On a rainy day in Shibuya, we were wandering around searching for somewhere to eat lunch when from across the road I spotted a joint called “Vege Kitchen & Cafe”. As there are many restaurants with “vegetable” in the title without offering any real vegetable dishes, we thought this may be another false alarm (especially since I hadn’t seen it on Happy Cow). We walked in and asked for a menu and were delighted when everything was vegetarian with a large amount of vegan options!
We sat down to a bowl of vegetable soup with focaccia and paid a very reasonable price of 1000 yen for the meal. It was the perfect lunch for a rainy day; the soup was tasty and full of vegetables while the focaccia was some of the nicest I’ve had. Even the simple pleasure of bread is a tough one in Japan as a lot contains milk, egg or butter.
We enjoyed our lunch so much that after strolling around Shibuya for the afternoon we decided to go back for dinner! My companion decided to get a non-vegan set meal while I opted to pick a selection from the a la carte menu.
I started with the “Fried Potatoes” which were tasty as a chip should be but nothing entirely exciting to report. This was followed by “Potato Chips & Tortilla Chips with 2 Assorted Vegetable Dips.”
The chips were tasty but could have done with a bit of salt. The dips were delightful though; one being a guacamole type affair and the other was a tangy salsa. Definitely a great start to the meal that was to come!
I wanted to compare the “Vegemeat Hamburg Steak” with the Soy Hamburg I had enjoyed at Chaya earlier in the week. I still can’t decide which I enjoyed more as they were both completely different. This one was definitely “steakier” and was served with a mushroom gravy. Definitely a great main to go for if you’re ever there! I also had some of the delicious focaccia with it to top it off.
Dessert was a tasty tofu cake served with soy cream, nuts and berries. It was awesomely sweet and moist and complemented perfectly by the tartness of the berries.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
We enjoyed that day of eating so much we decided to head back to Vege Kitchen and Cafe the next night for dinner again!
This time I opted for their only vegan set meal which was a vegetable based affair rather than the non-vegan mock meat one.
We started off with that famous focaccia and salad that came with some of the nicest dressing I’ve ever had. I’m still trying to place my finger on exactly what was in it but I believe radish may have been involved in there somewhere.
This was closely followed by a cup of tomato based soup full of tasty vegetables, herbs and beans. As you all know I’m not the biggest soup eater but it definitely went down a treat with some of that bread.
The cold appetiser was a kawaii selection of three tiny dishes. The first was a combination of smokey mushrooms and zucchini, the second was a baby stack of tomato, tofu, avocado and basil in a vinegar type sauce and the final was some kind of pickled vegetable concoction. I enjoyed the latter the most but all were very tasty.
The hot appetiser was comprised of char-grilled vegetables in a miso sauce. Looks pretty boring huh? Looks can be deceiving, it was actually one of the tastiest things I had there. The miso sauce was perfect and had a touch of sweetness to it and you guessed it, I dipped some of the focaccia in that as well!
I’m not the biggest fan of rice-based dishes so I was a little disappointed with the choice of either paella or risotto for my main course. I chose the paella mainly because I hadn’t had one before and unfortunately it was rather bland, I also burned my arm several times on the dish! I really think I could make a better paella and I’m going to attempt to do so sometime soon.
Redemption came in the form of dessert; a banana and walnut cake served with soy cream and a pumpkin pudding. Both were equally delicious in their own right and I thought it was a nice touch that you got to sample two dishes rather than just the one. They were a great ending to the meal and left me feeling satisfied despite my disappointing main.
Vege Kitchen & Cafe