Since my last restaurant round-up, I’ve tried a few new places, all of them keepers in my book.
I’m always on the prowl for new coffee shops or tea houses to try, so when I asked a friend to join me for coffee, I googled what was around and settled on Robert’s Coffee, a Finnish coffee chain.
It’s located in Daimyo, a couple of buildings over from the AKB48 Cafe (which I shan’t be trying out, nope). Inside is a mix of couches, comfy chairs and more typical cafe tables with chairs. There’s supposedly free wi-fi, but apparently there’s a password one needs. I had the “Oriental Latte” (double espresso of your choice, plenty of hot milk, cardamom syrup, frothed milk and crushed cinnamon and cardamom), which was delicious. My friend had the french toast, which also looked good.
The coffee isn’t cheap, but it isn’t anywhere, really. But the cafe was a nice place to relax and chat, so I’ll be back.
Ni no ni is a gyoza (dumpling) restaurant popular with my coworkers, and I joined a handful of them after trying out Robert’s Coffee. They have a supremely cheap happy “hour” and we ate and drank to our hearts’ content for about 1700 yen per person. We ate at the Daimyo branch, which is about a one minute walk from Robert’s Coffee (handy, that!). The gyoza are good, but I think it was everything else we had that made the meal — a liver and chive dish I actually liked, delicious sweet fried chicken, mabodofu tofu, jellyfish (it’s all about the crunch!), spring rolls, deep fried pork knuckles and more. If you’re after cheap and tasty, Ni no ni’s a definite winner.
When I came back from Dazaifu last week, I stopped for dinner in the Parco department store, settling on a little tempura shop in the basement. I was amused that they have a “healthy” set, given it’s all fried. But since what I wanted (the seasonal set) was sold out, I ended up ordering the healthy set in the end.
And it turned out to be a good choice: one piece of chicken breast, plus green pepper, eggplant, sweet potato, kabocha squash and one other veggie. The set came with rice, miso soup and all you can eat pickles (the cabbage was good, but the seaweed-mentaiko wasn’t to my taste). The tempura was light, not greasy and served piping hot, a piece or two at a time. I noticed they have anago (salt water eel) sets available, so I will most certainly be back.
Today I woke up with an inexplicable craving for pancakes, so it was off to Google to find a place within walking distance. The first place I went to turned out to have been turned into a bar, so I headed from Daimyo to Tenjin, ending up underground at the Iwataya. The next department store over is Vioro, and a quick glance at their restaurant listing showed me biblioteque, which was advertising strawberry pancakes.
Had a short wait before I could get in, and the service itself was slow, probably because the place was packed. But oh was the food worth it. I had the strawberry and mascarpone cheese pancakes with lavender syrup, paired with a strawberry latte. The latte was smooth, with a good inch of foam that had to be cream-based and came with frozen berries on top. Sublime. The pancakes were light and fluffy, buttermilk-based. They came with a dollop of mascarpone, some whipped cream, and a tiny container of lavender syrup, which was light, sweet and perfect.
The pancakes hit the spot, and I will definitely be back to try their Tenjin exclusive: pancakes with a compote of fruit native to Kyushu. They also feature local veggies in some of their dishes, so I’ll have to try a savory dish at some point.