- Quality: ★★★ – Good
- Type: All Vegan; Hawaiian, Macrobiotic
- Location: Sangenjaya, Tokyo (between Sangenjaya & Ikejiri-Ohashi Stations)
- Hours: Weekdays: Lunch 11:30-15:30 (Last Order 15:00), Dinner 18:00-23:00 (Last Order 22:30); Sun/Sat/Holidays: 11:30-23:00 (Last Order 22:30). CLOSED Wednesdays.
- Price: Inexpensive (Lunch Set ~¥1000)
- Website: Restaurant Website, HappyCow Page
About & Location:
Olu Olu Cafe is a Hawaiian-themed vegan restaurant located in the Sangenjaya area of Tokyo, which is just a bit west of Shibuya. The food itself, at least to me, did not seem particularly Hawaiian, but the decor is definitely focused on that theme.
Olu Olu Cafe is located in the Sangenjaya area of Tokyo, just between Sangenjaya Station and Ikejiri-Ohashi Station. It can be reached from Shibuya on the Den-en-Toshi Line. From Sangenjaya Station, it’s about a 10 minute walk to OluOlu Cafe, which is near Ikejiri Elementary school.
Address, Train Access & Contact:
- English Address: 1-11-1 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku, Sangenjaya, Tokyo, Japan 154-0001
- Japanese Address: 〒154-0001東京都世田谷区池尻1-11-1
- Train Access: Between Sangenjaya Station (三軒茶屋駅) and Ikejiri-Ohashi Station (池尻大橋駅)
- Phone Number: 03-3795-6060
As I mentioned above, although Cafe Olu Olu is a Hawaiian-themed restaurant, it didn’t really seem particularly Hawaiian in flavor. That said, I’ve never been to Hawaii so I’m not entirely sure what that would entail – I was kind of expecting vegan-fied spam or something like that. So, I won’t like, I was bit disappointed when I saw what seemed to be a pretty normal-looking set menu.
However, when I finally got my meal, I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered one of their 3 lunch sets, for ¥1000, and received an excellent assortment of flavorful dishes. The salad was chock-full of mixed greens and other vegetables and dressed in zesty vinaigrette, and overall was much more complex and flavorful than the typical side-salad I’ve received with lunch sets. There was a also a small tomato dish, with some sort of root vegetable I could’t quite identify. It didn’t seem like potato, so perhaps it was a steamed radish? Anyways, it was absolutely delicious. There was also a small side of carrots and lotus root. The “main” was a curried soy meat dish with thick slices of onion, served with a small mountain of brown rice. It was amazing.
One of my favorite parts of the meal was the tomato barley soup that came with it. It was perfectly spiced and very thick – which is how I like my soups. I ended up saving it for last, and it was the perfect way to finish off the meal.
There was a also a wide selection of drinks, including a number of teas, coffees, and even Kona Brewing Company beer (which I never thought I would see in Japan). Surprisingly, the beer was ¥550 a bottle, which is much less than I expected for a smaller imported beer.
The menu doesn’t have desserts listed on it, and I was about to leave slightly unsatisfied, until I noticed a small sign on the wall listing the daily “sweets”. Several were sold out, but there was a chocolate brownie, for ¥600, and Chai Ice Cream, for ¥450. After waffling a bit I ended up choosing the brownie. However, at least in my opinion, it wasn’t that great. It was good, mind you (I mean, it’s a brownie), but it was very dry and crumbled apart as soon as I put my fork in it. Luckily it came with chocolate sauce and a really delicious whipped cream, which really helped to moisten it up. This crumbliness seems to be a consistent problem I’ve encountered at vegan restaurants in Japan, which is just a shame. Should have gone for the Chai Ice Cream!
The restaurant itself is rather small and fairly snug, so if you prefer a more spacious layout, this might not be an ideal restaurant for you. As you may have expected given the name, though, the decor is very island-themed, complete with hanging beads, big-leaf-printed cushions and seashells in the bathroom sink. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a picture of the restaurant itself, since it was fairly full and I felt uncomfortable taking a photo when there were so many people inside (some of them facing me).
The service was excellent. Although I didn’t see it, I read online that they now have a completely-English menu, so you should be able to order without trouble. The Japanese menu doesn’t have any photos, so that can make it harder to order off of than the typically photo-filled menus at other Japanese restaurants. The service was excellent, in spite of the fact that it’s a small restaurant and when I arrived nearly all of the tables were full. I seated myself because I didn’t see anyone up front, but as soon as they noticed I was there the promptly took my order and brought out my meal about 15 minutes later.
A brief word of warning: If you are allergic to dogs or cats, please be aware that this cafe allows pets, and this area appears to be a popular spot for dog owners (there’s a groomer just a few doors down). So if you’d like to eat hear, please be aware that you may have a fluffy companion sitting nearby!