- Quality: ★★★ – Good
- Location: Palaceside Building, near Takebashi Station, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
- Type: All Vegan
- Price: $$ – Moderate (Lunch Sets about ¥1000)
- Websites: Restaurant Website, Vegi-Navi Page, HappyCow Page
- Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:00-22:00 (Last Order 21:00), Sat: 11:30-20:00
- Language Barrier: No English Menu, but menu has photos
About & Location:
Kushi Garden is a vegan, macrobiotic restaurant located in the building above Takebashi station in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. It is within the Palaceside Building, the same building that houses the headquarters of the Mainichi Shinbun (a popular Japanese newspaper). It’s also very close to the northern are of the Imperial Palace, and just a short walk from the National Museum of Modern Art.
To enter the Palaceside building, head towards Exit 1b of Takebashi Station, and then enter the doors marked “Palaceside Building” and walk take the stairs/escalator up to the ground floor.
I found Kushi Garden to be exceptional and well worth the price. For ¥1350, I received a lunch set including Taco Rice, soup, a drink, and the chocolate gateau. (For those who don’t know, Taco Rice is a popular Okinawan dish that is essentially a taco minus the tortilla/taco shell, and generally consists of a bed of rice with ground taco meat, lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream.) The taco rice was amazing – I have no idea what the faux ground meat they used was, but it was moist and flavorful and really made it seem like authentic taco rice. The “sour cream,” while not bearing a striking resemblance to actual sour cream, was creamy and added to the overall richness of the dish (I think it may have been vegan mayonnaise of some kind).
The miso soup was very salty, which is quite typical of miso soup but not quite to my taste. It was filled with boiled root vegetables though, such as a daikon radish, so I made sure to devour those even though I left the broth mostly untouched.
The cake, alas, did not quite pass my crumbly-cake-test. It was very reasonably price (at ¥350 when ordered with a lunch set, it was a steal compared to some of the other places I’ve eaten), but while very good tasting, it was still much too dry: you could take off a piece with your fork without it crumbling everywhere. That said, once you gathered the crumbly pieces into your mouth, they softened and became deliciously fudgey. I would still order it again because it’s so cheap, but don’t order it expecting a soft velvety cake.
There are also many other desserts available which I have yet to try (but hope to in the future!). So if chocolate cake isn’t your thing, try another option such as yuzu ginger pudding, a seasonal fruit tart, orange carrot cake, or apple pie!
Atmosphere & Service:
I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Kushi Garden. It was very spacious with room for several dozen customers, and has high ceilings, a largely open layout (it opens right into the Palaceside Building), and bright but not overwhelming lighting. It’s not as “cozy” as other vegan restaurants I’ve visited in Tokyo, but because of that it’s also not quite so cramped and will probably be more comfortable of an experience for some visitors. That said, as it’s inside a very busy building and has so many seats, I expect it must get crowded at times. I was lucky because it certainly wasn’t when I visited, at lunch time on a weekday.
Service was also exceptional, since it wasn’t crowded. I was really thirsty and kept downing glass after glass of water, but it was never empty for long. And overall the staff were very friendly and the food was quite prompt.
Kushi Garden also has a small grocery store, which sells to-go lunch boxes, macrobiotic sweets, and various macrobiotic foods for your pantry. You can also order some of these products online here. (This appears to be the same website as the Chaya Macrobitoic Website, but I believe the restaurants may be related.).
Also, Kushi Garden has a monthly “Viking Lunch” (buffet) on the 4th Saturday of every month, according to Vegi-Navi.