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