September 11, 2014

Women's favorite cafe that there are always lines

Cafes of HARBS (ハーブス) (see the previous post) are always crowded everywhere, particularly at lunch time. Mostly, women are waiting patiently in front of the cafe for lunch set meal which consists of a salad, a pasta, a cake (half size) and a drink. Except salad, you can select from variety of menu. The set costs JPY1,500. As cakes of HARBS costs around JPY800, an inclusive half cake might be appealing for women (and women generally like pasta).  
Spaghetti with tomato sauce and mozzarella
Fresh cheese cake and tea
Contrary to the below Komeda Coffee, the portion is small. The taste of pasta is not bad. Cake is definitely good (though it seems a bit smaller than the half:) and most appealing cakes using much fresh fruits are not on the list). Nonetheless, the elegant interior and comfortable sofa might be the key of popularity for women. After lunch, chatting long in the nice environment with cake and tea must be ideal. My rating for the cafe is 3.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

September 10, 2014

Popular big-portion coffee chain from Nagoya

Recently, "Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)", a chain coffee shop originally from Nagoya (名古屋) has been popular in Kanto area. The strategy of Komeda Coffee is unique. In principle, their shops are located in the suburbs. Their shop is big and the ceiling is high. Every seat is separated for privacy. Cozy sofa seat is for staying long. In a token of this, various newspapers, magazines, books and blankets are prepared. Their marketing doesn't seem cost-effective, but this business model is succeeded somehow.    
Komeda Coffee
Inside (mountain cottage style)
Sandwich of deep-fried pork with sweet miso sauce 
Shrimp gratin topped with sliced laver
Deep-fried fish burger with tartar saice
Their specialty, hot Danish with soft cream and maple syrup
Orthodox coffee and burgers cost JPY420 while sandwiches are JPY780. Not expensive at all, but a bit higher than usual coffee chains. But people would agree to the price for this big portion. Usually, customers enjoy coffee only, but here, most people ordered several sandwiches. Komeda also offer various dessert menu like sweet Danish, cake, ice cream, shaved ice cream, etc. As people stay long, many of them enjoyed dessert, too. Accordingly, average spending per customer might be higher than other coffee chains.

The taste is good. Food appeals to all tastes and coffee appeals even to mavins. However, because of the big portion, I got tired a little bit. (We shouldn't have ordered many high-carbs...) Service is nice. My rating is 2.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)  

Nice view buffet at Ritz-Carlton Tokyo in Roppongi

On a beautiful sunny day, I had a lunch with a colleague at Ritz-Carlton Tokyo (リッツカールトン東京) which is located in the Tokyo Midtown (東京ミッドタウン) in Roppongi (六本木). The lobby and a restaurant named "TOWERS GRILL (タワーズグリル)" are located on the 45th floor. On such a nice day, we can enjoy the nice view of Tokyo. As we sit on a window seat, Tokyo Tower was just in front.  
Lobby (45th floor) of Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
TOWERS GRILL (45th floor) 
Window seat
Tokyo Tower!
Buffet (starter)
Buffet (dessert)
Starter (I shouldn't have put such a big portion at once...)
Saute of cod fish with peppers
Roasted chicken with various mushrooms
Tower's Grill offers buffet for starter and dessert. We can select a main dish from various menu of meat or fish. The taste is not so impressive, but definitely at more than average level as a luxurious hotel. One person costs JPY4,500 for this set meal. Not so cost-effective. Even so, it is very nice to spend relaxing slow time over seeing the nice view. My rating is 3.6 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

September 4, 2014

Delicious sukiyaki with excellent service at Ningyo-cho Imahan

Imahan (今半) is a representative sukiyaki/shabu shabu restaurant in Japan. It was established in Asakusa in 1895, and nowadays split up into four different companies; Imahan Bekkan (今半別館), Asakusa Imahan (浅草今半), Ningyo-cho Imahan (人形町今半) and Yoyogi Imahan (代々木今半). When I had a lunch with a friend and her family from Norway, we went to Ningyo-cho Imahan in Ueno-hirokoji (上野広小路), and it was excellent!
Corridor to private rooms in Ningyo-cho Imahan
Japanese-style private room
Wagyu beef for sukiyaki
Vegetables for sukiyaki
Rice, miso soup, pickles and sauce
Experienced staff cooks sukiyaki just in front.  
Good smell and sound!
Green tea ice cream and bean cake
As you see the above photos, explanation is not necessary. Wagyu beef was very sweet, tender and melt in the mouth. (Sukiyaki sauce is a bit strong as "eddoko taste".) Moreover, their service was excellent. For instance, they kindly prepared big cushions and blankets for babies in advance. When a staff noticed Friend's husband didn't eat sashimi (he was not used to raw fish), they suddenly changed the dish and served crispy tempura without charge.

Thanks to them, we had a good time. The above sukiyaki set meal at lunch costs JPY5,000 per person. Not inexpensive, but appropriate to taste sukiyaki at this kind of good restaurant. My rating is 4.1 out of 5. Gochiso-samadehsita!

Ningyo-cho Imahan (人形町今半)

Belgian chocolate cakes available at department stores

WITTAMER (ヴィタメール), a royal warrant chocolate shop in Belgium has its branches at department stores in Japan. Their products are made by a Japanese confectionery company and accordingly, we could enjoy the Belgian taste at reasonable price (this kind of licence business is quite popular here as business cooperation).    
Rouge chocolat 
As someone thought, chocolate cakes are good. Taste of chocolate is varied. A chocolate cake named "WITAMMER" has several different chocolate layer and the harmony creates nice taste and texture. As most of the parts are mousse, it is not so heavy as appearance. One piece of cake costs around JPY500. My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

WITTAMER (ヴィタメール) 

September 2, 2014

Gourmet burger near god of safe delivery in Ningyocho

The most popular place in Tokyo for praying smooth delivery is Suitengu shrine (水天宮), located in Ningyocho(人形町). Each god has each specialty. Now the shrine is closed for refurbished but its temporary shrine opens nearby cause expecting mothers wish to visit before their childbirth (I also did!). Near the temporary shrine. there is a famous hamburger shop called "BROZERS' (ブラザーズ)", one of the originals of gourmet burger. 
Temporary Suitengu shrine, god of safe delivery
BROZERS' in Ningyocho
Avocado cheese burger and Perrier
BROZERS' is not on the big street, but the vivid red colored shop is eye-catching in Ningyocho which has many old companies and restaurants. Interior is like an american diner in 60 or 70s. Standard hamburger costs JPY1,000 and avocado cheese burger costs JPY1,300. French fries, onion rings and pickled are served together. 

Their hamburger is tasty, indeed. Especially, hamburg made of only beef is big, juicy and delicious. According to their HP, wagyu beef oil is added for making the taste better. Combination with fresh lettuce and rich avocado is wonderful. On the other hand, tasting for avocado burger seems only salt and pepper and not so strong (BBQ sauce is used for other burgers). If ketchup and mustard is used for the remaining 1/3, we could enjoy the change of tasting and eat up smoothly. My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

BROZERS' (ブラザーズ)   

August 31, 2014

Popular local unagi (eel) restaurant in Sendagi

When I visited a colleague's new nice condominium near Yanaka-Ginza shopping street (谷中銀座商店街), we went to a popular local unagi (eel) restaurant called "Inageya (稲毛屋)" in Sendagi (千駄木). Inageya is classified into izakaya restaurant which offers unagi as well as attractive side dishes and variety of Japanese sake. As they offer Japanese eels and expensive sake like Jyu-yondai (十四代) at reasonable price, tables are often full by reservation particularly at night.  
Inageya in Sendagi
Second floor (consists of Japanese-style price rooms)
Lunch unagi set meal 
Surprisingly, unagi bowl is available from JPY1,380 at lunch. Usually, it costs at least JPY2,500 or 3,000 in Tokyo. The reason why they could sell unagi reasonably seems size of unagi. Small! (of course, if you pay more, the portion becomes bigger.) Even I couldn't be full...but the taste was superb! Char-grilled unagi has nice burnt aroma. Crispy outside and fluffy inside. I agree to the popularity. I'd like to revisit at night for tasting sake eating delicious unagi and side dishes. 

If you have small budget for lunch, or, you hesitate to taste unagi for the first time, Inageya is recommendable as trial. Even though you can't get full, you can go to the Yanaka-Ginza shopping street to buy snacks at stalls there. My rating for Inageya is 3.8 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Inageya (稲毛屋)