Eat Play Works in the Hiroo district of Tokyo
food

Eat Play Works: A focal point of gastronomy, mindfulness, art and professionals

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By Mai Shoji

Working remotely from home for a long time makes it more apparent that meeting people in person is precious and an essential part of life.

Eat Play Works lets you work in an environment similar to your home but with the benefits of interacting with others in diverse work fields. While the third to sixth floors of the building are occupied by members-only facilities, the first and second floors are open to the public, housing 17 eateries from which to pick the cuisine of your day.

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Eat Play Works lets you work, socialize and enjoy fine cuisine. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Located in Tokyo’s international Hiroo district, Eat Play Works extends the trend of yokocho, gathering luxurious dining gems in the form of a street market food hall.

Most elite restaurant branches here provide specialty course menus. Sushi Dan is a branch of acclaimed Ginza Hakkoku, Bistro Nemot is from French paramount L’Effervescence, and a Michelin-star Mexican restaurant from Brooklyn, OXOMOCO, debuts in Japan.

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Vietnamese eatery An Com Photo: MAI SHOJI

An Com comes from modern Vietnamese An Di which rarely has had a table with a vacant seat, and Gracia is given birth from the former chef at three-star Michelin Spanish cuisine Sant Pau. You may think that the prices are way out of your range but because of their cozy settings, they are surprisingly affordable.

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Shogun Burger provides 100% wagyu beef. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Other restaurants have also been meticulously selected, each to spark conversations at site and off. For example, Shogun Burger provides 100% wagyu beef branched from the popular GANESHA chain. Butasoba Tsukiya Tokyo, with an endless queue, reaches all the way from the main store in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, and Okinawa Stock Store exudes a tropical air and Ryukyu cuisine from the southernmost islands of Japan.

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OXOMOCO, a Michelin-star Mexican restaurant from Brooklyn, debuts in Japan. Photo: MAI SHOJI

I first sampled OXOMOCO’s Paloma (tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda) accented with lime leaf powder that sharpens the citrus scent — bingo for summer.

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Paloma at OXOMOCO is accented with lime leaf powder. Photo: MAI SHOJI

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Fluke Crudo with a touch of French inspired sauce Photo: MAI SHOJI

This was followed by a marriage of Fluke Crudo with basil salsa, toasted amaranth and lime leaf as an appetizer, then Pork Cheek Carnitas, tomatillo salsa, chicharron with a French inspired sauce due to the chef’s past experiences at Jean-Georges.

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Pork Cheek Carnitas, tomatillo salsa, chicharron is one of OXOMOCO's specialties. Photo: MAI SHOJI

The taco was a classy mouthful of the best Mexican I have ever had in Tokyo. You can savor the a la carte menu as a well as a seven-course dinner at ¥5,000. Hard drinkers can find a line of very rare bottles of tequila.

Barcelona’s gastrobar Gracia is located on the second floor, hard to miss as chef Jerome Quilbeuf, who worked at Sant Pau in Spain and in Tokyo, stands tall in the small counter kitchen curating beautiful plates. I was welcomed with a glass of Sakegria.

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A mixology of cava, sake, with fresh strawberry, peach and melon - much like Sangria called Sakegria at Gracia. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Ajo Blanco is on this summer's seasonal menu. The smoked bonito and yuzukosho (citrus and pepper sauce) and a hint of sake create a pleasing encounter with the garlic taste and leaves you with a clear refreshing summer palette.

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Gracia’s Ajo Blanco with almond and garlic sauce is one of their seasonal recommendations. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Try the magic of Quilbeuf who is originally from Normandie but lived in Barcelona for 20 years and is now putting together a fusion of all of his past experiences with local produce from Japan. His Iberico Pork Pluma is like none other, using a very exclusive cut from the back of the shoulder blade. The rare cooked meat is more tender than fillet beef steak with Tasmanian mustard completing the melody.

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Iberico Pork Pluma is a must-try. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Climaxing with clear tonkotsu ramen at Butasoba Tsukiya Tokyo elevated me to full satisfaction. Their shop sign is an art piece originally drawn for the Hiroo branch and you can’t also help but notice the contemporary ceramic Beatles printed water cups.

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One of The Beatles printed contemporary ceramic water cups at Butasoba Tsukiya Tokyo. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Their juicy shumai (stuffed meat dumpling) is served with dashi ponzu (soy sauce vinegar with broth) and forms the best partnership with a glass of Daiyame (lycee-flavored shochu). Unlike normal tonkotsu, the soup here is clear, depreciating the feeling of guilt if you are on a diet. There is even a list of HOW-TO-EAT the ramen at every table: You savor the ramen, first without leeks, then squeeze sudachi citrus into it half way through, and so on. After eating at two other restaurants and my stomach getting full, this ultimate bowl of noodles was not even close to a burden.

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The clear tonkotsu ramen noodles at Butasoba Tsukiya Tokyo Photo: MAI SHOJI

Whether you stay in one restaurant for a slow food course, or take advantage of the yokocho concept and hop around a few eateries, or even just stop by for a bowl of ramen or soba noodles, Eat Play Works is worth a visit.

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The first floor terrace table seating area is a yet-discovered oasis in the Hiroo shopping arcade. Photo: MAI SHOJI

The first floor has terrace seating under the sky where you can also taste specialty coffees from Blue Bottle Coffee. Share office members at Eat Play Works can not only freely use the lounges but also the fourth floor balcony with a small swimming pool.

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The fourth floor balcony for members to chat around or focus on work under the sky. Photo: MAI SHOJI

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Occasional yoga lessons are provided in the members lounge on the fourth floor. Photo: MAI SHOJI

Drinks are available 24/7, including alcohol beverages, while quiet rooms for meditation and occasional group yoga classes are available to join in. Members have the privilege to have their choice of food catered for the day on the office floors. It’s an all-inclusive lifestyle proposal for urban trendsetters.

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Fifth floor offices have a sports theme display at the entrance. Photo: MAI SHOJI

For more information

Eat Play Works: https://eatplayworks.com

The Restaurant: https://eatplayworks.com/the-restaurant/

Address: 5-4-16 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012

Oxomoco: http://salt-group.jp/shop/oxomoco/

Gracia: http://gracia-tokyo.jp/index_en.html

Butasoba Tsukiya: http://tsuki-ya.net (Hakata)

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