Raw and Vegan Food at Rejuve, Iidabashi

"You are what you eat" is the motto of the raw and vegan restaurant Rejuve in Iidabashi. At first, this sounded a bit corny to me—we are only talking about food, after all, right? But, after learning the story behind the slogan, I changed my mind. The restaurant owner, Chika Motoshima, had gotten sick and her doctor told her that she wouldn’t recover. As a consequence, she restarted her life from scratch, and one change she made was a complete change of her diet by becoming a raw food and vegan master. And yes, she recovered from her illness and opened Rejuve last spring. Her philosophy: with our lives being stressful and busy with lots of rushing from one place to another, healthy nutrition can change your life.

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Even if you’re not looking to make as drastic a change as Chika did, and even if you are rather skeptical about raw food and vegan cuisine (and are a meat lover like myself), do like me: give it a try! The place is only a two-minute walk from famous Kagurazaka street in Iidabashi. The restaurant is very welcoming, with a minimalistic, Scandinavian style interior, wooden furniture, a cosy sofa corner and jazzy lounge music.

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Every day the lovely Rejuve staff serves a different lunch menu (¥1,000), and for an additional ¥300 you can add a smoothie of the day (which is freshly prepared for each customer). Choose between two vegan dishes or the raw food plate (which includes the smoothie for no additional charge).

I started with a yummy smoothie (apple, banana, orange and Japanese mustard spinach called komatsuna) and then went for the deli menu: a very tasty carrot and soy milk soup, a bowl of rice with a shitake, paprika and vegan miso topping and different small bowls of salad, broccoli and root vegetables.

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Most of the ingredients come from an organic farm in Chiba, explains cook Hitomi Kuroda, who learned about raw food when suffering from different allergies and skin problems. “Eat vegan or raw food once a week at our place and you will feel the difference,” she told me.

Well, I don’t know if I can achieve that, but I will definitely come back. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the the fresh food. I even dropped my initial idea of going for a ramen afterwards (in case I ended up still being hungry after lunch). I left the place satisfied and feeling well, if not rejuvenated as the promising name of the restaurant suggests. And for meat lovers, Hitomi prepares the best “beef” stroganoff—without meat but with three kinds of mushrooms and plenty of vegetables instead. It’s so delicious that meat eaters might not even be able to tell the difference.

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The Deets

Address: 7-3 Iwatocho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-6280-8310

Open: Fri–Wed, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 6:30–10 p.m. (smoothies available to go from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)