How many times on this blog have I waxed poetic about my favorite city (neighborhood? District? Tokyo is confusing) in Japan? Too many times. Unfortunately for those of you who hate Kichijoji, I have at lease two more posts including this one about cafes in this posh little neighborhood. This time, I will be talking about A B Cafe.
About the Cafe
A B Cafe is pretty close to Kichijoji Station’s North Exit. It is a little tricky to find, since it is off one of the many side streets of Sun Road (the main shopping road with the blue awning.) Once you do find it, you will walk down a long flight of stairs into the cafe itself. Not going to lie, its a bit more sketchy than your average cafe entrance, but not as sketchy as you’d expect from something that is basically in a walkout basement.
If my description of the entrance doesn’t astound you, that’s okay -the decor inside is cute and quirky, and the cafe is surprisingly well lit. The music is a interesting indie/pop/electronic mix that works well with decor, not that you will be paying attention to it considering the constant chatter you’ll be hearing – the place is pretty popular during the afternoons, and allegedly even more so at night. Since Tokyo can be pretty quiet, this was a welcome departure.
AB Cafe is open from 11 – 1 am (12 – midnight on Sundays), acting as a cafe in the daylight hours and switching to a more nightlife scene in the evenings. Peak hours are around 3 pm and 9 pm respectively.
The cafe’s pricing is pretty standard for Tokyo. The non-alcoholic beverages all hover at around 600 yen, while specialty drinks will run you around 900 yen. The cafe sells your normal herbal teas, black teas, coffees, and espresso beverages, but also dabbles in cocktails, shakes, and beer. That seems to be a Tokyo thing, because I have never seen a similar cafe in America.
As far as food goes, the cafe’s specialty is omuraisu – a giant “omelette”, meaning that the eggs are draped over rice, and drizzled with ketchup. Sometimes there are other toppings and fillings. This cafe was apparently known for this dish. Other than that, they have donburis, salads, and other tasty Japanese lunch and dinner foods.
The dessert selection is both expansive and limited. Limited in that there are basically only cakes, tarts, french toast, and parfaits. Expansive in that the parfaits are make your own, so there are literally over a hundred combinations you could create with a base of strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, or matcha ice cream. They look phenomenal.
As you might be expecting, considering the fact that we are coming up on my last week in Japan, my friends and I were there for finals studying. Which meant that we were on a strict ordering timeline – we wanted to be there until around 5, which meant since we arrived at 1 we needed to order three things: a drink, a meal, and then a dessert to round off our time.
To start out, two of us got plain iced coffee/black tea, while my other friend got Milk Tea. The milk tea’s set up is pretty sweet, but my friend said it was meh. My coffee, on the other hand, was very good.
After we sipped our drinks completely dry, and they dropped off our receipt, we decided to order lunch to extend our time. As always in Tokyo, if you want to save money come for the lunch menu which runs from 11:00 – 3:00. It comes with an entree, a salad, and a drink for only 900 yen (plus little extra for their specialty omuraisu, a dessert, or if you for some reason want beer at noon on a Sunday.) Being SUPER broke college students at the end of our study abroad budgets, we decided to go for the lunch special.
I got the specialty plate of the week, Chicken Nanba. Friend one had a salmon and avocado donburi, while friend two had a maguro-steak donburi. I really enjoyed my chicken nanba, and friend one liked her donburi. However friend two said the maguro donburi was REALLY fishy tasting. She basically couldn’t finish it. So maybe steer clear of that if you decide to visit.
The final time extension (you can tell we work the cafe game a lot, haha,) was our dessert order. It would have been cheaper to order my dessert with the lunch special, but we waited a little too long to order it. As it was, I had a black tea chiffon cake that was pretty dang delicious. Friend one and Friend two split a chocolate banana french toast that was also really good. It could’ve done with less chocolate and more banana in my honest opinion, but hey – beggars can’t be choosers.
I really like this cafe. I like studying in busy spaces, and this place was bopping from 1:30 – 3:30 with a lot of background noise and conversation that really helped me focus. We weren’t the only ones there studying either, which made me feel less awkward. I forgot to mention earlier that there is FREE WIFI with no password and no limit that works beautifully, so that is definitely a plus. Also if you have a smaller group/need less table space, there is a bunch of really cute furniture you can sit in. I mean it’s just chairs, I know, but they looked so cool!
One downside is that the space is on the smaller side so my friend who was claustrophobic felt a little anxious, especially when the A/C cut off and it started to warm up from the kitchen and the people. So people who prefer open spaces to study or chat in might want to pass this one up.
Otherwise, looks like this is the second-to-last cafe in Japan I will be profiling (lol, profile, it sounds so legit) so hopefully someone enjoys it!