Hidden away in the Shinkiba area of Tokyo, Arkhe is an apothecary and kitchen inspired by Yakuzen, a type of Chinese medicinal food therapy.
This beautifully designed cafe-restaurant is built in a renovated storage space, one originally used to store wooden materials. In fact, the Shinkiba area, meaning "new lumberyard" , was historically the center of the Tokyo lumber industry. Paying homage to this heritage, Arkhe is decorated with artisanal wooden furniture, kitchenware, and art pieces. The interior setup embraces the health conscious mindset as well, with lush greenery. This calm atmosphere makes Arkhe the perfect destination for a relaxed lunch out or quiet study session.
The mission of Arkhe is to support their customer's physical and mental health through serving Yakuzen cuisine made with all natural ingredients. The brand concept is grounded in the belief that food is a form of therapy. Consuming healthy food, grown and prepared in an ethical way, can foster a balanced body and mind. Upon entering Arkhe, there is an extensive display of dried fruits, granola, tea leaves, nuts, and dried dashi stock, carefully packaged in glass jars. These products are not only available for purchase, but are also incorporated in the meals. These natural ingredients function as a tasty and healthy food base, as well as a clean and sustainable way to give back to the environment. Moreover, while some of their dishes use dried fish for the dashi stock, Arkhe also offers vegetarian options upon request. Given the lack of vegetarian options in Japan, Arkhe is a safe haven for anyone traveling with dietary restrictions.
Unlike a traditional restaurant, Arkhe functions like a cafeteria where the customers order their food from the counter and serve themselves after the dishes arrive. The menu itself also follows a Japanese cafeteria teishoku style, where small dishes are served together on a tray as a set. This new style of dining is perfect for the homey and cosy feel of the Arkhe space. Customers are free to sit wherever they want for as long as they want (space-permitting) without any outside pressure. While waiting for my food, I managed to walk around the gallery and shop attached to the dining area. The shop offers a careful selection of high quality, lifestyle goods and gifts. Arkhe successfully combine the best parts of dining and shopping, giving way to a mind-opening experience.