Tag Archive | cafe

Kobeya afternoon tea

My mission: to find a cheap afternoon tea in Tokyo. The request was for under 3000yen. That was going to be a hard challenge.

I had plans a few weeks back to meet with a couple of ladies from my Namie NESS days.
We usually meet for coffee/lunch etc. They wanted to do afternoon tea but had set a budget for 3000yen or less.
The starting price for afternoon tea at most places in Tokyo is 3500yen.
And the consumption tax rate in Japan has recently risen as well (that’s been a huge pain!).
This was not going to be an easy task. And I wanted to throw in the extra personal challenge of choosing a venue that I have not yet been to.

I put my research skills to the test and came up with an afternoon tea venue for under 1500yen! Total score.
Not the best afternoon tea I’ve had in terms of food quality, but it made for a pleasant afternoon nonetheless.

The venue was Kobeya at the Tokyo International Forum (TIF) in Yurakucho. Points gained for location.
Kobeya is actually a really nice bakery chain. Some of their bakeries have extended into cafe dining restaurants where you can actually order main meals etc. The only place I know where the afternoon tea set is available is the Yurakucho branch of Kobeya. It’s kind of a “gentei” thing, which means it’s limited to so many servings a day. And they don’t take bookings so you’ve just got to turn up and try your luck that they haven’t reached the limit for the day. Luckily, it’s not heavily advertised and most people don’t know about it. You’ll need to ask for the Tea Time menu. And it’s only available between 2-6pm.

The afternoon tea is simple and no frills.
A pot of tea is included. One tea selection only (but you can ask for hot water refill, but the tea did not taste so good after we did this). I think I went with the UVA tea but they also had a couple of other options as well as an organic tea which is technically the tea that comes with the set.
I liked the little touches such as the timer and the teapot cover.

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

The 3-tier set is light and sufficient, but no so tasty. More skewed to Japanese tastebuds.

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

I enjoyed all of the sandwiches, except one. There was a mentaiko sandwich. And mentaiko is the roe of pollock and cod (basically fish ovaries).

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

The other sandwiches were perfectly fine.

The second tier was essentially the pastry course: a chocolate chip scone, a green tea (matcha) pastry and a berry pastry.

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

Not enough savoury morsels for your liking? They threw in some olives as well.

Clearly, these items are just from the bakery section of their store.

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

I don’t like matcha flavoured stuff, so I didn’t really enjoy this much. Also the jam doesn’t really go well with a choc chip scone.

The last dish was heavy on the grapefruit theme. Again, not a huge fan of grapefruit, so this afternoon tea wasn’t really to my liking. But I wasn’t here for the food. I was here for the company, to catch up with some friends over language exchange.

From Kobeya afternoon tea
From Kobeya afternoon tea

There was a cheesecake which was quite nice. Can’t go wrong there.

From Kobeya afternoon tea

The afternoon set is 1300yen plus tax. Food items will vary as it will be seasonal. I think I must have gone during grapefruit season.

If you go on a weeked to TIF, you might also be in time for the regular antique market that they have there. Great antiques and knick knacks, but not cheap.

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I ordered “pancakes”

Back in April, a bunch of us had planned on going for a Sunday hike. Weather was not in favour so we went to brunch in Omotesando/Harauku instead.
Went to an unusual cafe. It looks like a tiny non-descript coffee shop at the front. Not at all enticing for a tea-drinker like myself. But lo and behold, once you enter and if you go out the back and downstairs there is a lot more seating. And they do brunch, lunch and dinner. So much more than a coffee shop.

I ordered the crab burger, which was a tad on the small portion size for my liking.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/769K0fyvTOvFCAEHdBhqqS1tLRW7weQC4VUklPbLQQo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-zuaCCGn5xYQ/U1OgFjFT06I/AAAAAAACjlM/h8ywgQ0yAxk/s640/IMG_7430.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/OmotesandoBrunch?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Omotesando brunch</a></td></tr></table>

Oh well, that just meant that there was room for brunch dessert so I ordered “pancakes”.
But what I got was a “cake” made in a “pan”. Well played, Japan.
No disputing that they were “pan” “cakes”.
Surely, these are the thickest pancakes my eyes have ever laid on.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tGfEkIrTJIVVwK3SeqquEy1tLRW7weQC4VUklPbLQQo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-w9msqNLFWVU/U1OgFkPXv7I/AAAAAAACjlI/vohOBVC2eeM/s640/IMG_7432.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/OmotesandoBrunch?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Omotesando brunch</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QjULp9duWzzCjXJnlbTq9C1tLRW7weQC4VUklPbLQQo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-7lFRP_6gHyU/U1OgGuNPx2I/AAAAAAACjlk/3O50vE2Y9s8/s640/IMG_7433.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/OmotesandoBrunch?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Omotesando brunch</a></td></tr></table>

It was like a cake batter cooked in a pan.
The thickness didn’t detract from their flavour, but they certainly were filling. They were thick and fluffy to be sure.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GQGCBpRm7vQtLzPdVIx0Hy1tLRW7weQC4VUklPbLQQo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rf0Flos6PcQ/U1OgHHoTGBI/AAAAAAACjls/LYMbfPhM_gs/s640/IMG_7435.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/OmotesandoBrunch?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Omotesando brunch</a></td></tr></table>

Had to drown these in syrup.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/28-sTZpaP3151JSo1JcEPC1tLRW7weQC4VUklPbLQQo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-y0Lw-muAs84/U1OgIlRYodI/AAAAAAACjl0/_Yy9AdaN4gg/s640/IMG_7437.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/OmotesandoBrunch?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Omotesando brunch</a></td></tr></table>

And if you thought that was a generous quinelle of ice cream, you thought wrong. That was whipped cream with a side of butter.

Right now, can’t remember the name of the place, but I know exactly where it is.

Mohini – mini high tea

I’ve been slack on my high tea consumption.
I partook in afternoon tea last month with a friend made through this blog. She contacted me and told me she was a fan of high tea, so we arranged to meet up. Coz, that’s how I roll.
We ended up going to a small tea cafe called Mohini for a mini high tea.

Served on a single tray platter we got tiny finger sandwiches, a small piece of pound cake, some fruit, and the tiniest scones I have ever seen! It was very cute. The set is called “small afternoon dish” and not bad for a mere 700yen. Pots of tea are 550yen and there is a very good selection of teas. It’s a tea specialty store. A simple afternoon tea which made for a pleasant change from a hotel high tea. I’m finding that the service at hotel high teas are terrible. There are no shortages of plenty of cute cafes around Tokyo.

It was nice simple old school, home-style afternoon tea, something you’d whip up if your neighbours were to drop by. A nice light refreshment served with a pot of tea.

From Mohini – mini tea
From Mohini – mini tea

The tiniest scones ever:

From Mohini – mini tea

Cute tea cafe:

From Mohini – mini tea
From Mohini – mini tea

Mohini website.

Bread Brunch: Le Pain Quotidien

Another brunch venue ticked off the list.
If you like bread and got the dough to spend, check out Le Pain Quotidien (means “The Daily Bread”) right near Shiba Park and Tokyo Tower.
Here you’ll find a great bakery with real breads – a bit of a luxury in Japan.
Breads and pastries galore and tarts to boot, including lemon tart!

From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien

I got a pot of tea (surprise, surprise), but I highly recommend ordering a large cafe latte or cappuccino, or any large coffee for that matter. They are served in awesome bowls (oversized handle-less mugs).

From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is open for breakfast/brunch, lunch, afternoon, and dinner.
It’s a great breakfast spot because they’re open from 7:30am in the morning – a rarity in Japan. Throughout the day they serve quiche, mezze platters, open-faced sandwiches, waffles, breads, cakes/pies etc, and even serve alcohol. It’s a great all-day venue.

The first time I went there was in the afternoon for a late lunch and cake break with friends.

From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien

The second time I went was for breakfast/brunch. Note that the breakfast menu stops at 11am. They have an assortment of eggs they do. I opted for another open sandwich – prosciutto, fig, and ricotta.

From Le Pain Quotidien

The restaurant itself is comfortable. There’s an open street terrace out the front perfect for summer al fresco dining.

From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien

Tokyo Tower in the background:

From Le Pain Quotidien
From Le Pain Quotidien

Tower reflection:

From Le Pain Quotidien

Drool over the menu here.

Bookshelf Cafe

Found a great little book cafe today, aptly named “Bookshelf Cafe”. I trekked (ie trained) across to the other side of town for a swim. Need to get back into the swimming training with summer and ows season approaching. Have found a nice pool to train in, but it’s a little bit further than I’d like. I wanted to find cafes in the area for a post-swim lunch, and came up with the Bookshelf Cafe.

It’s a great little place. On the one hand, I want them to get a lot of publicity, but on the other hand, I want to keep it a secret.

It’s a cafe that encourages two of my favourite things: books (reading) and eating.

From Bookshelf Cafe

And it’s a new-style book cafe in that it’s totally with the times and supports the digital age of reading – they encourage iPads (so much so, that iPads are free for customers to use).

When I arrived, I had the whole cafe to myself. It was totally deserted.

From Bookshelf Cafe
From Bookshelf Cafe
From Bookshelf Cafe

The cafe is awesome for the following reasons:
– it’s quiet and cozy
– they have free iPads you can use!!!! There are 12 iPads available to customers and they’re FREE!
– they let you use laptops, iPads etc and are happy for you to plug in your device. There are dedicated tables that come with power plug outlets (like the study tables you find in libraries) so you can type away on your i-gadget for as long as you like
– free wifi!!!

It’s one of those cafes where you can read, study or write/type your next upcoming novel and you can while away as much time as you like without that feeling that you’re taking up space. And to top if off, they even had the Amelie soundtrack playing in the background (Amelie being one of my favourite movies).

They have a food menu (meals and desserts etc) too and serve coffees, teas and even alcohol (including Hitach no nest – a craft beer). Perfect reading or study cafe in Tokyo. Kicks arse over Starbucks anyday. Very chilled laidback cafe. I will admit, the food was not the most gourmet (I had the taco rice) I’ve ever had, but I think it’s perfectly fine if you go for a coffee and cake. And not so expensive either. For less than 1,100yen I had a cafe latte and a lunch meal. (Free wifi and iPad usage available too).

From Bookshelf Cafe

It was a shame that it was so deserted. Another 3 customers came in whilst I was there though.

Cute clock (the cat’s tail swings as the seconds hand):

From Bookshelf Cafe

What a gem of a place! Now don’t tell anyone.

Bookshelf Cafe website.
Hamacho
Closed Sundays