Brown Rice by Neal’s Yard is one of Tokyo’s very first plant-based restaurants and famous city wide for their delicious bento boxes. The organic and vegetarian menu follows the traditional Japanese diet of fermented food combined with tofu, brown rice, seaweed and seasonal vegetables .

The location

Brown Rice by Neals Yard is located in the busy shopping zone of Ometosando in Harajuku. I found it tucked away in a side street away from the hectic busy shopping area with international brands like Chanel, Dior and Gucci.

The space

I walked down  an alley filled with plants, which created a healthy, green and organic vibe.

There’s seating inside and out. The outside seating is also connected to their Neal’s Yard cosmetic shop. Although it’s secluded, I didn’t feel like I was in one of the busiest areas in Tokyo. If it’s full you have to wait outside and give your name.

Inside  I discovered a very calm Glowcation, with warm wood used for tables and chairs. I saw a large square table to sit on with a group, but also small tables for two. Next to my seat I had a basket to put my jacket in- handy!

The crowd

What really surprised me was that everyone else was Japanese! Vegan healthy food must be on the rise in an already healthy country.

What else?

At Brown Rice By Neal’s Yard, the plates and dishes are made by local potters and artisans.

The UK skincare brand Neal’s Yard is for sale in the adjoining shop.

The little things that make the difference

I really liked it being very true to Japanese food culture despite being healthy, organic and plant-based,  

What we ate

As a little appetiser I got radish and …… kumquat in olive oil. This was like a flavour explosion.

The first set menu was a bamboo basket with ten different steamed veggies. It came with homemade dipping sauce, brown rice, their homemade miso soup and pickled veg. It tasted very simple and pure in flavour.

The second set menu was their seasonal vegetable curry served with brown rice, a simple side salad and some pickled veg. The curry was made out of tomatoes, onions and spices and topped with fried tofu, purple radish, carrot, lotus root and kambocha pumpkin (pronounce it like kabotsjaa in Japanese, that means pumpkin!). The curry had a thick texture and was packed with flavour.

Last, but not least, I tried the seasonal set menu. Deep fried tofu with grated radish sauce and came with three small side dishes of seasonal simmered vegetables, greens, seaweed, brown rice and miso soup. When Japanese fry, it weirdly taste still healthy. I don’t know how they do this! The tofu still tasted fresh and was soft and warm with a gentle crisp.

For dessert I picked a caramelised apple cake with cinnamon apple compote flavoured with an orange liquor sauce.

The huge chunks of apple were caramelised, sticky and delicious. The crust was more crunchy, so this gave the perfect bite to the cake. The sauce had a little hint of liquor.

The other dessert was the tofu lemon cake. This is their signature best seller from the menu. The crust was super crunchy and made out of oats. The “cream cheese” was a mix of tofu with lemon zest. It was topped off with a dried lemon slice and some lemon sauce. The “cheesecake” was very light, and very special since the cream cheese was made out of tofu.

The bill

Weekly special  2200¥
Bamboo steamed vegetable 2200¥
Curry 2000¥
Caramelized apple cake 850¥
Tofu lemon cake 750¥

Brown Rice by Neal's Yard

5-1-8 jingumae,shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001

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