Friday, April 20, 2007

50. Cafe Review: Cafe Ordinaire

If it wasn't for the sign out front, Cafe Ordinaire would be easy to miss. That is something you don't want to do if you are in the mood for a tasty 'European style' sandwich, served in a relaxed atmosphere. And, they want you to be relaxed. All lunch sets come with an alcoholic drink!

I started out with a shot of Cinzano Rosso on ice (an Italian vermouth). Other choices include Cinzano Dry, sake, or shochu. While you enjoy your drink, they will prepare one of the following for you:

Baguette Sandwiches
*BLT 800 yen
*Tomato and Mozzarella, with fresh basil 800 yen
*Italian prosciutto, Parmesan, and Reggiano 900 yen
*Roast Beef and 'Tona-to' Sauce 900 yen

*Egg and Zucchini bruschetta 900 yen
*Rice Omelet 1000 yen
*'Hayashi' (beef and onions in brown gravy) with rice 1000 yen
*Pasta of the Day 1000 yen (Shrimp and Broccoli the day I was there).

After lunch, you also get a choice of hot or iced tea/coffee.
On my first visit, I tried the prosciutto, parmesan, and reggiano sandwich. Very tasty. On my second visit, I ordered the tomato and mozzarella sandwich. The baguette was lightly toasted and filled with two thick slices of tomato and two thick slices of mozzarella; seasoned with some tasty olive oil. It was served with a lettuce mix covered in oil and vinegar. A great sandwich! I'm definitely going back to have another one of these. I will say that this is not a man's sandwich. It was a perfect size for ladies, however.

Cafe Ordinaire consists of two floors. The 3rd floor contains a long bar counter with 7 stools, two tables for 2, a table for 4, and two tables for 2 along a window overlooking the street. There are a few more tables upstairs, including one coffee table with a two-seater sofa looking out onto a balcony.
The interior of the cafe is cream and white. There are many records and Cd's behind the counter, but jazz piano was playing during my visit. The restaurant is mostly lit by natural light streaming through the window, making for a cozy atmosphere. The counter and wall shelves are lined with Japanese books covered in see-thru white sleeves. Reading material is also provided on a magazine rack. Actually, they advertise that they are a cafe and library.

The dessert menu has a lot of interesting choices, and the staff recommended trying one (but I wasn't hungry enough).

Choices included: Green tea chiffon cake, red wine cheesecake, banana tart, Jasmine tea cheesecake, biscotti, scones, and more. The biscotti were 120 each, all other desserts were between 480 and 550 yen.

Not so ordinary, this is another Shimokita cafe that I recommend.

Hours of Operation: 12:00 - 23:00. Lunch is served from 12:00 - 14:30.

Address: Kitazawa 3-25-1, Shimokitazawa MT Building, 3-4 fl.
Phone: 03-5738-0880


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

49. Cafe Review: Korko

Korko is another one of those great little cafes that Shimokita is famous for. The kind of place you want to hang out in.

Old wood floors and cream stucco walls surround earth-tone furniture. Decorative plants, strings of lights, and old Motown music add to the ambiance. One wall of Korko is all window. There is a coffee table with two small sofas, a four person 'floor' table, and a two person 'floor' table against this window. They give a really good view of the street and crowds below. Away from the window is another coffee table with two small sofas, two regular tables for two, and two stools at the bar.
All items on the lunch menu are served with a salad and choice of drink (coffee, tea, latte, orange juice, grapefruit juice, or Jasmine tea).

This is the complete lunch menu:

*Vegetable, sausage, and bacon 'Po tofu' , with choice of rice or bread 900 yen

*Tomato sauce pasta with bacon and spinach 950 yen

*Tandoori chicken and grilled vegetable 'don' (over rice in a bowl) 950 yen

*Vietnamese beef Pho 900 yen

*Beef stew, with choice of rice or bread 1000 yen

*Rice omelet topped with demi-glace sauce 1000 yen

*Butter Chicken Curry 1000 yen (sometimes they have green chicken curry instead). I ordered the beef stew with rice. First came my drink (iced Jasmine tea) and salad. Both good. My stew came with yellow saffron rice, yum. The stew was tasty, but I wouldn't order it again. Although good, the beef slices were too big to eat easily, and they were too difficult to cut without a knife. It wasn't traditional beef stew, I would have called it 'Sliced steak with stew'.
Hours of Operation: Open from 12:00 - 24:00. I am not sure what the dinner menu looks like.

Location: Korko is located about 3 minutes walk from the North exit of Shimokitazawa Station, at Kitazawa 2-33. It is on the 2nd floor, across the street from 'Robber Gabriela' (see earlier blog).

48. Store Review: Village Vanguard

This is by far the coolest, and most famous, store in all of Shimokita. Although it calls itself a book store, it is full of magazines, comics, CD's, posters, toys, jewelry, international snack foods, and much more. It is like a mini 'Don Quiote', full of all kinds of knick-knacks. If you visit Shimokita, make sure you check it out!

Hours of Operation: 10:00 - 24:00

Address: Kitazawa 2-10-15, Marche Bld. Very close to the Ozeki Supermarket.

Monday, April 16, 2007

47. Cafe Review: Asso

Asso is gone and has been replaced with a clothing shop.

Asso has a great location for people watching. When the weather is nice, the entire front wall of windows are folded back, making the cafe 'open-air'. There are four tables for two in this area, and dogs are welcome there.

Inside is a narrow room with tables one each side. Large screen TV playing movies. The room is well decorated, but I was surprised that many of the seat cushions were really stained. Not really that important, but it really takes a lot away from the place. In addition to the main room, there is also a 'secret room' for parties of four, and a VIP/reservation room that I have not seen.

The menu is extensive: appetizers, salad, soup, pizza, pasta, omelettes, rice dishes, sandwiches, steak, and more. Most dishes run around 1000 yen or less.

They offer a good selection of inexpensive lunch sets. I had a Japanese 'bento' box style lunch, it was very tasty.

There is also a long list of coffees, teas, and alcoholic drinks.

Address: 2-3-6 Kitazawa
Phone: 03-3413-0220

46. Restaurant Review: L.A. Cocina fu fu

This restaurant has closed and has been changed into a store.

Friday, April 13, 2007

45. Cafe Review: Alicia

Alicia is tiny cafe run by an older Japanese lady and her young assistant. There is a long wood counter with ten seats, and one table for 2. Red and white checkered curtains hang in the window. There are wood carvings all over the place, many with the name 'Alicia' carved into them, many others are animal figures. The place is cluttered and older, but interesting. Light piano music plays in the background. There is a small newspaper and magazine rack for those who want to read (Japanese only). In the far corner is a display of jams, rice, and other foods for sale. On display on the counter were: apple pie slices (no sugar or egg) 420 yen, and small bags of homemade cookies 470 yen.

The lunch menu is completely in Japanese, and is a little bit of a challenge to understand. The focus is 'natural foods'. I don't think the menu changes, so if you just remember what I've written here, you'll be all right.

A) Alicia's Lunch 1100 yen

B) Mixed Fry Lunch (potato croquette, fried tempe, fried white fish) and a salad 1250

C) Sesame Seed Soba Noodles and Seasonal Tempura Lunch 1500

D) Homemade bread sandwich with your choice of two fillings (potato croquette, fried tempe, cheese, mixed grain croquette). Comes with hot coffee or hot tea (for an extra 50 yen, you can have ice coffee or ice tea). 1250

E) Recommended Vegetable Lunch 1250

Other menu items:

*Vegetable and egg fried rice 890
*Sesame dare soba noodles 800

*Coffee or Tea 250 yen
*Apple or Iyokan Juice 350 yen

There is a dessert set (cake + coffee or tea) for 480 yen. And, a dessert + herb tea set for 600 yen.
I ordered 'D'. It was tasty, but I wouldn't order it again. I think the lady near me had 'A'. It looked really healthy and delicious. There was miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, another small side of vegetables, and one of the croquettes with shredded cabbage.

Location: From Shimokita's South Exit, turn left down the hill. Just past the Baskin Robbins, turn left and go under the 'Greek Pillar' train bridge. Alicia is just a little farther down on the left, 2nd floor.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

44. Cafe Review: Karate Chop

Karate Chop is a lovely little Vietnamese cafe. The interior is painted in vivid colors - bright canary yellow and brick red, with little Vietnamese touches here and there. Everything is a little worn, like a real cafe on a side street in Vietnam.
Karate Chop is a small cafe, there are only three regular tables for 2, two tables for two with chairs side by side with coffee tables, and one table for four.
The menu is standard Vietnamese fare. For lunch, my husband had the Pho; and I had a pork, egg, and vegetables over rice. It came with a side of soup - a tasty, herb broth.

We added the dessert and tea set for and extra 200 yen. We were both very happy with our meals, everything was delicious.

Just out front of the store are some inexpensive Vietnamese dishes, and other knick-knacks.

Location: Kitazawa 2-7-3
Phone: 03-3468-0481

Hours of Operation: 12:00 - 23:00 (until 1:00 am on Fri., Sat, and day before a holiday), lunch is from 12:00 - 16:00

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

43. Photos of Shimokitazawa

42. Outdoor Review: Setagaya Walking Path

Although technically not part of Shimokitazawa, the walking path is only about a 15 minute walk from the station. The path is definitely one of Setagaya's treasures, a natural oasis in a very crowded city.The path is most beautiful in Daizawa, a wealthy neighborhood of Setagaya. Cherry trees form a canopy over the trail. A stream, which I believe is spring-fed, flows alongside. This is a natural ecosystem. Look carefully and you'll spot a variety of crabs, fish, snails, insects, and birds. Last year a duck had babies. I spotted two of her daughters on a walk I took last week. The path is well cared for by volunteers and city workers. There is always someone planting new flowers, pulling weeds, and making improvements.

During the cherry blossom season, the Daizawa section of the path is full of party-goers. But, only on the weekends, weekdays are for the locals and is definitely the best time to visit. The fall colors are also gorgeous, and in summer the sounds of locusts and frogs will take you to the countryside!

The path starts at the border of Setagaya-ku and Shibuya-ku, near Ikejiri-ohashi Station on the Tokyu Den-entoshi Line. It is actually two parallel paths, they split just a few minutes walk from the beginning. The upper path cuts through Daizawa, before heading deeper into Setagaya - above the Odakyu line. The best section is from the beginning to Kannana-dori.The lower path passes very close to Sangenjaya Station (one stop from Ikejiri-ohashi) then up toward Kyodo Station (of the Odakyu Line), where it crosses over.
There are sections of the path that still need help, but Setagaya is working little by little to address the situation. Even at its weakest points, it is still car and motorcycle free - nothing to complain about!

For those who want to take a nice, long walk there are two options.

1) Start at Kyodo Station (Odakyu) and take the lower path toward the city. At the connecting point, take the upper path to Umegaoka (Odakyu).

2) Start at Kyodo or Umegaoka and walk toward the city. At Ikejiri-ohashi, cross the huge road, and on the other side is the Meguro River. I have followed it all the way to Osaki, but it goes all the way to Tokyo Bay. The Meguro River area is also famous for its cherry blossoms.

41. Bar Review: Heavens Door

If you are in Shimokita, and you want to drink with English-speaking foreigners, Heavens Door is the place for you. The owner, Paul Davies, is from Manchester, and the night I was there, 100% of the conversations in the bar were in English.

According to their website, they have a variety of events: soccer broadcasts, birthday parties, quiz nights, wine tasting, occasional live music, karaoke,...

They have a full bar, most drinks run between 600 and 900 yen. Soft drinks, tea, coffee 400 - 500 yen. I don't know if they serve any food, but I imagine they do.

Happy Hour every weekday from 6pm to 8pm, glass beer and glass wine are 300 yen.
Ladies night is every Friday. Ladies only - glass beer, glass wine, cocktails are 350 yen.

Our group had a lot of fun drinking and singing karaoke, although you have to have the words to the song in your head (but they did have a decent selection of songs on their i-pod).

Paul and the staff are very friendly, and the drinks were good. I'm sure guys would care less, but I was disappointed with the atmosphere. The walls are plastered with faces cut out from magazines, and they look like they've been there a while. There is a mismatch of tables with mostly folding chairs. There are a couple of sofas and some bar stools, but everything just seemed thrown together to me. There was a good selection of English books against one wall, but they just added a cluttered feeling. Again, maybe foreign women are not who they are trying to attract. I'm sure it is just the place to catch the latest British soccer match on TV.

Hours of Operation: 6pm - 2am

Location: 2 minutes walk from the South Exit of Shimokitazawa Station. Walk straight down the main shopping street, then turn right at Mister Donuts. It is on the left, 2nd floor.

Address: Kitazawa 2-17-10, Takimoto Bld. 2F
Phone: 03-3411-6774

Friday, April 6, 2007

40. Bar Review: Enotria Diana

Enotria Diana is one of my very favorite places to drink (and snack) in Shimokita. A typical Italian cafe and bar, this place does not disappoint.

The front of Enotria Diana completely opens up, making the front mostly 'open-air'. There are three oak barrel tables for 2 outside, an L-shaped bar counter that holds about 12, and a long bench seat against the wall lined with a number of tall round tables, with chairs opposite.
Italian posters, maps, strings of wine corks decorate the walls, and an Italian radio show plays in the background. There is even a large cured ham shank hanging over the front of the bar, we ate some of the shavings from this ham - delicious!
The menu has a wide selection of foods to snack on, but you'll need to be able to read a bit of Italian or Japanese. Recently we had:

Assorted cheese plate 1300 yen
Olives 390 yen
Prosciutto ham plate 1000 yen
Homemade sausages 430 yen

Although we have never eaten dinner here, the menu is extensive enough to do dinner. There are a number of grilled foods, salads, antipasta, croquettes, casseroles, and desserts.

There are also many drinks to choose from, and they are all reasonably priced.

House red wine 500 yen
Cocktails 650 yen
Pint of beer 820 yen

Address: Kitazawa 2-14-14. A five minute walk from the South exit of Shimokitazawa Station.
Phone: 03-5779-8733

Open from 11:30 - 23:30, 7 days a week

39. 'Mall' Review: Jerk

Right across the street from the Waffle Cafe Orange is a small shopping arcade. There are an interesting mix of shops inside, pretty much the same as what you find all over Shimokita, but in one place. I always buy postcards from the rental box store inside.

Hours of Operation: 12:00 - 20:00

Location: Kitazawa 2-chome. Take Shimokitazawa Station's North Exit. Once outside, go left up the hill. At the top of the hill (in front of the electric shop), turn right. It is a short way down on your right.

38. Restaurant Review: Taraato

Taraato is one of those places that you have to visit at least once, just to see it. From the outside, it looks like just another Southeast Asian restaurant. What is surprising is that it is two stories, and you walk down into Thailand to get to your table.

The place was packed the day we went there. Small groups of college kids everywhere, drinking lots of alcohol and eating lots of food. It turns out all food and drink are 399 yen. Strangely enough, in addition to the Southeast Asian dishes, there were a lot of Mexican choices as well.

We had Vietnamese spring rolls, Pad Thai, and some sort of fried rice. Nothing was very authentic, or tasty. I would not come here again for Asian cuisine, there are too many better choices in Shimokita. I also felt that the kitchen was too cluttered, maybe it wasn't unclean, but it felt that way.

On the other hand, it is a really inexpensive, fun place to drink. There was nothing wrong with my margarita!

During the day, Taraato has an all-you-can-eat buffet with four sections: main, salad, dessert, and drink. I've never seen it, so I can't comment.

Address: Kitazawa 2-11-3. From the South exit of Shimokitazawa Station, take an immediate left down the street (toward Chazawa dori). It is a short walk down on the left.
Phone: 03-3412-0037

37. Restaurant Review: Imari

This restaurant has been closed.

Just outside and up the hill from the North exit is a tiny little place called Imari. On the door, in English, it says 'soup in summer', 'stew in winter. It was a cold, windy day; stew would be just the thing.

Stepping inside was like entering a time warp. The building is old and the classical music makes it feel even older. The white walls are 'grayed' with age, and mini chandeliers and beaded glass lights hang from the ceiling. The back wall is an unusual black antique folding screen covered in trees and deer.

There are two large tables that hold 6 people each, plus four tables for 4. A staircase in the back leads to the kitchen upstairs. A lovely young woman takes orders and notifies the kitchen by intercom. Food 'magically' appears from behind the cash register.

The menu, in winter, is stew. There were two lunch sets: beef stew (1750 yen) or chicken vegetable stew (1450 yen). They are served with salad and a choice of rice or bread.

Customers can also order from the regular menu, which is divided into two stew catagories - brown sauce (beef, oxtail, tongue, mix of the three - all about 2000 yen) and white sauce (vegetable, chicken, or fish - all about 1750 yen). Add rice or bread for 210 yen. I don't know if a salad is included or not.
I went with the beef stew lunch set. I also had a glass of red wine (420 yen). The beef stew was very tasty, but I felt that the portion size was a little small for the price (compared with beef stew I've eaten around Japan - in places that also specialize in it).

Also, I had the rice, but the people next to me ordered bread. It was warm, crusty French bread - great for dipping. If I return someday, I'll try it with the chicken stew. I did really like the atmosphere.

I don't know what types of soup they serve in the summer.

36. Cafe Review: Waffle Cafe Orange

I have walked past the Waffle Cafe Orange a million times, but never in the morning when I prefer to eat waffles. The displays outside are really tempting, but they are so big I knew I'd never have room for one after eating lunch. Finally, after a Japanese breakfast of miso soup, rice, and pickles, I decided to have a waffle for lunch!
I was surprised to see that they actually had four 'Waffle Lunch Sets'. There were three types of waffles to choose from: plain; avocado, tomato, and cream cheese; and salad with Caesar dressing. The fourth choice was a 'Waffle Plate', with a mix of waffle types (tuna/mayo/corn, tomato/cream cheese, and banana/chocolate). I was not brave enough to try anything but the plain waffle. Lunch sets come with coffee or tea.
The waffles were delicious, warm, light, and fluffy. I just wish I could have had a big glass of milk with them, instead of ice coffee. For those who do like to eat waffles anytime of day, the menu is quite extensive. In addition to the waffles above, choices include:

*Chocolate, almond, whip cream
*Seasonal fruit and whip cream
*Banana, chocolate, and ice cream
*Orange, mango sauce, and ice cream
*Powdered green tea, ice cream, and sweet beans
*Raspberry, blueberry, and ice cream
*Pizza waffle
(Add whip cream or ice cream to anything for 115 yen extra)

Drinks include a selection of coffees, teas, soft drinks, juices, and draft beer (500 - 700 yen).

I don't know how often I'll want to eat waffles, but it is a really nice cafe. The interior is light and airy, with old wooden floors, and lime green + sky blue walls. Floor to ceiling windows run down two sides of the restaurant. I think they open them when the weather is nice, practically making the entire restaurant 'open air'. The background music was reminiscent of the Caribbean. Inside there are seven tables for 2, and two slim tables for 4. Outside on the patio there are seven tables for two.

35. Restaurant Review: Daikon Man

I have no idea why this place is called 'Daikon Man', there is no Japanese radish served here. This is a standard okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and yakisoba joint. One of those places where the smell of food on the griddle drifts out the door and pulls you inside.

Interesting enough, this place used to be Italian. I know that because they left Italian decorations on the walls. They also leave the daily grease and grime - if you really look at things closely, you probably won't want to eat here. But, if you want really delicious okonomiyaki (Kansai or Hiroshima style) in a typical Asian setting, this is the place. The restaurant is narrow and only holds three tables for 4, two tables for 2, and space for 10 on a long 'L' shaped bench right on the edge of the huge griddle. Watching the show and making friends with the people beside you is all part of the fun. Just don't let your coat rub up against the wall or fall on the floor!

Location: Walk straight down the main shopping street on the South side of Shimokitazawa station. You'll see (and smell) Daikon Man on your left.

34. Cafe/Bar Review: Kitchen Ripple

I was walking around the north side of Shimokita station and I was in the mood for pasta. I happened across this sign, so I decided to give 'Kitchen Ripple' a try.
There was no way of knowing what 'Kitchen Ripple' looked like, it was up a narrow staircase, on the 2nd floor (over a hair salon). I was pleasantly surprised.

Kitchen Ripple is pretty small, there is a long wooden bar counter with 5 stools, and one long table with bench seats (for 6). The atmosphere is 'Australian Outback', with aboriginal-style designs on the walls. 80's English pop music plays in the background (Cyndi Lauper, Tears for Fears,..). One nice, kinda shy guy runs the place.
As you can tell, the menu is pretty extensive. I asked him for a pasta recommendation, it was spaghetti with pork, mushrooms, and onions - flavored with miso and soy sauce. It sounded interesting, so I tried it. Lunch comes with a mini salad and bread. As I watched the owner prepare my pasta, I enjoyed a really nice salad - tomato, cucumber, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and a selection of lettuce in an oil-based onion dressing. It also came with a lightly toasted croissant, mmm. The pasta was really good and it was so nice to hear all my favorites from the 80's. I'll definitely be eating here again.

The menu is entirely in Japanese, but is almost completely katakana. There is a large selection of pastas, the standards (meat sauce, carbonara, ariabiata) and more original creations like the one I tried. He also serves pizza, hamburgers, steak, grilled chicken, rice omelets, salad, and more. Everything is priced right around 1000 yen.

In the evening; add a mini salad, soup, bread, and mini dessert for only 350 yen.

Address: Kitazawa 2-33-6. A couple of minutes from the North exit of Shimokita station. I believe it was down the street (toward the tracks) from 'Lush'.
Phone: 03-3466-9996

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Sunday 12:15 - 15:30
Thursday - Sunday 17:30 - 23:00

33. Shop Review: Irohado

Irohado is another of Shimokita's funky little shops. Mostly it is full of cheap, ugly hats and bags. But there is an interesting selection of women's socks - very funky. They also have a bunch of Jackie Onassis (or Nicole Richie - for those of you who don't realize who truly made them famous) over-sized sunglasses, all for 1000 yen. At the same price, they also have lots of stylish glasses for those of us who want to wear glasses but don't really need them. Throw in crazy shoelaces, cheap jewelry, and a collection of buttons and patches - that's Irohado.

From Shimokita's South Exit, make an immediate left at the McDonalds. At the first street, turn right. It is a little ways down on the right hand side.

32. Restaurant Review: Les liens Brasserie

This entire beautiful building has been destroyed and replaced with a parking lot.

Another one of those places that peaks the curiosity, Les liens is a little french bistro with a traditional Japanese feeling. The walls are white; the floors, tables, and chairs all chocolate brown. Well worn wood with character. A large bookcase holds a selection of reading material (all in Japanese). Mellow jazz plays quietly in the background. It is a small place, with a table for 4, a table for 3, three tables for 2, and two seats at the bar.
There are three choices for lunch: a daily special, sandwich, or curry (all about 1000 yen). The menu is handwritten in Japanese, and the little bit that is in katakana is French. Whenever in doubt, I always order the special.

First came a small cup of pea soup, flavored with peppered croutons. I love peas, so I really enjoyed the soup. The main dish was a variety of vegetables (cabbage, potatoes, broccoli,...), a sausage, and a very tender piece of pork in a tasty soup broth. A popular french dish that I cannot spell in English. It came with a choice of rice or bread. Healthy and delicious. I added on a cup of coffee for 150 yen.

Address: 5-32-14 Daizawa. From Shimokitazawa's South exit, walk down the main shopping street. When it runs into a number of other streets, take the 2nd left - you should see a used clothing shop called 'Chicago'. Les liens is on the right at the traffic light (on Chazawa dori). It is part of the first floor of the really cool building on the corner.

Phone: 03-3410-3454

Hours of Operation: Closed on Mondays
Tues: 18:00 - 23:00
Wed/Thurs/Fri: 12:00 - 14:00 / 18:00 - 23:00
Sat/Sun/Holidays: 12:00 - 22:00

31. Shop Review: Madman

A great name for a shop, I never would have guessed it would be a fish/pet store. They have a large selection of fish, fresh and saltwater. They also have turtles, lizards, a lonely toucan, and a very sad owl. Despite the disrespect for wild animals (that should never be pets), the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. They were very polite when I complained. If you ever wander by this store, I hope you'll say something as well. I know every other customer just says 'kawaii' (how cute) and walks away (both animals are extremely expensive and will probably live the rest of their lives in the store). If you are purchasing fish, however, this is the only shop in Shimokitazawa.

Address: Daizawa 4-chome, on Chazawa dori, almost beside Tambourin (a previous blog).

30. Cafe Review: Mois Cafe

I love stumbling across a hidden gem like Mois Cafe. I was just wandering a residential side street not far from the station and there it was. An English list of drinks on a huge chalkboard in front of a older 2-story Japanese home. No idea what might be inside, but one of those places where you just have to take a look.
Glad I did. Just inside was a smallish room with three tables for 4 and a tiny open kitchen. A young woman was cooking something that smelled amazing. I was led upstairs to a large Japanese style room filled with dark wood furniture - two tables for 2, four regular tables for 4, and two coffee tables flanked by sofas (each seating 4). Mellow, yet funky new age music was playing softly in the background.
The 3 menus presented were on CD jackets; an extensive list of alcoholic drinks (just about everything, 500 yen and up), another long list of non-alcoholic drinks (tons of coffees, teas, juices - 400 to 600 yen each); and the lunch menu.

The lunch menu is served from 12:00 - 18:00, but if you order between 12:00 - 15:00, coffee or tea is included. For an extra 200 yen, add the dessert of the day.

Lunch Menu:
*Ratatouille burger 800
*Daily Rice Bowl Dish 800
*Mexican Jambalaya 800
*Today's Curry 800
*Sweet Potato and Chicken Ethnic Curry 900
*Indian Chicken Curry 950
(All served with salad and soup.)
*Spicy Tomato Soup 850
*Fish and Spinach Cream Soup 900
*7 Types of Mushroom Cream Soup 900
(All served with rice or bread.)
* There is also a daily special.

There is a drink/dessert set for 900 yen. Choose from blueberry, strawberry, plum, or 'Today's' tea + 'Today's' pudding.

I had eaten earlier in the day, so I tried the dessert of the day (Apple cheesecake) and iced coffee. The cheesecake was very good, but quite rich. It was also pretty big. Good for sharing, I couldn't eat it all myself. I'm looking forward to going back for lunch, the ones I saw delivered to other tables looked tasty.
I did not get a chance to see the dinner menu and I am not sure of the hours of operation.

The menu is in Japanese, but if you read katakana, you'll understand 90% of it.

Address: Kitazawa 2-21-26. Walk down the main shopping street from Shimokitazawa's South Exit, turn right at Mister Donuts, walk a little and turn right again, it is on the left.
Mois Cafe is owned by a company called 'Renovation Planning'. Every place they own is unique. Check their website for more information: