Seeking the best cafes in Tokyo is continuous task but certainly not a thankless one. Vivian Morelli takes the baton and heads to Rose Bakery – again!
This European import not only has the tastiest cakes in this city, but also serves scrumptious brunch and meal sets in a stylish setting.
Rose Bakery has been my go-to cafe ever since I relocated to Tokyo over a year ago. The thick slices of wheat bread, the creamy butter and the rows of cakes to choose from somehow always make me feel right at home. Indeed, the home cooking philosophy of the cafe really does translate well, as every single item on the menu tastes incredibly fresh and homely, just as if it was prepared by a French mother back in the kitchen (as I like to imagine).
Interestingly, Rose Bakery was started in London by a British lady, Rose Carrarini, and her French husband. They later opened a branch in Paris, where it was welcomed with scepticism (a British bakery in Paris, gasp!), but her teas and cakes turned out to be quite successful, and the cafe now has branches in Seoul and Tokyo.
Although Rose Bakery has a few locations across our metropolis, my favourite remains the one inside the Comme des Garcons shop near Tokyo Station – the stylish clothes are just as exquisite as the food. A fact that will please fashionistas: Rose’s sister-in-law is famed CDG’s designer Rei Kawakubo, so now it all makes sense.
Beyond the fashion and snazzy decor is the food – kickstart your day by feasting on thick, fluffy pancakes and maple syrup, or go with the cheese scone and scrambled eggs, which are served with leafy greens in a light vinaigrette.
Eggs Benedict is served on a thick piece of fresh country bread and will fill you up for the rest of the day. Another favourite, available all day, is the pizzette, which is a small, thin-crusted pizza topped with seasonal vegetables.
Make sure you save some room for a dessert. Unlike many airy, sweet Japanese creations, the cakes are dense and many are savoury, such as the carrot cake (and the zucchini-carrot combo version). For a sweet tooth, try walnut and amaretto, coconut lime, banana pecan, matcha or raspberry. Wash it all down with ginger tea (which actually uses fresh ginger) or a soy mocha latte.
If you want to re-create Rose’s dishes at home, you can buy her recipe book at the cafe, as well as some ingredients such as pink salt and organic spices. Sometimes I like keeping my favourite Tokyo haunts secret, but this is too good not to share if you don’t already know about it!
Rose Bakery (locations and detailed schedule)
Where: Various locations, including Comme des Garcons Marunouchi (see map)
Main image: Sophia Fukunishi
Text by Vivian Morelli