Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tokyo Eats - In the neighborhood Part III (Picture heavy!)

More food posts because we eat out a lot ^.^ The spring was spectacular with all the blooms, though I nearly clawed my eyes out because of allergies. I took lots of sakura pictures but I'm behind as usual, so I'll post them later when I get there.


This is an older photo taken back in December when my family visited. Me and my mum was at the food court inside Tokyo Tower, getting a snack at Mos Burger ^.^

Yes, we still dine quite often at the Atago Forest Tower lounge with E. and D. Delicious food, great company, and superb service, what's not to like? Not to mention the lounge is quiet with a fantastic view. What more could we ask for?


I seriously haven't had a bad meal here yet. Some I like more than others, but never outright bad.

They change their menu every 2-3 months I think. After the delectable pear tart (top left), they changed to the chocolate fudge cake which was delicious but funny enough I don't like chocolate cakes :P Then they changed to this strawberry tart and for the first time ever, they actually screwed up a dish--they somehow overcooked this tart and it came out hard as a board! It made noises when I tapped it with my fork! I wasn't too offended though. They've done so many things right I just couldn't count the one-off against them even if I wanted to. So I just ate the ice cream and the strawberry. The second time hubby ordered it was much better, but I still love the pear tart best.

Over the past few months our group of friends gathered at the Toranomon building a lot. Because we're all a little burned out with work and this place's nearby with decent food.

On the ground floor of the Andaz Hotel is a burger joint called Bebu. One afternoon I wandered in, and though there were great offerings on their menu I didn't want a burger. Instead, I discovered a nifty tea-time item: the mini eclair and tea set. These were the same eclairs from the Pastry Shop next door, only much better priced: 900yen for 3 minis plus tea or coffee. If I were to go next door to the actual Pastry Shop, I'd pay 1,000yen for the same 3 mini eclairs but without the drink. Funny how that works...


I haven't had lunch at the Toranomon Cafe on the 2nd floor, but I've tried their lattes several times.

They have 3 different lattes, salted caramel, matcha, and strawberry, all of which are tasty and not too sweet, way better than the syrupy sugary stuff they pump out at Starbucks. Admittedly, I prefer salted caramel and matcha over the strawberry but all 3 are really good.


I've tried their crepe once too during tea time (between 2-5pm) but it was too sweet for me.

Also on the 2nd floor but outside of the building, opposite with Toranomon Cafe is a branch of Maison Kaiser. This is a popular chain of French bakery with sandwiches, etc. Hubby and I came in once on a late afternoon for tea and sweets, and the experience was so off we never wanted to go back.

I ordered a cup of Earl Grey and a caramel eclair, and both were just wrong on so many levels. The tea was so strong and bitter it gave me an instant headache, and mind you I drink lots and lots of tea. It wasn't just my tea. Hubby ordered a different tea, a Darjeeling, and his too was too strong and bitter.

And the eclair, wow, I wasn't sure then what it was they fed me, and I'm still not sure now what that thing was. It sort of looked like an eclair, but it was doughy and tougher than an old baguette--I couldn't cut it with my folk, I could barely bite it! What was supposed to be caramel icing on top was pure sugar. What was supposed to be caramel cream/custard inside was, umm, caramel-colored congealed goo. There was nothing eclair-like or caramel-tasting about that thing. We were so confused as to what happened there. Honestly, we've had meh food in Japan, but never this terrible, especially with sweets :(

During Golden Week hubby and I went back to the Above Grill & Bar for the Japanese-fusion afternoon tea. 


We were slightly disappointed the tea selection remained the same as last November when we had afternoon tea here. We were hoping to try something new.

But we did like trying interesting things that were different than what we usually have.



I've had lunch here once, and we've been back a few times for dinner also (will get to those photos later...). So far the spotty service overshadowed the good food, which is unfortunate. More often than not, the wait staff forgets about their diners. Once, we observed clever parents having their 2 little girls screaming to get the staff's attention because the parents themselves couldn't flag down anyone. Sure, the kids were loud and shrill but I can't really blame them.


The happy-hour appetizers were okay.

On the other hand, me, hubby, and our friend J. found ourselves eating at Arbol all the time. Same as the Atago Forest Tower lounge, I like some dishes more so than others but in general the food is great and the service is great. We've taken our family here and they liked it too!


There was this さくさく (saku saku--crispy?) pie they make that was just heavenly, like a cheese-less pizza on a buttery croissant that was perfectly flaky. Whenever we go we always order it, and still we haven't gotten our fill yet. Thankfully it's still on the menu :D Another thing I loved was these shrimps, although this was seasonal as they don't offer it anymore.


The meat dishes were fantastic also. I think both hubby and J. love their grilled beef with grilled, locally-sourced vegetables.

I tend to favor their pastas over their meat dishes. They do really good pastas here! The portion is perfect too, and you feel full afterwards but still wanting more.


But you know what's funny? They suck at desserts LOL! We've tried several desserts and I found them all ho-hum. The flavors were lacking, and they were bland in ways I just can't describe. But hey, they're so good at everything else we usually just skip desserts.


Every now and then, on a quiet Sunday hubby and I would spend a lazy afternoon the 3rd Cafe. He reads, I write, and that's it :) Their latte, cappuccino, and ginger lemonade are all very decent, though note we're not coffee connoisseurs so temper your expectations.  

And of course we've eaten at The Sweet Dynasty Hong Kong quite a bit also, because Taihouki is always too smoky. I think this place is actually called Tocho and not The Sweet Dynasty. I'm always a little confused with the naming convention since I don't speak the language.


I had lunch here at the Washoku Bar OtoOto once but found it uninspiring and never went back.

Probably because I picked the most uninspired dish ever--oyako-don. Ha! Actually, that's not true at all. Take Momodori for example, they took the mundane oyako-don and made it fantastic and delicious.

Also tried this Udon & Oden Anpuku a few times but have since stopped going.

This place takes udon and make various Japanese and Western-style dishes with it. I love udon so I thought this would be another good neighborhood fall-back spot on lazy nights. But turned out their portions were horrendously big, so big even hubby struggled to eat, and he eats a lot (he's a 2 Chipotle burritos for lunch kind of guy...)! The two items I particularly liked here was this scary-looking black curry and sukiyaki.

And then one time, I made the mistake of ordering the nabeyaki udon, which has to be my most favorite udon dish ever. To my horror it came out in a gigantic nabe, and by gigantic I mean enough to feed 2-3 people, and this was a lunch portion, folks! So yeah, that was the last straw that broke the camel's back, or rather my appetite, and we never went back since.

Found another gem: Honey Baked Ham! We lunched here a couple of times whenever the cravings hit for a taste of home. Their honey ham sandwich is passably authentic, but don't expect "American portions" because you won't get the giant sandwiches from home. Been here for dinner a few times too for delicious ham-related dishes. Will post those photos later.

Some of the pretty flowers spotted when walking about the neighborhood.

See my previous posts:
- Tokyo Eats - In the neighborhood (Picture heavy!)
- Tokyo Eats - In the neighborhood Part II (Picture heavy!)

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