Omotesando. An area of Tokyo, west of the center and nearby the infamous Shibuya crossing. It is one section of a bustling and lively hub which runs alongside districts such as: Harajuku, Meiji-Jingumai and Aoyama. What sets Omotesando apart from many other areas is the presence of high fashion. Here you can gorge your consumerist appetites, plus dwindling bank balances, in glistening stores such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Jimmy Choo.
It is not always that where you find Prada, you also find a focal point for a vegetarian revolution, but where there is fashion there often exists the health conscious. Perhaps this is the reason for the slew of simply fabulous Omotesando eateries, serving up quality natural produce that heartens vegetarians and the nutrition-wary alike.
Mr Farmer certainly fits into this category. Opened in November 2014 (Time Out link), it proudly stands by its motto: ‘no vegetables, no life.’ It is a bistro with a thoroughly convenient location; minutes walk from the main Omotesando-dori (a large tree lined street, complete with the aforementioned fashion paradises), but far enough away from the noise of this main busy road. Here you can find freshly made food with local, often organic, produce.
Again, this is a cafe that does serve dishes with meat and fish, but the owners are not afraid to put vegetables at the forefront of their food and to my delight, vegetarian options are numerous. Another place to visit that does not solely serve vegan or vegetarian food, but it is a great location for the ethical eater. Mr Farmer also does not suffer from it’s high class location.
It is down to earth. Here you can find a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, perfect for a hearty brunch or a lazy Sunday lunch. My own personal triumphant entrance on the most recent occasion was somewhat embarrassing. I failed the ‘just press the obvious sensor and the automatic doors shall open’ test, instead opting to taking a lengthy (so it felt) stand in front of the door and perplexed staff. Despite this audacious attempt to resemble a confused ape, I was instantly put at ease by a waiter offering an English menu and a stifled, yet friendly, giggle. The staff here are unmistakably ‘cool’, one waitress had the classic Tokyo woolen hat despite 35 degree heat. But, you are treated to attentive, Japanese style, service.
Mr Farmer’s interior design is in a ‘country’ style. Dressed to appear rustic: large plants, aged wood and a kitchen at the center-point with a selection of healthy cooking ingredients. However, you never become deluded to the fact that this is a London style (or indeed Tokyo style), big city dining experience. It is clearly new. Style is abundant. There are drinks served in jam jars and cushions created out of plaid shirts. The ‘farming-bistro’ experience is obviously not totally authentic; but importantly for me, it is chilled and welcoming with delectable food and drink.
I enjoyed two summer visits in one week for western-style lunches at Mr Farmers. On one occasion I enjoyed a mozzarella, tomato and olive open sandwich on focaccia. On the second I ate an unusual blueberry and quattro cheese sandwich on campagne. Both were well presented and tasted delicious. They were accompanied by perfect dressings (well, much like people in Omotesando, of course) and I noted great attention to detail, such as the use of mint leaves to garnish. Upon choosing the ‘plate’ option (it has sides, is larger, and is therefore the correct option); I received a salted, crushed jacket potato and a leafy salad. The portion size is generous and the prices well chosen. My meal and drink on the first occasion was 2025 yen.
As well as superb sandwiches, the menu (Japanese and English available, complete with a breakdown of the main ingredients) also lists filling soup options and customizable salads. The drink options are an additional highlight; large smoothies such as ‘Body Care’, an enticing mix of strawberry, banana, carrot and beetroot. You can add toppings to these, such as the ‘superfood’ acai. The coffee, ginger ale and lemonade are also fantastic.
Once comfortably engorged on my smoothies and sandwiches, I sat back and paid attention to the scene of an archetypal pleasant restaurant. Customers were happy. The atmosphere was ‘chatty’, clearly a popular spot and not the ‘library feel’ that some coffee shops and cafes suffer from. Options of seating included padded benches or inclusive, walled booths. ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ by the legendary band ‘War’ played in the background. A pleasant sigh gleefully exited my mouth and mildly startled a fellow diner.
So, give Mr Farmer a go if you like filling, high quality and natural food. Vegetarian options are plentiful and a welcoming, restful atmosphere is clear for all to see. Have a look at these blogs/websites for further reviews and opinions: Glow In Japan, Green Lunch Diaries and Trip Advisor. If you enjoyed this read; please comment and share!