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A homey Western-style brunch in the heart of Tokyo

I may have mentioned before that breakfast is my favourite meal. So it is no surprise then that breakfast or brunch has become a weekend ritual for me – whether at home or abroad. And while I have had the most magnificent Japanese food while travelling in Japan, when I woke up this Sunday, I had an intense craving for a western-style breakfast… creamy eggs, hot coffee and buttery toast. Nothing else would do, not even Yakitori! And so we set off to find a place that had come recommended for a homey Western brunch, Good Honest Grub, in the heart of Tokyo’s Shibuya area.

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Located just off Meiji Dori in the cutest little townhouse, sits Good Honest Grub. The owner, Don Foley, is from Newfoundland, Canada and has lived in Tokyo for 20 years running various restaurants. He has operated Good Honest Grub since 1999 serving a loyal group of customers the yummy brunch foods that keep them coming back.

We decided to try the classic Greek omelette with hash browns and toast (¥1600 / $16.80 USD) and the Grubwich, a breakfast sandwich of scrambled eggs, bacon on a toasted English muffin with bean salad and green salad (¥1300 / $13.75 USD).

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Paul’s Greek omelet hit the spot. The classic flavors of spinach and feta cheese folded into light and fluffy eggs was well complemented by the rosemary scented potato hash browns (not the southern-style grated potato hash browns, but bite-sized oven-roasted red potatoes pieces with skin). A multigrain buttery toast completed the combination perfectly.

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My Grubwich breakfast sandwich was also simple but well executed. I mean what better combination is there than scrambled eggs and bacon? And living in Asia now for a few years, it has been a while since I had an English muffin – what a treat to enjoy the combination of crispy edges and soft nooks and crannies filled with butter. It made me a little homesick by reminding me of my favorite breakfast from my local corner diner in NYC, Joe’s Jr diner on 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village.

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Just when we made up our minds to get the check, Don told us about the desserts. We were all set to go, but after hearing descriptions of Apple Crumble with ice cream, Chocolate Zucchini Bread and the “you-gotta-try-it-cause-it-is-just-amazing” Carrot Cake, we changed our minds and stuck around for dessert. We tried the Carrot Cake (¥600 / $6.20 USD) and Don was right, WOW! It was both dense and chewy with crispy, buttery edges…topped off with just the right amount of rich, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake frosting. This may just win my award for best-ever Carrot Cake.

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We sat outside on the deck enjoying the fresh morning air, sipping our bottomless coffees and chatting with Don when he ambled over to give refills. We learned that Don, besides being the owner, also has a hand in every detail from doing a lot of the actual cooking himself to tasting every dish before it goes out to the customers…”if it isn’t right, it doesn’t go out,” Don says. And it is this combination of the homey, welcoming vibe and the good, solid food that keeps his regulars and other wanderers like ourselves coming back week after week.

Homey, hearty and yummy, everything brunch should be. And don’t forget to try the Carrot Cake!

Note: Don gave the best and simplest directions to find….look for the Lawson’s 100 on the corner of Meiji Dori, and then see the signboard on the corner. Just 10 meters up lies Good Honest Grub.

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Good Honest Grub
2-20-8 Higashi, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)3 3797 9877

NOTE: Open 10:30-4:30 on Saturday, Sunday, and Public Holidays so plan accordingly!

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