When you were younger, did your parents ever command you to “Eat more greens”? Mine did. Every. Damn. Day. So when I first heard that there was a vegetarian eatery called “Eat More Greens” in Tokyo, my first reaction was one of immediate, involuntary rejection. But after I overcame the decade or so of parental conditioning, my own judgement kicked in, causing that rejection to morph into a strange combination of respectful inquisitiveness. Respectful because I’m sure many other people would react in the same way as I, which would make such a name seem confident (perhaps even carefree?) if nothing else. And inquisitive because there’s something quite maternal about the command to EAT MORE GREENS. I thought that this place would be like a nostalgic time-warp, full of motherly proprietors telling me what’s best for me. Thankfully it wasn’t, although I still find the name beguiling.
Eat More Greens occupies a large, open-plan corner plot that is a short walk away from Azabujuban train station and not a million miles away from Roppongi Hills and Mid Town. The location is quiet and suburban and really rather pleasant. There’s a small park up one street, low-rise apartments down the other, dogs being walked, bicycles being ridden, and a respectful middle-class hush all around. The menu is mostly Western (pizzas, pastas, salads) but wholly vegetarian, and when I went the clientele was a fairly even mix of foreigners and Japanese. Perhaps a reflection of its patrons, it’s also one of those enlightened vegetarian places that serves booze. And not just beer, but a well-stocked bar’s worth of inebriants. Oh yes.
I had one of the few non-Western options on the menu: the sesame ankake rice bowl with deep fried tofu and mushrooms (¥1080). It looked picturesque, but the portion was small. Sliced scallion and coriander sat on top, whilst squash, tofu, enoki and shiitake mushrooms, mildly spicy sesame sauce (although I couldn’t really detect the sesameness) and Chinese cabbage formed the mid-section. The foundations consisted of brown rice with red kidney beans. The rice was the bright star of the bowl for me, being deliciously sticky and swollen and glutinous. Shame there was only about one mouthful of the stuff!
Eat More Greens is a nice, homely place. Good for drinks and beautifully-presented light meals and people watching and quiet contemplation over the weekend. And, of course, for those pangs of nostalgia that come with the command to EAT MORE GREENS.