“I just opened this place because I couldn’t find good falafel in Tokyo,” says Eiji from behind the counter at Kuumba du Falafel. “If there was somewhere else that sold it, I’d close this immediately and go and eat there every day instead.” There’s still no sign outside his new eatery, which sits on the intersection of Kyu-Yamate Dori and Yamate Dori. Not the most ideal location, but it is within easy walking distance of Shibuya—and as any falafel addict will attest, the good stuff merits going the extra (half) mile for. Eiji is devoted to his craft, getting up early every day to source vegetables from markets in Tsukiji or Kamakura and bake fresh pita for the day. His falafel sandwich (¥945 for a full one, ¥680 for a half) is a genuine work of love, crammed with leafy greens, tomato, hummus, tahini sauce and other condiments. For want of a more gastronomically precise way of putting it, it’s damn near perfect. Order the Falafel Plate (¥1,260) and you can make up your own sandwich, while Eiji also serves up tapas in the evenings (from ¥525). The drink menu runs from fruit juice (¥315) to Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne (price not listed), with bottles of wine for ¥3,150 and Heartland for just ¥525. All the food at Kuumba du Falafel is vegan, but Eiji doesn’t like to make a point of that. “It’s boring, right?” he says. “I just care about whether or not it tastes good.”
23-1 Shinsensho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6416-8396. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-10pm (until midnight Sat), Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-7pm. Nearest stn: Shinsen (Keio Inokashira line). Map. Directions.