1. Lauderdale (Roppongi)
If you’re searching for something a little different, head on down to Roppongi’s Lauderdale. Alongside the regular brunch staples like buttermilk pancakes and a generously sized omelette (both ¥1,600), diners can dig into the best breakfast soufflé in town (¥1,700), with fillings ranging from cheese and mushroom to the slightly more exotic banana and pepper. And boy have they got it down to an art! Golden and fluffy on top with a delicious spongy centre and lashings of cream on the side, it’s the perfect alternative for those looking for something a little more adventurous than the your standard brunch fare.
2. Mercer Brunch (Roppongi)
Who said you had to wait until the weekend to have brunch? At this Roppongi restaurant – the latest addition to the Mercer Café empire – you can have your champagne and French toast every day of the week if you like. Mercer Brunch is split across two rooms, the larger of which mimics the layout of sister shop Mercer Café Danro, with a mixture of sofas and table seating and an open fireplace at the centre of the room. Parents will appreciate the smaller second room, which faces out onto an open terrace, and where their kids can make all the noise they like without disturbing other diners. The daily brunch sets – served from 10am on weekdays and from 9am at the weekend – include dishes like sirloin steak and egg or salmon tartar, avocado and poached egg, each accompanied by a couple of slices of plump, melt-in-the-mouth brioche French toast.
3. Beard (Meguro)
Tucked away in the backstreets of Meguro lies the small but oh-so perfectly formed Beard. Step inside and you’ll find yourself transported into a French-inspired culinary paradise complete with wooden beams, exposed brickwork and an easygoing elegance that’s still not so easy to come by on the streets of Tokyo.
Sit yourself down at the counter and watch chef-owner Shin Harakawa at work as he prepares you a dish that you’ll still be drooling over for weeks to come. Whilst the menu changes from week to week, a regular feature and undisputed highlight are his sourdough pancakes (¥1,600), which have been the talk of the town since Beard’s opening last year.
4. West Park Cafe (Yoyogi-Uehara, Haneda, Marunouchi)
Branches of West Park Café (www.maysfood.com/wpc/wpc1.html) in Yoyogi-Uehara and Marunouchi both serve brunch (and the Haneda branch does a nice breakfast, staring at 7 a.m.) — with eggs Benedict, omelets and French toast — but the original Yoyogi-Uehara outpost (23-11 Motoyoyogi-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5478-6065; brunch Sat., Sun. and holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) wins for ambiance. It has a lovely front terrace, where little traffic passes, perfect for sipping mimosas and watching the world go by.
5. The Bowery Kitchen (Komazawa-koen)
Found an awesome neighborhood diner in town. “Bowery Kitchen” is located near the Olympic park, Komazawa-koen. Since it’s not close to any train station, this diner is filled with locals hanging out with their dogs, families with babies, and friends hanging out for Sunday brunch. If you want to experience a local Japanese diner atmosphere, this place does it well. It feels old but also has a good character to it. The noise, smell and busyness of it really make you feel like you’re in a NY hipster diner despite being in Tokyo.