Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Omotesando Koffee

Top: Bossini, Skirt: UniQlo, Belt: Next, Bag: Cath Kidston, Dorky trainers: Birkenstock 
So here I am, or rather, here I was, at a little cafe I read about in the eighth issue of Kinfolk magazine. Omotesando Koffee, which is an independent coffee house in a sea of Starbucks, is a short-ish walk from Harajuku. I was wearing one of my favourite combinations, albeit in a sneaky, discreet way - polkadots and cat print, or "cat & dot" as I like to call it. My shirt was one I picked up in Hong Kong at Bossini. I'd been wanting a short-sleeved polkadot shirt for ages, so I was really happy to snap this one up. 

In Harajuku, I bought this fantastic leopard print fedora for about 300 yen, which is what, a pound something? Two dollars and a bit? I found it in a store called Thankyou Mart, where I also bought a truly awesome pair of 70's tastic sunglasses. By this point of our trip, my feet were starting to get sore, so I just bit the bullet and wore trainers everywhere. And tried to convince myself that I was just going normcore

So, let me try to give you the experience of going to Omotesando Koffee. The cafe is in a tiny, traditional Japanese house in a residential neighbourhood. If you don't know it's there, chances are you'd walk right past it. Here's the view from the entrance to the garden. 

The owner makes your coffee while wearing a lab-coat, behind a counter made up of squares. He seems to have a thing for them; there is a square in the coffee-shop's logo and they even sell tiny square cakes. I was hoping to try some, but they were all sold out that day. That's Victor paying for our coffee, by the way. 

This lamp hangs right inside the front door, over a large potted plant. It's a spiked cage that hovers over a light-bulb, and then lots of little notes that have been tacked onto the spikes. I thought the result, with all its different languages and little drawings, was eerily beautiful. 

This is their entrance - you step through the front gate, duck your head to avoid the bell, find yourself in the most beautiful little garden. It was full of many different types of plants, mostly green, and you could sit on one of the two benches and look up through the trees. There was one rebellious red blossom too, look: 

The fact that there was only one made it even more beautiful! It really popped out against all the other plants, and the beige wall coverings. (I think they were tatami mats, but I could be wrong.) Right by the foot of the bench, nestled between the roots of the tree, a spiral stick of incense was releasing a subtle, but lovely scent into the crisp air. 

And the coffee, oh my GOD the coffee. I had a mocha, and it was quite literally the best mocha I have had in my entire life. We just sat there on our bench under a tree and sipped our coffees, while the smell from the incense mingled with the smell of coffee beans. And it was so, so lovely. 

I also forced Victor into taking some couple selfies, and here is the best one. Times like this, I look at us and think, "Different head-size! WHOA!" It was a proper Sherlock Holmesian treasure-hunt to find this place, with a map Victor had downloaded onto his phone, and a lot of snarling from a certain man. Ahem. But even he agreed the coffee was so good, it was worth it all!


  1. Am I crazy? I don't see the cat print. Oh boy - normcore cracks me up. All the young hipsters in my life are now doing this trend but will not admit it. They seriously act like I am crazy when I bring it up. Apparently you are not normcore if anyone other than another normcore knows what you are doing. I think they are horrified that a forty-something knows what normcore means and that I am on to them. hee hee hee
    That selfie is soooo sweet! Love your hat btw!

    1. I know!! I'll see pictures of it or someone doing it on the street and inside I'll be all "But it's so UGLY!!" and you know, snickering in a judgemental kinda way. ;) Good for you for freaking the normcore kids out, haha. I wonder if those %^&* ugly 90's mom jeans girls are wearing now (whyyyy?!) are normcore or hipster...;)
      Oh, and the cat print is on my belt, hehe. And the hat, of course, which I adore - thanks very much! Glad you think the selfie is sweet, I think Victor looks a bit fed up, haha.

    2. Ah HA! The hat and the belt! so that is the cat print fedora. I am in love.

    3. Thanks babe! Yeah, that's the elusive fedora. Prepare to get sick of seeing it around here! ;)

  2. The cat print is the hat right? At first I thought the dots were the cat, but then I realized they were dots. I love the outfit. That selfie with you and Victor is the best! You should frame it. I love it love it love it. And mochas are my favorite. Now I want to try that coffee. We had cuban coffee yesterday and we still have not recovered. It is so strong!

    What the heck is "normcore"?


    1. The hat and the belt, hehe. Anyway, thank you so much! I seem to recall Victor being really fed up with my taking photos of EVERYTHING THAT MOVED by the time we took that selfie. And maybe that shows on his face a little bit? I will go ahead and print it though, once I unpack our photo paper... wherever that might be... Oh and if you EVER wind up taking your family to Tokyo I will try to write a detailed guide for you on how to get there. I can't describe that mocha properly - it was just THERE, in your mouth, being perfect - a perfect blend of coffee and sweetness. He'd even put real cream in it, I discovered when I got to the bottom! Cuban coffee sounds a bit strong for a caffeine sissy like me - I usually even have to get single shots at Starbucks! I warn the barristas they'll be peeling me off the ceiling otherwise. ;)

      Oh and normcore is basically a streetstyle trend, where people incorporate trainers etc. into their outfits. And exercise clothes too, I think? It's not something I could carry off, I don't think! ;)

  3. What a cool place! Kinfolk is so dreamy and minimalist and lovely, much like that cafe. I would do something similar. See a place in an Anthro travel book or catalog and seek it out on my travels.

    That fedora is pretty fabulous. It totally throws off your normcore sneakers, which, I suppose, is probably good news for you? The shoes blend in. They're practical. But the dots and hat bring the party!

    Normcore is so not my scene. It's just not fun enough for my tastes. Neither are sneakers, even on vacation. It killed me to have to buy a pair for our hikes in Scotland. I got the most discrete, plain old black pair I could find. I made the mistake of only taking fun shoes to New York once. The mistake was made worse by my decision to break in new shoes on my first day of running around the city. The next day I had to cave and wear the hideous orthopedic comfort sandals my mom made me pack. Between those ugly shoes, the band-aids, and athletic tape tending to my wounded feet, I was quite a sight.

    <3 Liz

    1. Mm, see I wonder if I maybe made it into too much of a deal to find that cafe. We tried twice, the second time we downloaded a map onto Victor's phone and then we found it. So he was heartily sick of the whole enterprise by the time we found it. And I wonder if I kind of ruined the experience and the tranquility of that tiny little garden by taking so many pictures, and not just "being in the moment"... But still, I'm glad we found it! Playing detective is great fun, old girl! ;)

      Yeah, very good news about the fedora distracting from the sneakers. I remember proudly blogging them when I first got them, but I think it's because they're all worn in and a little bit filthy now that I'm suddenly ashamed of them? Haha, Victor put his sneakers in the washing machine and claims they shrunk, and these fit me perfectly, so I am terrified that would happen to me, too!

      Dayum gurl, you went hardcore on that trip to New York! That was like, the textbook mistakes on how to break in new shoes, haha! You poor thing, my soul was curling itself into a ball in sympathy while I read that! But yeah, normcore people would probably think that none of us are cool enough to be in their gang - which is okay, since none of us wants to be, eh? ;)