Ain Soph.Journey is a quiet, cozy café-slash-restaurant in Shinjuku that serves as an herbivorous haven amid Tokyo’s primarily carnivorous culinary jungle—and renders “vegan” synonymous with “delicious.”
Located right in front of Shinjuku-sanchome Station’s exit C5, Ain Soph.Journey instantly immerses visitors in its laid-back atmosphere, enhanced by the warm, earthy colors of its West Coast-inspired interior.
The menu is extensive, boasting a wide array of Western-style dishes that extend beyond the standard fare at most Tokyo veggie eateries.
On the a la carte, try the Spanish omelet (¥800), which substitutes eggs with a tofu cream base, creating a similarly fluffy texture. The karaage (¥600) puts a veggie spin on Japanese fried chicken nuggets, replacing the poultry with soy meat, making this a low-cal treat.
Glasses of organic French and Austrian wine in need of company have a friend in the cheese platter (¥1,200), made of vegetable cheese—which is inexplicably hard to find in a country where soy milk runs like water.
The vegetable paella (¥1,400), nutty dry curry (¥1,350), veggie tortilla roll (¥1,600) and the mushroom Hayashi rice (¥1,300) all make satisfying main dishes.
The true stars of Ain Soph, however, are found in the dessert section. The pudding a la mode (¥850) is surprisingly creamy and caramel-sweet, considering the dish is completely free of egg, dairy or refined sugar; as is the nutty carob chip brownie (¥700).
The “tenjo no (heaven’s) vegan pancakes” (¥1,400) earns its name. It’s delectable and equal parts fluffy and light, emitting a flavor that’s buttery despite being dairy-free, and sweetened with Agave syrup, accompanied by a scoop of homemade soy ice cream.
Those craving a bit of everything can try the dessert plate (¥1,200), an assortment of everything except pancakes—they’re their own entity.
The prices are a little up there, but the food is top-notch and hearty—and is sure to sate vegans and non-vegans alike.
1F Shinjuku Q Bldg., 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Nearest station: Shinjuku-sanchome. http://ain-soph.jp/english.html
A huge hand to Martin Leroux for his stunning exposé of this very beautiful vegan restaurant in Tokyo! We pay it forward. Please do share this little gem out there, and do forward your favourite vegan restaurant to us that you frequent, we would love to forward them to the world.