Rachael White reports from the 2010 Thai Festival in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo.
Fronting half of the establishment, this café provides an alternate entrance into the Margaret Howell world of clean-cut clothing for both men and women. On a side street up the hill from TGI Friday’s in Shibuya (and just around the corner from Craftheads), this little café is a delightfully quiet lunchtime option for shoppers who have found themselves on the north side of the Shibuya craziness.
Highly recommended are the limited, but delicious, lunch sets. The ‘Sandwich’, ‘Quiche’, and ‘Season’ (changes monthly) plates are all under 1,400 yen and include a main dish, soup, and drink. The chicken sandwich isquite good, and while the soup of the day (potato and celery) wasn’t exactly to die for, the cappuccino was just what the doctor ordered while sitting in the small open-air interior of the shop with the sun shining through the floor to ceiling windows.
For the record, this is one of the few cafés in the immediate area that actually has a no-smoking section (a practical choice given that the café opens right into the clothes shop itself). The generous outdoor seating is, as one would expect in Tokyo, puff-friendly, but there’s enough space between tables for this to not be too much of a factor (depending on the wind of course).
Serving lunch/brunch from 11:00, the modest menu errs on the sweet side while providing enough variety to keep those in search of light fare happy. Scones, cakes, coffee, and tea range from 400 to 700 yen. Go ahead and try the carrot cake (600 yen) with an iced latte (680). Laze around long enough and you might find that a glass of mulled wine (700) will suit the slow swing of the afternoon.
Fresh OJ and lemonade (630) might be logical options if you’re hoping for a bit of brunch. A regular coffee (530) and toast with butter and jam (380) would be the perfect complement on a sunny morning on this alarmingly sedate back street not seven minutes walk from Hachiko.
For those in search of an alcoholic beverage, there’s Yebisu (690) and a couple of imports (790) available for beer drinkers. Wine by the glass is 700 yen, or you can spring for a bottle of the house selection for 4,200.
Directions: From Hachiko go up the street on the right side of the corner building with Starbucks and Tsutaya in it. Keep going straight until you pass Tower Records (on your right). Take the left after Tower Records and then take an immediate right just before TGI Friday’s. Walk straight until the small road forces you to turn left. Take the next right and walk straight for about 50 meters. Margaret Howell café is on the right.