Countryside Cooking in Aoyama

Tucked in the backstreets of Aoyama, you would never expect to find yourself at a cafe with meals that seem to have come from hundreds of miles away, perhaps tucked in the mountains of Nagano or Fukui. Yet sure enough, I found myself in such a place today: Life Creation Space OVE. It wasn’t enough for the cafe to fit so snugly into a merchandise store. Nor was it enough for the interesting counter space kitchen to catch my eye so easily. This cafe had already made my day – it just didn’t know it yet.

Although I was 10 minutes early for lunch time (more actually, I just killed some time shopping in supermarkets — found you, Waitrose oatmeal! so so far from your English home), the (owner?) host graciously directed me to a round table, where I patiently sat and waited for 11:30. What’s a girl to do when it’s too early but she’s very hungry? Sit, wait, and write. Obviously.

When 11:30 rolled around, my order was already in and delivered not long after 11:40. I chose the day’s special vegetable meal – the host (now waiter)’s recommendation. He couldn’t have been more right.

It arrived. I drooled. Then tucked in gracefully, though my stomach growled for faster chopstick action. I can’t really describe what I ate accurately enough. Words can’t do justice to the incredible flavors these vegetables presented my taste buds. The soup and brown rice, just so right, reminded me of home cooked Fukui meals. Gosh I miss “inaka ryouri” or country cooking. In the center dish, vegetables (like bauga cauda) were placed carefully on top of two purees which I can’t identify properly except to say they were some of the most delicious sauce-like spreads I have ever had. One was pumpkin or carrot like, the other a mix of some green leafed plant with a slight kick. Whatever was in these magical spreads, I was pining for more. Then there was the salad. Simple, shredded carrots and baby leaves, yet spruced up to my delight with a hint of kiwi – fresh kiwi as dressing, who would’ve thought.

As much as I tried to savor the meal, I couldn’t drag it out forever without my soup getting cold. Then came the coffee. I was too satisfied. Happy, really. All for 1000 yen. Unbelievable. It just goes to show that you only need to take a few steps out of the commotion to find reasonably priced (a bargain for this quality) cafes in Tokyo.

I even found a small shrine around the corner as I walked back to Shibuya. Incredible lunch. I’m still in a post-lunch reverie. Let’s pretend it’s not nearly 6pm.

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