Kurkku 3, is part of the Kurkku restaurant group that has several restaurants in this neighborhood. Located just as you enter the main entrance to Omotesando Hills is this sleek and bright shop. The lunch menu is simple and focuses on soba and seasonal vegetables. Here is the cold soba topped with pork and vegetables served with a tangy tomato dipping sauce. I was intrigued when the waitress described today’s special as it had a tomato sauce instead of the ubiquitous soy-based dipping sauce that soba is so traditionally served with. The tomato was refreshing and is something I will try to replicate this summer, when we often make the very thin, flour-based sōmen noodles that are always served cold.
One whole wall is of windows that faces the main street of Omotesando that is often compared to the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo. Grab a window seat for some of the city’s best people watching as shoppers stroll by.
Omotesando Hills, designed by Tadao Ando, is filled with over 100 shops for high-end fashion like Belgium’s Ann Demeulemeester. It’s a great place to meet friends for a meal as there are plenty of restaurants to choose from including one that I go back to time and time again, Yasaiya Mei. Yasaiya Mei offers a menu filled, but not limited to, seasonal vegetables.
Kurkku 3 offers some domestic Japanese wine and international beers.
Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-12-10, Omotesando Hills 1F
There is no better way to beat the Tokyo heat in the middle of the day than with an ice-cold sweet. This suika (watermelon) mizore at Toraya Cafe in Omotesando Hills hits the spot. What caught my attention to this when I first spotted it on a friend’s facebook page was that it comes with a rum syrup.
The bottom of the glass has a not too sweet kuromitsu (brown sugar) and rum syrup. It was a little thick so I am guessing that it had a little bit of Toraya’s famous An Paste (a creamy azuki paste that I love on toast). On top of the watermelon ice was some azuki beans as well as some soy milk ice cream. This is part of a summer promotion and is only available in August.
Toraya Cafe is perfect if you are by yourself. It’s also a great place to visit with a friend. While Omotesando and Harajuku can be filled with people I find this is usually a tranquil spot to relax over Japanese sweets. The cafe also serves a light lunch but it is the wafu sweets that make this a special place for me. This online menu has great photos of their menu.
There is also a counter that sells some of their most popular items. Toraya Cafe also has branches in Roppongi Hills and in Aoyama.
Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-12-10, Omotesando Hills B1
When I am craving Japanese vegetables one of the first restaurants that comes to mind is Yasaiya Mei in Omotesando Hills. While the restaurant specializes in produce it also serves meat and seafood. While classified as a “washoku” or Japanese restaurant, the menu often includes Western-style dishes like bagna cauda or a cheese fondue.
The lunch menu is filled with photos of the set lunches so no worries if you don’t speak Japanese. The dinner menu is bilingual – English and Japanese.
Everything I have had here has been excellent. Tofu burgers, eggplant doria of sake kasu (sake lees) and cheese, and the gozen (see photo above) featuring seasonal vegetables. On this day the staff suggested having a glass of freshly squeezed corn juice. Growing up in Minnesota I am spoiled by corn and have to admit that this was one of the most surprisingly delicious things I’ve had here. Many of the vegetables are on display at the restaurant if there is a Japanese vegetable you are not familiar with.
I’ve always gone with friends which is great for sharing. There is also counter seating popular with solo diners. The staff are knowledgeable about the dishes and ingredients. And service, as usual in Japan, is top-notch.
Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-12-10, Omotesando Hills 3F
Monday – Saturday and Holidays
11:00～（Last Order 16:00）
17:00～23:30（Last Order 22:30）
17:00～22:30（Last Order 21:30）
Closed if Omotesando Hills complex is closed.