Tokyo’s top brunches are worth seeking out, particularly if you wish to beat the summer hangover blues on a Sunday morning… So what’ll you take with your coffee? Eggs Benedict? Sourdough pancakes? Read on…
By Emma Brooke
On those mornings when rice balls just won’t cut it, there can be only one cure.
Isn’t it lovely? The rainclouds seem to be clearing, the sun will soon be shining brighter and some of Tokyo’s finest establishments are opening up their beer gardens for us to while away those hazy summer evenings sipping away at an incomprehensible number of margaritas. Other than the occasional downpour, what on earth could spoil such unadulterated bliss?
Well, as we all know, with great alcohol consumption comes great agony, and it’s only a matter of time before that nasty hangover begins to rear its ugly head. The morning after the night before, you begin to realize that the seventeenth cocktail probably wasn’t the best idea, especially when your only hope of recovery is some combini food and a bottle of Japan-strength painkillers lying by your futon.
On those mornings when rice balls just won’t cut it, there can be only one cure. Brunch. At first glance it seems that it’s the city’s high-end venues that are dominating the brunch scene. Now this is all well and good, but it’s not particularly helpful if your still wearing your pyjama bottoms and your hair looks like it’s home to a small family of sparrows. But fortunately, if you look just a little closer, you’ll find a couple of cozy cafes serving up some of the city’s best late brekkies.
Tucked away in the backstreets of Meguro lies the small but oh-so perfectly formed Beard. Step inside and you’ll find yourself transported into a French-inspired culinary paradise complete with wooden beams, exposed brickwork and an easygoing elegance that’s still not so easy to come by on the streets of Tokyo.
Sit yourself down at the counter and watch chef-owner Shin Harakawa at work as he prepares you a dish that you’ll still be drooling over for weeks to come. Whilst the menu changes from week to week, a regular feature and undisputed highlight are his sourdough pancakes (¥1,600), which have been the talk of the town since Beard’s opening last year. 1-17-22 Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5496-0567; www.b-e-a-r-d.com
Good Honest Grub, Ebisu
For those of you looking for a little slice of home, look no further than Ebisu’s Good Honest Grub. Scribbled up on the chalkboard in their ultra laid-back dining room you’ll find an array of old breakfast favourites from a hearty eggs Benedict (¥1,600) smothered in a creamy hollandaise, to their mammoth Lumberjack breakfast (¥2,000), sure to satiate even the biggest of appetites.
And don’t let the large portions fool you into thinking that what you gain in quantity you’re losing in quality. The restaurant prides itself on its organic produce, with many of their veggies coming from their very own farm at the foot of Mt Fuji. 2-20-8 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3797-9877; www.goodhonestgrub.com
If you’re searching for something a little different, head on down to Roppongi’s Lauderdale. Alongside the regular brunch staples like buttermilk pancakes and a generously sized omelette (both ¥1,600), diners can dig into the best breakfast soufflé in town (¥1,700), with fillings ranging from cheese and mushroom to the slightly more exotic banana and pepper. And boy have they got it down to an art! Golden and fluffy on top with a delicious spongy centre and lashings of cream on the side, it’s the perfect alternative for those looking for something a little more adventurous than the your standard brunch fare.
Located in the heart of Roppongi, just opposite the Grand Hyatt, it can get a little busy at the weekend as the expat contingent head down for their weekly bacon fix. However if you time it just right, there’s every chance you’ll be able to bask in the sunshine as you treat you taste buds out on their terrace. Oh, and did I mention the free Wi-Fi…? 1F Keyakizaka Terrace, Roppongi Hills, 6-15-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3405 5533; www.lauderdale.co.jp
Main image: Bunny Bissoux