There’s a battle heating up in the backstreets of Omotesando – a battle for the hearts and minds of the area’s well-heeled and health-conscious lunchers. The opening of London import Franze & Evans earlier in 2016 and Singaporeans SaladStop! in November meant that there’s suddenly around half a dozen joints serving up salads and other low-carb grub within a few hundred square metres. Part of that pack, Mr Farmer is a veritable geezer compared to its fresh-faced neighbours: this Portland-channelling, spacious eatery operated by veteran Tokyo restaurant impresario Akira Watanabe’s Eatwalk group has been in business since late 2014. Will the old-timer manage to keep up?
The answer, unfortunately, is probably not. Although the comfy space, complete with a small terrace and decorated with plentiful green plants, was almost packed on one of our recent lunchtime visits, this farm-to-table pioneer suffers from a serious bout of overconfidence. For one, the much-vaunted salads feel uninspiring at these prices (expect to pay more than ¥1,500 – steep in comparison to the above-mentioned competition). Worse, the value plunges even further when it comes to the sandwiches: served with a few pretty greens and admittedly tasty roast potatoes on the side, our roast beef and kale sandwich was dainty, dull and hard. Price? Over ¥1,800. As for drinks, you’ll find both cold-pressed juice and single origin coffee, but neither are good enough to reverse the food-induced disappointment. Mr Farmer may have rock-hard corporate backing – in fact, they now also operate branches in Roppongi and Shinjuku – but fall short where it matters most.
|Venue name:||Mr Farmer|
4-5-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
|Opening hours:||9am-8pm daily|
|Transport:||Omotesando Station (Ginza, Chiyoda, Hanzomon lines), exit A2|