We know, we know. Tokyo is the Mecca of raw fish, beautiful pearly rice, and silky handmade noodles. No one really goes to Tokyo to have a cuppa joe and an avo toast with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce on the side. But don’t be so quick to dismiss their variations of coffee and brunch. The Japanese impart their elegance and attention to detail on any cuisine they touch; Tokyo is not the city with the most Michelin stars—for the most varied types of cuisine—for nothing.
So put aside any pre-conceptions and open yourself to new experiences, for, after all, that is precisely why we travel. The Japanese certainly did so when they opened these cafés , so why don’t you too?
We’re only going to list our absolute favourites here because, while we do think that brunch in Tokyo should be experienced at least once each time you are there, there are many fabulous food establishments elsewhere in the city that you ought to let your stomach experience too.
M House takes its inspiration from a mishmash of cultures—and we mean that in the best way possible.
We admit, a large part of our love for M House stems from its gorgeous space.
Stepping into its premises, we are greeted by long, clean lines and a monochromatic colour scheme punctuated by warm splashes of wood. But once we ventured into the terrace, the space morphed into a sunny Greek seaside café complete with ocean-blue stripes and an indoor water fountain. Upstairs, it’s all elegance: black walls with white wall panelling.
What about the food? We are happy to say that it’s as wonderful as its décor. The egg dishes, in particular, stand out because of the freshness of Japanese eggs. You’ve never tasted eggs and salmon like this, and the French toast brioche is positively bursting with richness. For an indulgent meal, don’t pass on the uni and scallop omelette. Hey, you’re on holiday, after all!
4-23-13 Ebisu | Mercer Bldg., Shibuya 150-0013, Tokyo Prefecture
Tel: +81 3-3441-7551
Mon to Fri: 11:00 AM – 15:30 PM, 18:00 PM – 23:30 PM
Sat and Sun: 10:00 AM to 23:30 PM
The Dutch pancakes at Path are to-die-for. The pancakes must be made from magic, because they somehow defy the laws of physics. Biting into them, they are at once buttery, crispy, and flaky outside, while also fluffy, eggy, and cloud-like inside. They taste as if a croissant had a child with a soufflé. And, if making them more perfect is even possible, they are then topped with silky prosciutto and creamy burrata, with all the flavours tied together with maple syrup. It’s a sublime mixture of flaky, airy, creamy, salty.
Path is the offspring of chef Taichi Hara and patisserie Yuichi Goto, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that the pancakes are as astounding as they are, what with this shining pedigree behind it.
Be warned, though. Tokyo’s discerning eaters are as enamoured with this concoction as we are. Lines start to form from 8am before Path even opens, so get there early.
If you’re really not a morning person, Path transforms into a moody fusion bistro at night, serving dishes like horse sashimi and quinoa salads.
P.S. Though we have listed it as a brunch place, it is really worth your time to visit Path at any time of the day.
1-44-2 Tomigaya | A-Flat 1F, Shibuya 151-0063, Tokyo Prefecture
Tel: +81 3-6407-0011
Tue to Sat: 8:00 AM – 15:00 PM, 18:00 PM – 00:00 AM
Closed on Monday.
4/4 Seasons Coffee
4/4 Seasons Coffee—pronounced “all seasons”—offers 7 single-origin coffee beans, each processed differently, roasted and ground in house daily, and bringing with it a characteristic flavour. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, the friendly baristas are always happy to chat with you and explain the provenance and flavour profile of each bean and brewing method.
This is what we like about 4/4/ Seasons Coffee: it’s specialised but never pretentious, and we always feel welcome in the place regardless of whether we’re a coffeeshop kopi drinker, a Starbucks fanatic, or a coffee enthusiast who buys his own beans and brews them using an Aeropress.
The food at 4/4 Seasons Coffee doesn’t play second fiddle to their coffee, either. Though its food menu is clearly not the focus, everything is made from scratch and baked in house, like a daily and rotating selection of bread and cakes. For that extra oomph, ask the barista the best pairing of coffee and bread of the day. It was a revelation to us.
2-7-7 Shinjuku | 1f, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
Mon to Fri: 8:00 AM – 19:00 PM
Sat and Sun: 10:00 AM – 18:00 PM