Tokyo’s foodie scene is flourishing- get to know the latest restaurant on the block, says WGSN Tokyo Correspondent Darren Gore.
Fashion firms’ growing hunger to get involved in culinary enterprises has been well-documented by WGSN.
The trend is particularly visible in Japan, where the likes of Beams and Tomorrowland are bringing established overseas dining brands to the country, as well as establishing high-concept original eateries. And recent Tokyo arrival Farmshop is perhaps the most impressive example yet.
Owner of domestic labels and brands Baycrew’s (responsible for Journal Standard among other names) has partnered with the acclaimed California farm-to-table restaurant to open its debut Japanese branch, in Tokyo’s increasingly vibrant Futako Tamagawa district.
Marronnier Court 1F, Tamagawa Takashimaya S.C., 2-27-5 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
81 (0)3 5491 7737
Here are three reasons it has won us (alongside hordes of locals) over:
1. Interior design has been entrusted to L.A. practice Commune, which as well as Farmshop’s hometown branches has created stunning locations for Opening Ceremony, Ace Hotel and Oliver Peoples. Rather than replicate the stateside restaurants however, Commune has conceived a space, making strong use of blown-up monochrome photographs, that conjures up both Californian and Japanese ideals of nature, while maintaining the “high casual” balance of refinement and relaxedness that is Farmshop’s signature.
Similarly, a menu rich in organic and artisan-produced ingredients (pastries, pastrami sandwiches and salads in the day; rib-eye steak and roast chicken at dinner) emphasizes the notion (traditionally very familiar to the Japanese) of a harmonious coexistence with nature.
2. Farmshop is one of the finishing touches to the swift transformation of Futako Tamagawa (11 mins by train from Shibuya) from sleepy suburb into retail hotspot. Under the banner of Futako Tamagawa Rise, and with work finally completed in November 2015, architect Conran & Partners has given 20 hectares of the riverside area a makeover that while sleekly modern plays up the fact that the location is where city living borders nature. Commune’s design of Farmshop makes similar use of this aspect, as does a nearby flagship from outdoors brand The North Face. Any domestic brand worthy of ‘household name’ status now has a presence in Futako Tamagawa.
3. The collab products expected of a major food-fashion crossover are present and correct: a special Farmshop edition of the popular market bag from socially-conscious label Apolis is on sale in the in-house grocery store, along with a playfully functional line of bags from Japan’s Vegie BAG. These simple, hardy totes and backpacks all feature dedicated pockets for vegetables of various shapes and sizes.
Japan’s fashion-food love-in continues meanwhile, with the news that fashion-forward department store Isetan is to form a new venture aimed at bringing Western dining brands to the Japanese market, and Baycrew’s about to open a Tokyo transplant of Shoreditch London café Franze & Evans.
Like this? Love Travel? Follow WGSN Contributor and Tokyo Corespondent Darren Gore on Instagram here.
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