Delicious Daikanyama: The Ivy Place

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Situated right next to the amazing and maze-like Tsutaya bookstore at T-site in Daikanyama area, The Ivy Place is a picture-perfect place for brunch, lunch or tea amidst a lush green setting. On a nice day, sitting outdoors is perfect because nothing beats noshing while taking in the world with a cool breeze by your side. It’s a totally different story though come freezing winter or humid summer – retreat indoors even if you have to beg!

The real urban jungle

The real urban jungle

So, I was inevitably first drawn to The Ivy Place when fellow piglet Sonia excitedly informed me they serve grilled cheese kalbi kimchee sandwiches! I’m a big grilled cheese sandwich fan, and if you throw in kalbi and kimchee into the mix, I’ll be yours forever. Verdict for this grilled sandwich: satisfying in a healthy delicious way, but the kalbi wasn’t flavourful enough to pack a solid, tasty punch…

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The cheese-kalbi-kimchee sandwich, special effects courtesy of LINE camera app :)

So second time round, I settled for their Fresh Basil Pesto Risotto with Green Beans and Grana Padano. No idea what Grana Padano was, but I heart pesto and risotto, so this was a relatively easy green choice hurhur. The risotto was surprisingly light and fresh, and not heavy creamy like usual risottos. The fresh green beans provided the perfect nice green crunch to balance the richness of the cheese and pesto. I’d happily return and order this dish again ooo yeahhhh.

Risotto

Luscious cherry tomatoes and firm green beans…

In short, The Ivy Place is an easy breezy light brunch/ lunch option if you are thinking of checking out Daikanyama on the weekend. Be warned though, that the queue gets pretty ridiculous and you might easily have to wait for at least 1 hour during peak hours, and a relatively ok 15-30mins wait during non-peak hours (yup, even at weird times like late afternoon/ early evening). Give them a shout and book beforehand, it’s never too early to reserve and you might be lucky enough to get a sweet spot.

Oh! price-wise it veers towards the higher-scale for Japanese-sized portions (expect to fork out ~2,000 JPY ++ for brunch/ lunch meal + drink), but hey it’s a delicious and light option and worth checking it out when in the ‘hood. They also have a ton of other brunch offerings too, like buttermilk pancakes, smoked salmon, croque Madam…so why not? :)

-Sulsuls

Website here
Wherefore art thou? Map here

IVY PLACE,
16-15 Sarugakucho,
Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0033

Delicious Daikanyama: Urth Caffe…unearthed

Daikanyama – you are such a deliciously pretty neighbourhood! Today, we unearthed Urth Caffe in your ‘hood over a lazy 2pm brunch/lunch, and it won hands down as one of the best places for a yummy weekend brunch in Tokyo! *Moves it onto fav brunch list*  Thank you pro golfer Shigeki Maruyama for bringing this LA cafe institution to the heart of Tokyo!

Urth caffe is surprisingly spacious for a brunch place, with both an indoor (which has a weird jungle mural on the walls reminiscent of a Borneo rainforest) and outdoor seating (perfect when the sun is out to play!).

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The gorillas are watching you…

Wrought iron chairs which spell Urth Cafe on top :)

Wrought iron chairs which spell Urth Caffe on top :)

They’ve got a pretty eclectic brunch menu, with hints of Tokyo, NY and LA influences. Thank god there were 6 of us so it was pretty easy checking off stuff we wanted to try :) Final count: *drumroll* Chicken Curry sandwich, Pepper soup, Belgian Waffles with fresh fruit, NY-style pastrami sandwich, Veggie sandwich, grilled chicken pesto sandwich and a quesedilla bowl filled with amazing guacamole, chicken, salad and lots of other deliciousness I can’t quite decipher but don’t care because it tastes heavenly…

Creamy chicken curry sandwich - tastes like melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken mmm....

Creamy chicken curry sandwich – tastes like melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken mmm….

Quesadilla bowl - oh, muy bueno!

Quesadilla bowl – oh, muy bueno!

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Veggie sandwich – grilled to perfection. If I turn vegetarian, I’m turning to this

Daikanyamers! Happy sweet 16 Evan :)

Daikanyamers! Happy sweet 16 Evan :)

Because piglets have their chicken curry sandwiches served with a tiara :)

Because piglets have their chicken curry sandwiches served with a tiara :)

I need to arrange my fruits this beautifully, and symmetrically, on my waffles from now on

I need to arrange my fruits this beautifully, and symmetrically, on my waffles from now on

Piglets diving in for the pepper soup!

Piglets diving in for the pepper soup!

And oh boy, the drinks! I don’t usually get excited over drinks, but at Urth “exclusively organic coffee and fine tea” Caffe, they sure show you a fiiiine time with their drinks. My iced organic green tea latte boba was legit and Asian-approved: serious matcha latte and chewy pearls slushed together in icy organic deliciousness…They’ve fruit smoothies which you can mix and match, and so fresh that you can still taste the fruit bits through all the crushed ice mmm-mmm.

My green tea boba claiming its throne in the middle of the food parade!

My green tea boba claiming its throne in the middle of the food parade

Urth lattes give you 2 hearts :)

Urth lattes give you 2 hearts :)

Everything we ordered was unbelievably delicious (I still can’t get over how light, airy and delightfully crusty their sourdough bread is), freshly-made, and left a nice healthy after-meal taste, thanks to the heaps of salad served as sides on each sandwich order *thank you LA, motherland of Urth Caffe, for being a fitness junkie*. Ehmmm that said, I want to return for a less healthy reason though, because I spied with my little eye and chanced upon this – decadent rows of desserts calling my name so sweetly *waves excitedly to the creamy layers of Tiramisu. And crumbly Caramel Cake. And rich, chunky Oreo Cheese Cake. And all those other sweet, sweet babies…”

How do I resist thee? I refuse to even try

How do I resist thee? I refuse to even try

At 2,000 ish JPY per person (food + drinks), it was a little pricier than the average brunch munch. But the portions here are hearty American style, which will leave you all full albeit with a skinnier wallet :) Now that fellow piglet Sonsons is moving closer (woohoo!), we will definitely be dropping by Urth for regular, delish brunches on weekends. Maybe it’s time to call it lunch if it’s at 2pm…

–Sulsuls

Wherefore art thou?

Urth Caffe (map)
8-9, Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo