If you thought oh-so-hip Nakameguro couldn't get any trendier, think again: smack bang in the center of the neighborhood and waiting to capitalize on its steady flow of shopaholics, moneyed creatives and free-spending hipsters, Nakameguro Koukashita opened on November 22.
As the name gives away, this free-flowing complex occupies the previously under-utilised space under the elevated railway tracks from the Meguro River, across Yamate-dori and beyond Nakameguro Station towards Yutenji – a good 700m of restaurants, cafés, izakayas and shops. To save you the trouble of trudging through them all, we've first rounded up our top three.
'Love' and 'art' are the twin themes at this flashy restaurant, hotly tipped months before its opening – mainly due to the name recognition of designer duo Kohei Nawa and Tatzu Nishi, who were put in charge of the interior. Step inside and you'll be transported into a whole new world that feels a bit gimmicky but still fun, and even has its own currency, Roman.
Artworks from the aforementioned artists are suspended or otherwise boldly exhibited around the space, with the 'Love' theme mainly reflected in the clientele – it might be a good place to take someone you fancy but don't quite know how to ask out; the decor means you can ask them to come and see some art rather than possibly freaking them out with a fancy dinner.
To make things a bit steamier, you'll be sitting on cramped two-seater benches that make close proximity a must. There's even a hidden confession booth for two complete with, bizarrely enough, a virtual panda who spits out words of wisdom every ten minutes or so.
The Roman currency lets you buy more add-ons to woo your beau – ask the staff for explanations of the various options on offer. Besides all of these distractions, there's also the food – during lunchtime, the takeout-only offerings range from Indian curry to sandwiches, while the dinner menu centres on oven-baked meat, artistic salads and creative desserts.
Popular in its native Nagoya, this oden specialist laid its first roots in the Kanto area with this outpost. They've placed a rather eye-catching (and oversized) oden pot outside – a stunt that surely lures in quite a few customers. Standing out with the way they cook their oden, Samon offer a mixture simmered in a chicken and vegetable stock noted for its full-bodied and rich taste. If you're looking for something to warm you up during the winter months, this concoction is sure to fit the bill.
There are over 30 varieties on offer, but we'd definitely recommend having the daikon, which soaks up the stock beautifully, and the succulent chicken skewers – you'll thank us later. The Nagoya Cochin soft-boiled eggs are also rather impressive and well worth driving your chopsticks into.
3. Loncafe Stand
Hailing from Enoshima, this café specialises in French toast. Inspired by the French pain perdu, their take is more of a reinvention than a classic, with its crisp exterior, sweet, almost gooey interior and, most importantly, a whole host of unorthodox toppings. We tried the Lime Cream Tiramisu version, only available here, which keeps its fresh taste thanks to the pleasant acidity of the lime.
If the multifarious items on offer aren't enough and you really feel the need to raise your French toast experience to a luxury level, choose the Black Truffle White Sauce option – and to go even further, you might want to opt for a glass of champagne as part of a drink set menu.
And there's more: after eating your way through these three, consider browsing artsy tomes at Nakameguro Tsutaya Books, checking out some wine at Vinos Yamazaki Nakameguro, or indulging in reasonably priced oysters at sake bar Nodoguroya Kakiemon.
In total, more than 20 different businesses are already up and running under the Nakame tracks. Head over this weekend and experience the neighbourhood's new focal point for yourself.
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