Saturday, January 27, 2007

1. Cafe/Bar Review: Kamera

When I go out to lunch by myself, I usually try to choose somewhere I have never eaten. Although I like to eat at the cool outdoor cafes and other obvious choices, I also like to try those places most foreigners are afraid to enter. From the outside, something tempts you, but fear of what lies inside stops most from entering. Kamera is one of those places.

Kamera is located on the north side of Shimokitazawa Station, on the 2nd floor of a busy corner. It has large windows on two sides, both of which look out over the people in the alleys below. I chose it because I wanted to relax, have a snack, and people watch. They had a square green sign outside with photos of their lunch specials, a list of drinks offered, and a cake set. The signs are in Japanese, but a smaller menu hangs there, and it is completely translated into English.

Inside the decor is 'hippy-clutter', with a large peace flag and Bob Marley/Jimmy Hendrix posters decorating the walls. There is a tatami area with a table for four and two smaller tables for two. You have to sit on the floor, but there is a good view of the street. There is also an 'L' shaped bar with about 10 stools. And, against the other window, there is a long counter. There were no stools here, but since the place was pretty empty, I asked if I could move a stool and sit watching the street. It wasn't a problem.
Creating some ambiance was a big screen TV playing music videos. Jamie Cullum was on at the time. The two staff members were young men dressed in knit caps and leather/bead jewelery. One of them spoke a little English.

I think the 2 lunch specials are the same each day, green chicken curry and a Thai rice dish with ground meat and basil. Both come with salad and soup for 680 yen. Add hot coffee or hot tea for another 100 yen. I didn't have either, but they looked good.

The dessert set gave you a choice of 'rare' cheesecake with raspberry sauce or chocolate cake. And, hot coffee or tea for 750 yen. if you don't want lunch or the dessert set, there are a lot of drinks to choose from, including a bunch of cocktails.

Kamera is cluttered and not so special, but since it is on the 2nd floor, it is quieter than most places that have a view of the Shimokita crowds. The music was good and so was my cheesecake. I plan to try one of the lunch specials someday.