Times have changed, and family time surrounding a dining table has become rare, while solo dining has become common for both adults and children. I met an interesting team focusing the benefits of "dining together". As part of their project, they have been serving lunch buffet every Friday and Saturday at the tea room in nanadecor Omotesando, which is an organic cotton brand.
Eating with someone brings peace to the mind. So, “let’s dine together”.
Otona Shokudo is not a restaurant name. It is the name of a two-people team formed by Mie Naka and Hanae Sakai. Instead of eating alone, meals enjoyed with another can bring a smile to your face… To spread the joy of “dining together”, Otona Shokudo provide cuisine prepared with seasonal vegetables, wherever there is demand. One of their projects is the lunch buffet served from 12 P.M. every Friday and Saturday at the tea room of the nanadecor hideaway branch in Omotesando. It is accessed from the courtyard, through the path at the side of the building. Shoes are removed at the entrance, creating a “playdate” like sensation, despite its location in Omotesando. Along with tatami culture, the custom of taking our shoes off has a relaxing effect on the mind.
Remove your shoes and enter from the courtyard.
Displayed inside are nanadecor’s products, made of comfortable material, such as their organic cotton nightwear. These are available for purchase before or after eating.
Their meals are served buffet style for 1,800 yen. They chose this style so that customers can adjust their diet depending on their current health condition. Don’t worry, they always make sure nothing runs out. I watched as customers arrived, filled their plates and began dining at the tables, as soon as it turned 12 P.M. The menu lineup always consists of soup, brown rice, and around ten kinds of various seasonal side dishes.
Otona Shokudo’s vegetable dishes are prepared with natural ingredients, also making use of unsold vegetables, or “Week vege”, from the Aoyama Farmers’ Market.
Their cooking is macrobiotic. Vegetables are either purchased from Okayama or delivered by Bio Marche, an organic vegetable delivery service. The type of vegetable used depends on factors such as farm condition, season, and timing of harvest, and their menu is planned daily, based on season, weather, condition, moon rhythm, and theory of Yin-Yang and the five elements. In other words, their style is “farm dependent and flexible”. Their cooking is primitive, capturing the natural goodness of seasonal ingredients, and bringing relief to our bodies.
As a measure to reduce waste, they also make use of Week Vege, which are unsold vegetables provided by the Aoyama Farmer’s Market.
The menu is prepared in the morning, so it is always a pleasant surprise to find out what is lined up on the table.
New connections are often born between customers surrounding the large tea room table. Unlike an ordinary restaurant, there is a sense of closeness that is usually present when dining with family. This is described perfectly by their concept “dining together”.
Otona Shokudo’s catering service brings smooth communication to the office.
Besides serving lunch buffet on Fridays and Saturdays, Otona Shokudo also caters lunch for companies, and even parties. Luckily, I was able to speak with a customer who works at an IT company that uses Otona Shoudo’s catering service. He claims that eating lunch with co-workers has had a positive effect on the communication between them. Not only did they begin helping each other prepare for lunch, but cooperation in work also improved. In addition, consciousness towards food began to grow, and many started asking questions regarding cooking methods and health. It is clear that the activity of Otona Shokudo relaxes the mind, naturally stimulates human relations, and of course, improves health. It is a great example of how our relationships with food can have an effect on our approach towards work. Otona Shokudo continue to make gradual yet sturdy changes, with a handful of possibilities yet to be discovered.
Text: Mayuki Kotsubo
Picture: Mayumi Kotsubo
Translation: Yukie Haneda