Organic vegetables coming directly from a farm, an outdoor display of fresh produce and a gorgeous terrace tucked deep into vintage Shimokitazawa – a newfound healthy favourite.
It’s no secret that Shimokitazawa is filled to the brim with hidden treasures. Just when I thought I had unearthed all the greatness it has to offer, I was introduced to a healthy alternative to my usual cake and baked goods haunts: Noumin Cafe, which literally means “Farmers’ Cafe”.
As the name states, it serves only fresh ingredients hailing from an organic farm. Organic vegetables are somewhat scarce and often heftily priced in this city, so it’s always a nice surprise to find supplies of them close to home, and in a sleek setting nonetheless.
The cafe’s exterior is made of dark wood, with an arrangement of seasonal vegetables presented: onions, carrots, and potatoes are the quintessential autumn harvest. The interior is equally organic, with white-painted wooden slates and dark furniture, a bit like a farmhouse. I happily took off my shoes in the genkan to slip in some plush slippers, and picked a sofa to sit on, next to a traditional-style heater with a kettle on top.
Besides the cosy interior, the food offered is the other reason to visit. All the dishes are made from organic ingredients, and you can choose from a variety of fish-based, meat-based, or curry meals and entrees. I highly recommend trying the vegetable curry, which comes with a hearty portion of seasonal vegetables (pumpkin, potatoes and baby radish this time), on a bed of rice with leafy greens on the side. The vegetable soup is a great alternative for a light meal, in a light consommé form.
A vast array of drinks are available, from ginger teas to cocktails and glasses of wine or organic beers. The menu is handwritten in Japanese with lots of kanji characters and very little katakana, so if your Japanese reading skills are novice you may need help from a friend or from the extremely friendly staff, who can actually speak good English.
It was a perfect spot to catch up with a friend over a glass of wine and a healthy meal, all in the warm, snug atmosphere that will keep me coming back all winter long.
Noumin Cafe (see website here)
2-27-8, Kitazawa, Shimokitazawa (a 5 min walk from the north exit of the station, see map)