It was a peculiar term that etched in my head since it sparked a wave of new, healthy eating in Tokyo several years ago. Not vegan, not vegetarian, macrobiotic diet emphasises on whole grains and vegetables so as to not let the body be burdened by unwanted toxins and slows down its processes. It's a concept founded by a Japanese called George Ohsawa (1893-1966), not just on the INGREDIENTS but also on the MANNER of EATING. Simply put, we should take our time to chew our food thoroughly and avoid overeating, which is not a simply feat to achieve for many of us living on such a hurried pace.
Right now, while there are vegetarian or vegan cafes in town, Chaya Macrobiotics is the only place that is dedicated to macrobiotic meals. The selection is extensive but expensive, yet the quality of the food is truly of restaurant standard. Macrobiotics is about balance and not dogma. While it does not encourage meat, animal protein is still permitted and thus seafood, meat, alcohol and coffee are found on the menu.
To get the most out of constraint budgets, we had the chaya lunch set (2625 yen) which comes with your choice of appetizer, main dish, bread or rice and cake.
The appetizer was Sweet Potato and Mushroom Cream Croquette with Vegetable Cutlet sauce. Despite the fact that soy milk replaces cow dairy products, the fresh and piping hot croquette still qualifies as a delicious comfort food with the pseudo "tonkatsu" sauce.
Our main dish--Vegetarian Carbonara--was served as though it just walked out of a beautiful vegetable garden. Tossed with crispy ebi and funghi, it tasted ain't like any Italian pasta that I've had before. The cheese-less and egg-less sauce turned out unbelievably rich with a least expected curry aftertaste.
It would be an outright lie if I were to say that everything suited my tastebuds. Simply because the bread (probably organic) were at odds with the peanut sauce. To prevent bread wastage, we ordered the "Soup of the Day"--a corn soup which was unfortunately too watered down.
Desserts were much better but not the best of its kind you can find it Tokyo. Made with organic pumpkin from Hokkaido, the Pumpkin Pie (567 yen) contains soya whipped cream, a layer of cocoa sponge and crowned with the lusciously sweet pumpkin paste. Another seasonal tart was the Apple Herb Tart (546 yen). Compared to most apple tarts/pies, this one is refreshingly light with a jelly component and herb-accented cake layer. Not overly sweet and melds well with the soya custard, though the pastry shell of both pies were lacklustre.
There is a grocery section at the entrance where you can stock up on all kinds of organic goodies such as their homemade granola made without refined white sugar, raw pasta, confitures etc. Cakes can be taken away and there is a whole range of vegan cakes with not only the price, but also the calories explicitly stated. Pastry classes are also conducted on a regular basis for those who wish to reproduce sweets that are free from egg, dairy and white sugar.
Instead of ramen, tonkatsu or tempura, why not try a macrobiotic meal for a change?
Isetan Shinjuku Level 7
Tea Time 3pm-5pm
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