Brunch: Trending Now in Tokyo
A few years ago, the concept of Western breakfast was reserved for hotels and television. Foreigners living in Japan dreamed of complete breakfasts: savory sausages, fluffy eggs, and delicate pancakes. While proper bacon (crispy, not oily), has yet to be found, brunch and breakfast restaurants have erupted around Tokyo, leaving the smell of fresh pancakes reeling in customers. In reality, customers need little incentive to flock to these popular new eateries. When a new pancake shop opens and splashes the words “Hawaii,” “pancake” or “sweet” on its advertising, queues form instantly. At some shops, it is (shockingly) unsurprising to wait several hours for a bite of breakfast heaven.
The ever-popular Eggs ‘n Things in Harajuku boasts ridiculous lines every day throughout the year. Though it’s not new, its popularity doesn’t seem to dwindle. Across the street is Café Kaila, whose 2,000 yen pancakes have customers waiting several hours to enjoy. Eating is not something to be taken lightly here. It spurs the question of “Don’t these lovely young women have anything more constructive to do with their time?” Yet the thought of delicious western food (and the photos posted to social media) is far too appealing for most.
Some recently opened and long-awaited New York digs include Sarabeth’s and Clinton Street Baking Co. When the former opened its first store in Shinjuku’s Lumine II in 2012, people were yet unaware of its potential. Nowadays, with a second location in Daikanyama, it is rare to sit down without a decent wait. Clinton Street Baking Co, on the other hand, is far too new to contemplate visiting. Even on a weekday, the lines for this cozy Aoyama eatery are more than two hours long around midday. (For a reasonably short wait, arrive before 10:30am.)
Whether or not a visit to Japan necessitates Western food is up to each visitor. Waiting in line, building the anticipation, and (finally) uttering words of delight with the first mouthful is part of the experience here. That in itself makes a visit worth it. Why not try the café experience of Tokyo?
[Post by Nadia]