Thursday, April 08, 2010

March 28, 2010: Tokyo VI

We were late starters again on Sunday, and our first destination was lunch at Saishokukenbi. This vegetarian restaurant is within a Buddhist temple complex and offers a lunch buffet for around 1500円 (~ $17.30) per person.

The staff member out front didn't have a lot of English but we didn't need to exchange too many words to get ourselves a seat and a plate. The one word she knew well, though, was 'vegan' - she checked whether it fit us and pointed out the little stickers on the non-vegan dish's labels which said 'milk' and 'egg' in both Japanese and English.

The food was abundant and appetising - highlights from my first plate were the soy faux-chicken, a spinach salad, and the mushroom-stuffed gyoza.

The sticks of faux-meat and the croquettes were also rather good but I was seriously filling up by the time I tried them.

Miraculously I found room for dessert - my daily dose of mochi! It came with sweet red beans and what I think is matcha.

After lunch we wandered a little more around the Shinjuku neighbourhood before setting off for Ginza.

Though we had already stopped by Ginza for a meal the day before, we hadn't had time to stick around and check out the Sony building or the Toy Park. In the end, neither of them particularly thrilled us - there was a distinct lack of puppy robots! These don't count:

Nevertheless, our time in Ginza was a pleasant enough way to pass a grey afternoon before making our way to Roppongi for dinner.

We were keen to check out Eat More Greens, another pick from our restaurant guide. In contrast to our lunch at Saishokukenbi, Eat More Greens takes its inspiration from the New York cafe scene. The menu includes falafel, pasta and doughnuts, and it's easy to chat with the staff in English. (Matt relayed to us earlier that the area houses a lot of expats.) The menu clearly states potential allergens in each dish, from milk and eggs through to wheat and soy, and the walls and staff T-shirts tout slogans like "all you need is love and vegetable" and "I become a smile when I eat vegetables!!".

I thoroughly enjoyed the avocado salad and spiced refried beans in the taco-rice (1200円 ~ $13.80, pictured in the foreground). But it would have been nice to have a few more tortilla chips (there were three) and I couldn't make it through all the rice - it was prepared in a very Japanese style, sticky and chopstick-friendly and not fitting with the Tex-Mex vibe at all. Michael similarly enjoyed the freshness of the green vege curry (1200円 ~ $13.80, pictured in the background) but wasn't that wowed by the curry sauce.

Having noticed a cute hand-drawn sign advertising their special apple pie, Michael was amenable to dessert. Unfortunately they were all out of that pie, and the similarly attractive piece of berry pie we saw another customer eating seemed to be the last one. There was nothing for it but to try their chocolate goodies on for size. These didn't disappoint - Michael had a vegan chocolate gateau (650円 ~ $7.50) and the berries and vegan cream on the side were just right. Meanwhile, I focussed on their extensive doughnut menu and sampled the Black Out (320円 ~ $3.70). Shape aside, I thought it was more cakey than doughnutty (too little yeast, perhaps?) but it was chocolate all the way - doughnut, cream, glaze and biscuit sprinkles were all dosed with cocoa. A sweet end to this time in Tokyo.


  1. You're Japan posts are making me travelsick!!

    The stuff on top of the mochi is kinako, which is roasted and ground soybean flour. I luuuuurve it.

  2. That bento-looking plate is trippy! Buffets are usually so..ugly. I have to say that your Japan trips don't look touristy at all - kudos! That being said, I lovee those puppy puppets: hilarious! Just the kind of thing I bring back for my friends from holidays which they totally don't get. Ingrates.

  3. You guys are driving me *crazy* with all these updates on your current travels. I sooo want to go back to Japan:( Enjoyed seeing Kamakura in your last post too, as it was one of the first places I went to on my maiden visit in 1995. Enjoy yourselves and all that interesting food! Dx

  4. Hey Mellie, thanks for IDing the kinako! It didn't look quite right for matcha (it's not that distinctive green, for starters) but there was a label nearby that I thought referred to this powder. My mistake. :-)

    Hi Vee! That veg eating guide has certainly helped us find some stuff away from the typical tourist path (though you'll notice our later posts on Kyoto and Hiroshima are increasingly touristy). We resisted the temptation to buy the puppy puppets for anyone. ;-)

    Thanks, Duncan! Japan has completely charmed me (to my surprise) - it certainly won't be my last visit to this part of the world.

  5. I went to Japan the first time with great trepidation (not least because of the prospect of so much fish -- me no eat), but I just loved it instantly. Could have done with your veg eating guide, though, to get me out of fishy situations!