Sugar and spice and everything nice
When I was having a few of my favorite things at Cafe de Take, a song from the Sound of Music came into my mind. If Julie Andrews was here, maybe she will be singing:
“Pumpkin Cheesecakes with toffee like crackles
Doorbells and sleigh bells and blueberry strudels
Blue girls that sing with their heart on their strings
These are a few of my favorite things”
At Cafe de Take, all their pastry and desserts are baked in the cafe kitchen every morning, so if you are here early enough, you may be enveloped by the aroma of freshly baked bread and cheesecake. The pastry chef Takeshi has at least eight to ten different types of desserts on the go at any moment, depending on the ingredients and fruits in season at the time.
Their sweets menu includes Pumpkin Cheesecake with a mousse like creamy layering of super smooth pumpkin puree spiced up with cinnamon and chestnuts, and topped with a toffee like glaze and vanilla ice cream, or you can try the luscious Strawberry fruit tart topped with fresh cream, Chocolate and nuts tart, White chocolate and raspberry cheese cake, marron or chestnut tart, layered with chestnut paste, Banana Lemon Cream pie, Blueberry and raspberry chocolate roll, reminiscent of a black forest roll, with chunky whole berries and cream on the inside, and wrapped with a chocolate sponge on the outside, Crème Brulee, and even chocolate Brulee, full of dark chocolate in a pudding like texture, each one for just 450 yen per slice.
The best thing about Cafe de Take is that they even take special orders for weddings and birthdays and other special celebrations. You can also book the whole Cafe for a private function, seating up to 40 people, or 70 people for a stand up cocktail style party. For private functions they have 3 menus starting from 2,800 yen per person, plus 5% service charge.
Festive and seasonal cuisine is another highlight here, with mulled wine for Christmas as well as special fare for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Their lunchtime fare revolves around simple, home cooked meals and comfort food, such as the popular chicken and mushroom curry plate. These meals start from just under 1000 yen and during weekdays it is a haven away from the stresses of city life. The cheese burger, which is more like a meatball and the beef stroganoff, layered with creamy mushrooms and a medley of vegetables, is part of their lunch (12pm to 3pm) as well as their tea time menu from 3pm to 6pm. If you are famished after a day of shopping or sightseeing, remember that these two dishes are available in a large size as well, anytime in the afternoon. Just say “oomori”, and you can have a large size for about an extra 200 yen. If you would like something spicier, order the penne with salted cuttlefish or Arrabbiata, The word Arrabbiata means angry in Italian, so you are bound to be lifted by the hot peppers in the sauce, infused with garlic, parsley and tomatoes.
The Mediterranean theme continues for dinner, with ham and mushroom pizzas, penne with chorizo for around 1000 yen, while tapas style olives and potato wedges are available for 500 yen.
Cafe de Take is hidden away in Harajuku Bell Pier, a boutique collection of eateries in a side lane way called Onden Street, just three minutes’ walk from Exit 4 of Meiji-Jingumae Subway Station. As you walk into the sunshine or the night skies from the subway, take a 180 degree about turn, and head South East. Once you cross the Meiji Dori traffic light inter-section, walk past the UFJ bank on your right and then turn right on the second block down the side street, and then the white Harajuku Bell Pier building is about 50 meters on your right. From JR Harajuku Station it is a slightly longer five minute walk on the same route.