Good food, but-- unbelievably overpriced, with bird-sized proportions. Then, on top of it, you're hit with a 7,000 yen "cover charge" per person added to the bill-- this, in 6-point type, appearing at the bottom of the menu. (Five pieces of bread for the table costs you 1,500 yen, despite the cover charge.) So, splitting a small salad, splitting a very small risotto (think nouvelle cuisine cut in half, the size of a tiny appetizer), a beer and glass of wine, runs almost 8,000 yen. Really, don't go there.
When I picture an organic restaurant I usually think of being served lots of vegetables by people in tie-dye t-shirts and walking away feeling somewhat morally improved but still hungry. Mother Esta puts has put my prejudices to bed for a while. Located in the leafy riverside quarter of Naka Meguro, which is a hidden gem in the urban desert and well worth a visit, Mother Esta is comfortable and decorated like a French bistro. On a recent visit for Saturday lunch I tried their 2,400 yen menu which includes a starter, soup, main (the only dish you can specify) and dessert. The starter was a delicious mixed plate of octopus and onion, arancini, eggplant, and asparagus frittata. The soup was a rather inoffensive cauliflower soup and this was followed by a pork curry. The curry sauce was served on the side and had a few red peppercorns sprinkled in it. The main dish on which I had to pour the curry consisted of organic rice, vegetables and thinly sliced pork. The curry did not taste particularly different to any other curry but the ingredients were fresh and the dish overall was satisfying. Dessert was a small plate with a little pudding and some chiffon cake and cream. Having just returned from Sydney I was reminded that in Japan people eat healthy portions but the size is still on the rational side. I mean who needs a huge dessert at lunch! Back home there's two sizes - huge and nothing. I would recommend Mother Esta for a nice lunch with friends followed by a pleasant stroll up and down the river - perfect for summer. http://tokyoeater.blogspot.com