Kaffir Lime, Omotesando
Omotesando, an area synonymous with high fashion brands and pricey European-style restaurants is not where one might expect to find an authentic, neighbourhood Thai restaurant. But veer even just slightly off the main boulevard and you'll find plenty of charming, reasonably-priced local places, such as Kaffir Lime.
I stumbled upon Kaffir Lime one Saturday afternoon, literally 50 meters from Kiddyland on a small side street. The unadorned wooden building immediately stuck out, with the Thai eatery occupying the second floor and another open-air restaurant on ground level. I vaguely remembered hearing friends talk about a great Thai place somewhere in the back streets around Omotesando, and as we ascended the stairs I knew we had found the spot.
The sunlit interior late in the afternoon had the sweet and spicy aroma of a Bangkok kitchen. We settled at a table by the window, and were surprised when our Thai server approached us, speaking excellent English.
We started with the prawn crackers (¥380), which were light and tasty, and accompanied by a mixture of fish sauce and soy sauce. We also went for a second starter of fresh spring rolls (¥890), which tasted very fresh indeed. Lean chicken was wrapped with crispy lettuce, cucumber and clear noodles, with a perfectly balanced, homemade sweet and spicy sauce for dipping. These were so good we knew they would be hard to follow.
But we tried anyway, with the fried rice with basil leaves (¥1,080), which we washed down with a couple of Singha beers (¥630). The beer cooled our mouths from the spiciness of the meat, which was also perfectly offset by the slightly runny fried egg.
Next came the main event: the coconut green curry (¥1,050). This was sublime, and lovers of Thai food will rejoice at the authentic coconut based bowl of awesomeness. After just one mouthful I suddenly morphed into something akin to a Japanese TV “talent,” exclaiming oishii! with nearly every bite. I wasn’t the only one; it seemed everyone in the restaurant was there for the same reason—this amazing green curry.
I must admit that the curry finished us off, but in the interest of having the full experience we moved onto dessert. Some interesting options presented themselves, and we went with the tapioca coconut milk (¥480) and steamed bread with Thai custard (¥580). The Tapioca was as you’d expect, more of an novelty than a culinary journey, but the steamed bread and custard, which you eat fondue-style, was awesome—kind of a like condensed milk with macha, served with soft white bread (but much better than that would be).
After another beer we were on our way, strolling off into the fresh autumn evening slightly dazed but content that we had found our latest little secret haunt. We will definitely be back for the quaint, down-to-earth atmosphere, but even more so for the incredible green curry.
Address: 2F, 6-1-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30-11 p.m.
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