Vegetarian Night at Crayon House
Tucked away neatly amongst the side streets of ultra-hip Omotesando is a humble organic gem that is sure to satisfy those wanting to snuggle closer to mother nature—at least via their food.
Entering down a winding stairway and through a large courtyard lit with string lights, the atmosphere is immediately welcoming, festive and unassuming.
While al fresco dining is perfect for sunny afternoons, with Tokyo’s temperature doing its descending act, myself and my accomplice headed indoors, where we were pleased to find plenty of cosy seating inside the roomy interior dining room.
We attended Crayon House’s Vegetarian Night, which happens on every second and fourth Monday of each month and offers a selection of organic vegetarian dishes, served up in an all-you-can-eat buffet. This was a fun test, having both vegetarians and non-vegetarians represented at the table, we hoped the night would spark debate over the palatableness of the plant-based fare. All the dishes were Japanese style recipes with the usual contenders of tofu, sweet potato and beans all making star appearances.
We piled our plates high (there’s definitely no judgement here) and sampled the lotus root carrot stir fry garnished with watercress, vegetable sushi, pumpkin cooked with red beans, vegetarian Mexican hamburgers and two varieties of sweet potato fritters.
Two stand-outs for me were the tasty hamburger rissoles and the coffee jelly dessert. The rissoles had just the right texture, no mean feat when creating vegetarian patties, and the coffee jelly was, in true Japanese form, the perfect balance of sweetness, steering well away from the saccharine overload of many western style desserts. My dinner guest had a thing for the tofu, enjoying two plates of its creamy wonderfulness while gleefully declaring it his favorite.
Once you’ve put your napkins down, it’s worth strolling through the multi-level Crayon House shop, which offers a large selection of international vintage children’s books (plus a comfy reading area), handcrafted educational toys, organic cosmetics, and an organic greengrocer. And for those of us who are too busy to get to the supermarket on a regular basis, Crayon House also offers a flexible weekly organic vegetable delivery service.
While it’s situated in one of the fashion hubs of Tokyo, there’s little faff and fuss here. What you see is exactly what you get, and at the right moment that can be supremely refreshing. With an earnest aim to promote and popularize organic food in Japan, Crayon House should be your first port of call if you’re very hungry, like your greens, and have a spare ¥2,700. It’s as simple and as essential as that.
Address: 3-8-15 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (Sat and Sun from 10:30 a.m.)