage. But a true foodie knows Winter in Japan means two things: Ramen tastes even more amazing than usual (cold weather, hot bowl of noodle, go figure). Tsukiji Fish Market in the Winter time is a FIESTA! (Fish fatten up in the winter time so it’s one of the best time of the year to get sushi and sashimi). Plus, with the traditional marketplace moving sometime in 2016, another reason to go visit now. While I adore my previous summers in Japan, which were filled with cold soba noodles and sweet kakigori in the sweltering summer heat, I love wintery Japan. It is the perfect season for warm comfort food. I’m looking at you ramen, oden, and fried-everything. Plus, this time around, winter fashion was in full swing and Japanese girls really rock the furry coats and beanie look–some great food fashion for thought! Below, you’ll find a round-up of the foods I chomped on …

Phenomenal Sushi at Tokyo’s Umegaoka Sushi-no Midori 梅丘寿司の美登利

If you’re in Tokyo, queuing at 4am for Tsukiji Fish Market’s iconic Sushi Daiwa should definitely be on your bucket list. That being said, if you want to sneak a couple more hours of sleep in, Umegaoka Sushi-no Midori is the delicious alternative you should head to instead. It definitely was one of the freshest and best price-quality sushi I’ve had in Tokyo–and yes, I’ve queued for Sushi Daiwa at wee hours of the morning! With multiple branches in Tokyo, Umegaoka Sushi-no Midori’s Shibuya branch is on the 4th floor of Shibuya Mark City. During peak hours and weekends, queues can go up to 90 minutes so come early on a weekday to grab a bar seat–this way, you’ll see up-close some sushi magic being made! I ordered the Ultimate Sushi Assortment and my friend the Maguro Assortment (different cuts of tuna)–both of which I highly recommend. But if you don’t like some of the more adventurous ingredients like uni (sea urchin) or ikura (salmon roe), opt for the Maguro Assortment and just savor how each bite of raw tuna+sushi rice can be so phenomenal.

Brunching with Gorgeous Blooms at Nicolai Bergmann’s NOMU Cafe

Claude Monet was famous for referring to flowers as the raison d’être for many of his masterpieces. As he once said, “I must have flowers, always, and always.” Stepping into Nicolai Bergmann‘s store in Aoyama would convince anyone that is true. I don’t have much experience with flower arrangements but it’s easy to be awed by Nicolai Bergmann’s signature flower boxes and contemporary floral arrangements. A short walk from Omotesando Station, NOMU Cafe is a popular weekend brunch and afternoon tea spot located right in Nicolai Bergmann’s flagship store. Not only do you get to peruse gorgeous arrangements before your meal (check out his signature flower box if you’re looking for a nice gift), you’ll also get to dine amidst all the vibrant blooms! Alternatively, outdoor seating is also available in the flower-pavilion if you want to soak in the Tokyo sun on a good day. Mizuha and I met up again to go have a light brunch this Sunday–having explored Kagurazaka last weekend, we opted for the Scandinavian-style NOMU Cafe in order to explore the Aoyama area afterwards. Walking into Nicolai Bergmann, we instantly fell in love …

A glimpse of Ginza’s dining glamor at Kakiyasu 柿安

Ginza is the glitzy face of Tokyo with gorgeous buildings like the Ginza Mitsukoshi and Wako Department Store’s Hattori clock tower built by the founder of Seiko. Iconic upscale shopping is one reason why Ginza attracts such an large crowd, but after dining at Kakiyasu this week, I’m convinced Ginza also has phenomenal food hidden in its many glamorous buildings. Kakiyasu 柿安 is a 140 years old traditional Japanese restaurant, renowned for its sukiyaki (すき焼き). If you love sweet and savory together, sukiyaki is the ultimate hot pot of comfort food–especially since Kakiyasu uses the highest grade of Matsusaka Beef (black haired Japanese wagyu). With my cousin Joseph in town this weekend, I thought a traditional Japanese meal in an iconic Tokyo area should not be missed. Although Joseph could easily enjoy a ramen burger and an ice cold ginger ale for lunch, when in Tokyo do as classy Tokyoites do right?

A Walking Guide to Kagurazaka: the Charming Cobblestone Streets of Tokyo’s Old Geisha Quarters

Kagurazaka’s quiet charm is reminiscent of Kyoto’s Gion District. Once Tokyo’s Hanamachi (Japanese courtesan and geisha quarters), Kagurazaka still has an elegant air of traditional Japanese culture to it. Interestingly, the large nearby French expatriate influences can be easily spotted by the many French brasseries in the area too! Deciding we needed a change of scenery from Tokyo’s posh Omotesando area, my good friend Mizuha and I decided to take a day exploring the little alleyways of Kagurazaka this past weekend. Attending the same university as me, Mizuha has been my Tokyo partner in crime for many food adventures–doesn’t queuing at 4am for sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market sound like a beautiful friendship? I made a gallery for our explorations in Kagurazaka so check out the various captions for recommendations. Here are some highlights: Sakura Roll Cake at the famous Canal Cafe (Tokyo’s oldest boat house, the century-old Suijyo Club, turned waterside cafe), Manju at the Spirited Away-esque Mugimaru2 hidden in a back alleyway, famous French bakeries like Cafe-Creperie Le Bretagne, and many more! There are many ways to wander around Kagurazaka, …

Omotesando Koffee: Coffee in the Backstreets of Tokyo

Update: Unfortunately, the beautiful Omotesando Koffee has closed its location as of December 2016. However, you can visit their Toranomon location! (1-23-3 Toranomon,Minato-ku,Tokyo  2F Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 105-6302 Japan) ————- There’s something really beautiful about a quiet minimalist space, especially when found amidst the busy streets of Tokyo. Add some caffeine to that mix, it’s no wonder that Omotesando Koffee is highly praised by many coffee-enthusiasts. Located in the backstreets of Omotesando, Omotesando Koffee’s unassuming entrance is hard to find , but most definitely worth the effort. Not only is its simplistic decor reminiscent of a traditional Japanese house, it has by far the best cup of ice cappuccino I’ve ever had in Japan (doppio if you like it stronger!).

Aussie Breakfastin’ at Bills in Omotesando

Bill Granger really knows how to make a delicious breakfast to brighten my morning! Having tried his famous ricotta hotcakes before in Notting Hill’s Granger and Co., I was determined to repeat the delicious experience in Tokyo. But, as all serious Tokyo brunch and breakfast lovers already know, the line for Bills in Tokyo’s posh Omotesando area is notoriously long (up to 3-4 hours!). Located on the 7th floor of Tokyu Plaza, a space-fortress like complex designed by award-winning architect Hiroshi Nakamura, Bills is nestled within the Plaza’s ‘Omohara Forest.’ In other words, breakfasting or brunching at Bills Omotesando is both a delicious and gorgeous experience. So if you want to check out Bill Granger’s Omotesando branch, an early start is a must! My friend Sam, who’s been studying at Sophia University for the past semester, met me bright and early at 9am for this breakfast of champs. And to my not-so-secret delight, we managed to get a table right away. Within minutes of us sitting down, the friendly staff (fluent in both Japanese and English) took our orders and prepared our drinks. Sharing Bills’ famous Full Aussie Breakfast and Ricotta Hotcakes with …