Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dec 29, 2011 Part 3/3 - 農家の台所

I didn't carry a travel guide with me on this trip. So, I went to Kinokuni bookstore in Shinjuku, picked up a Shinjuku food guide, and tried to see what's good for dinner. Something caught my eyes - 野菜料理, or vegetarian cuisine. Actually, it turned out that it's not vegetarian, but instead more like organic. Basically, it's cuisine for the health conscious.

The magazine recommended 3 such restaurants near the Shinjuku station. The first one, Vegi Dining (べジダイニング), was full and they told me it'd be an hour wait. So, I headed to the 2nd one, 農家の台所, literally Farmer's Home Kitchen. And what a surprise! It's the most interesting experience thus far. It's not cheap though, as I spent close to US$80 on this meal. But I think it's worth the experience alone.

There're 6 Farmer's Home Kitchen restaurants in Japan, 5 in the Tokyo metro area, and 1 in Hiroshima. This Shinjuku branch restaurant is their 3rd one. They bought all their ingredients directly from farmers across Japan, all of them organically grown.

This is the entrance to the restaurant. Look at the 2nd picture. It surely looks more like a supermarket. And yes, you can buy things like salt and various sauces from the restaurant.

Upon entering the restaurant, I immediately noticed that 95% of the customers were female. I counted only 5 men. Interesting enough, 3 of them, including myself, are not of Japanese origin. I guess organic food is not well accepted by Japanese male yet.

For dinner, they serve a prefix menu, with various choices for the the pre-main dish (The menu says 前菜. It's not appetizer as it's a little bit bigger than a regular appetizer) and main dish.

But first, the drink.

Starting from the left, fresh peach juice, mandarin orange (ミカン) juice, and apple juice.

This is the appetizer, and my Japanese is not good enough to understand what the server was saying. It tasted like potato so I guess it must be some sort of sweet potato.

Then the salad bar. Each customer got to pick what they want. Just by looking at the picture, don't you think it's much more attractive than Sweet Tomato?

Here's a full view of the salad I picked.

And exactly what are the following? I only know that they taste good :P

Sweet potato soup.

Pork smoked with sakura wood.

Japanese beef with mushroom and ... well, I didn't know what kind of vegetable it was.

Ginger chocolate cake.

I have to say I was not impressed by the desert. Some people might like it. Now I know that I am not a fan of mixing ginger and chocolate. In fact, I was given 6 choices and I chose this one for adventure. I was considering 2 others, ginseng (人参) cake and tamago with pumpkin. Better choose them next them.

Finally, they recommended me this sweet potato coffee, which the server explained it's actually sweet potato tea with a coffee taste.

Somehow, I couldn't discern the sweet potato. It just tasted like water added to coffee.

But all in all, what an experience! Oh! One more thing, I found out at the end that for the salad bar, there's actually unlimited "refill". Well, next time.

This is just perfect before I go to Nikko tomorrow, as the dinner served by the hotel there will certainly be on the heavy side.

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