dessert

Japan: Tokyo/ Omotesando/ Gluten-Free (Natural Cream Kitchen)

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If you have food allergies like I do, you know how daunting traveling may be, particularly when it comes to overseas travel.  But, a great man once uttered, “Nothing is impossible,” and indeed with growing food allergy awareness, traveling with food allergies is becoming much easier than it used to be.  The only caveat is that you must do your homework ahead of time, which many of us who have allergies are accustomed to doing anyway.

In this new blog post, my purpose is to introduce you to a wonderful little café located in Omotesando, which offers all natural, gluten-free items on their menu.

Natural Cream Kitchen opened in spring of 2015 and bills itself as an “additive free sweets café.” However, sweets are not the only things offered on their menu. Here you will find delicious items such as chicken and roast beef entrees, meatloaf, pasta, sandwiches, quiche and salads.  Their drinks menu includes soft drinks, herbal teas, beer and wine! They even have a brunch menu featuring oatmeal and omelets among other items!  Everything is prepared using natural ingredients, no sugar and no additives.  Their tarts, breads and cakes are created with rice flour and sweetened with amazake  (a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice) and sugar beets. Their signature roll cakes come plain and in chocolate cake flavors and are available in sizes up to 50cm (19.6 in). For Christmas you can order the Christmas cake version. Oh, and did I mention their sweets sampler tower?

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You can choose to dine in the cozy café decked out in a bright and soothing décor or take your food out. There are large vases filled with white flowers, white washed tables and chairs, exposed white brick walls and a giant chandelier comprised of eating utensils.

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The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, able to answer any questions you may have regarding the menu (provided you speak Japanese.)  Even if you can’t speak Japanese, the menu has pictures of the items available so you can just point to what you would like to order.

Whether you have food allergies, are health conscious or just want to try delicious tasting foods, Natural Cream Kitchen should be on your list of places to visit when in Tokyo! The café is open Mon-Sat from 10AM-8PM, Sun & Holidays 9AM-8PM. It is easily accessible via the Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines) or the Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda Lines).

 

Web page:                        https://naturalcreamkitchen.com/

Location:                           GYRE B1F 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

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Japan: Tokyo (Swallowtail Butler Cafe)

Japan is well known for its host of maid and animal cafés and now there is yet another “theme” café to be added to that list. Tucked away beneath K-Books bookstore in Ikebukuro, you will find the latest craze in café dining, The Swallowtail Butler Café (http://www.butlers-cafe.jp/). The café offers lunch, dinner, tea and dessert sets and caters predominantly to female clientele in their 20s and 30s, and it is easy to understand why.

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Butler cafe

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The café décor is reminiscent of an English manor house. Customers are led into the dining room through a lavishly decorated corridor filled with paintings, vases and flowers. Each side of the dining room is lined with private booths decorated with overstuffed pillows and beautiful fabric curtains. Tables with claw-footed chairs are placed in the center of the room beneath two massive crystal chandeliers and there is a mirrored cabinet on one end filled with exquisite tea sets.

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Elegant decor

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Although menus are available in English, the butlers mostly communicate in Japanese. There are 20 butlers who were trained for a month on manners, speech and the art of tea making and they are extremely attentive. They subserviently greet customers with a “Welcome home Madame, “ push your chair in, carry your purse to your table, bow whenever they leave your table, refill your tea cup and go the extra mile to make you feel special. Although men tend to visit maid cafés in groups of 2-3, approximately 1/3 of the female patrons at this butler café were there alone and seated at what would be classified as a “single” table. A majority of the customers were female naturally but there were some men in the mix as well.

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The food is a bit on the pricey side, as can be expected and most people typically wind up spending on the average between 2,000¥ to 5,000¥. A bell is placed on your table and you ring it if you want your butler’s attention and even to get permission to visit the restroom.

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Reservations are required and should be made between one to fourteen days prior to your planned visit. There is an 80- minute time limit for patrons to remain in the café and perhaps that is a good thing as women would savor this kind of service all day long if allowed to do so. For those of you wanting to take a bit of the experience home with you, there is a gift shop across the street which offers cards and photos with the butlers’ images, CDs and other goods. You can also purchase wine, sweets and tea at the gift shop.

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Items available at the gift shop

Items available at the gift shop