By Mandy Bartok
The trendy Daikanyama neighborhood - sandwiched in between Ebisu and Shibuya in central Tokyo - has no shortage of attractive cafes and unique eateries. But if the tables at Ivy Place are all spoken for or you're just not up for the nearby Chocolate Cafe, pop into the cavernous dining room of Bombay Bazar for farm-fresh food in an unhurried atmosphere.
Bombay Bazar actually occupies a large piece of basement real estate on one of the main shopping alleys in Daikanyama. Descend the stairs and you'll be warmly invited to pick your favorite seat from what's available. This may initially be harder than you think; no two chairs here are alike and even the tables are all a mismatch. It gives the space an eclectic feel, though somehow the unique pieces all seem to work well together.
The menu (available in English and Japanese) is equally varied. The two main lunch dishes on the day I went were a tofu scramble, complete with onions, peppers, mushrooms and a hefty portion of avocado, and a big bowl of fresh vegetable tempura over rice, lightly doused with the most delicious sauce. Both meals were accompanied by different soups - the warm, chunky tomato soup with the scramble was delicious - and even a side of fresh-baked bread. Coffee or tea is included in the lunch set and for those who prefer non-caffeinated beverages, the lemon grass tea was a stand-out. I also opted for a blueberry smoothie, which was served thick and very cold. It was a drink more suited to a spoon than a straw! Blueberries seem to be a popular item here, as the cafe also sold an organic blueberry wine and blueberry jam.
For those who are wondering just where the actual restaurant name may come into play, the lunch menu also featured at least four different curries, at least two of them packed with local vegetables. There were also a few Italian-inspired options, notably pizzas and a handful of pastas.
On a weekend, the entire restaurant scene in Daikanyama is notoriously busy. But come on a weekday and you'll have time to linger. In a space like Bombay Bazar, you'll be very tempted to do so.
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