Restaurant Review: Kaffir Lime in Omotesando

by Tokyo Terrace on February 21, 2010

Last March, Brad and I spent a week working and playing with beautiful, resilient children at an orphanage in Thailand. This experience of traveling in such a vibrant culture is something I will not soon forget. As with any country, Thailand has its high points and low points. One of the high points (as you can probably guess) is most certainly the food. While I have made several of our favorite Thai dishes at home, somehow the atmosphere of our home makes it seem a little less than authentic.

During our recent visit to a nearby Omotesando restaurant, Kaffir Lime, we were immediately taken back to Thailand through enticing aromas, the sound of food being tossed in a sizzling wok, and the beautifully composed flavors of authentic Thai cuisine.

We began our meal with drinks. I had mango juice garnished simply with mint leaves…

Brad had a Thai Iced Tea, one of our favorite things to order while we were in Thailand to cool off from the sweltering heat. The tea was not exactly what we remembered, but I think that was largely because the ingredients needed are too expensive or difficult to come by locally. At Kaffir Lime, the tea was served in a glass with ice and a side of cream (which I think is traditionally sweetened condensed milk) and sugary syrup. There is a recipe in case you are interested in making this yourself at Sustainabilitea. Thai Iced Tea gets this great orange color when the cream is added. Here is what the process looked like at Kaffir Lime:

A short while after receiving our drinks, we had a delicious plate of Cashew Nut Chicken in front of us. Perfectly cooked and coated with a sticky sauce, each and every bite of this dish was full of textures and flavors that can only come from a master of wok-cooking. I should mention, before I move on, that all of the wok prepared food is a one-man show. One burner, one wok, and one man performing a brilliant show of stir-frying skills and feeding a dining room that would probably fit about 30 at full-capacity. There are other helpers in the kitchen, fortunately, but only one wok-man and he does a fabulous job.

While we were still nibbling (devouring, actually) our cashew chicken, an artfully prepared Spicy Bamboo Shoot Salad was placed on the table. Fresh, spicy and a welcomed change of pace from the richness of the chicken dish, the salad made us feel like if we looked out the window we would see Bangkok rather than Tokyo.

The last dish we ordered is a classic and well-known Thai meal: Pad Thai. Kaffir Lime’s version used thinner noodles than what I’ve seen in the past, but they were perfectly prepared. Every element of the dish was nicely balanced and lent a distinctly authentic flavor. I think the picture speaks for itself as to how mouth-watering this dish was. I can speak for Brad too when I say that we wished it were a never ending plate!

From the joyful, kind smiles of the Thai cooks in the kitchen, to the air, slightly smoky and fragrant from the food coming out of the wok, the sound of Thai being spoken in the midst of the bustling kitchen, and the flavors of each well-prepared meal, we felt transported back to Thailand. At the reasonable cost of 3,900 yen (about $40 US) for two, we will certainly be returning to this restaurant many times after our experience today.

If you are a fellow Tokyoite, I would highly recommend trying this restaurant. With an English/Japanese menu, friendly service and stellar food, this is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Here is the information if you would like to find this culinary gem:

6-1-5 2F Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
03-3400-2918
11:30am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-11:00pm
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  • http://www.sense-serendipity.com Divina

    My brother went to Thailand with his wife for their honeymoon and they had a great experience with the food. Going to Thailand doesn’t require us to have a visa which is good for me. I had a Thai iced tea in one of the restaurants here and I love it, so I always wonder how they’re made. So, thanks for the link. (hmm, where to get ground tamarind?) Well, the photos are still stunning. My photos are bad when I take them at the restaurant. More practice. The food is just mouthwatering. But still dreaming of the Thai iced tea. :)

  • http://earlkai.blogspot.com/ cocopuff1212

    Thai food. One of the most sensual, elegant foods in the world.

    I’m just curious — what does a Thai dinner for two like this go for in Tokyo? We went to a Thai restaurant here in Lyon, and that outing cost us about 80 euro, which would be just about 10,000 yen. We had a green papaya salad, a bowl of tom yum soup, two plates, two servings of rice, plus a half-bottle of wine and a glass of Orangina.

    Obviously we can’t do that very often, but we were soooo craving for Thai food, we justified it!

  • Jan

    When I visit Tokyo, we must go to this restaurant! YUM!

  • tokyoterrace

    Divina:Thai Iced Tea is one of those things that if you’ve tried it, you probably love it. I will never forget the first one I experienced in Thailand- nothing like it!

    Cocopuff1212: Our dinner (which I have just added in the post, thanks to your questions :) ) Cost 3,900yen. It was really reasonable, especially for the Omotesando area!

    Jan: Just let me know when you’ll be here! :)

  • http://neverturndownacupcake.blogspot.com K

    Yum, looks delicious! It’s always fun to find a new spot to come back to!

  • http://www.MyLastBite.com MyLastBite

    Looks fantastic. I eat Thai food here in L.A. at LEAST once a week. Just can’t get enough!

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  • Nora

    Hi there!

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and I like it very much. Now I am very excited to see you have found that nice little place!!!! In 2008 I was one month in Omotesando for an internship, and I fell in love with the little restaurants there. This Thai-place is really nice in summer, when you can sit outside. And there’s this great gyoza place right opposite of it. You can eat loads of gyoza, rice and green beens and other stuff plus several beers for 7 euro, I went there frequently and in front of it many Japanese were waiting to get inside, so I guess this means its good quality. It’s a total different world right beside that posh area, it feels more like Chinatown than Japan.. I liked that a lot. You should try it :-)
    Greetings from Germany
    Nora

  • http://www.sasasunakku.com Sasa

    I love this place!!! I’m now living in Austria but before that we were in Tokyo and we went a few times, it’s right near a great place that only serves gyoza in a little lane near Dior right?

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com wasabi prime

    Beautiful photos — as always, you make everything look heavenly! And the food looks amazing. I love the mix of flavors in dishes like these. So complex and flavorful!

  • http://www.bloomingteasite.com Flowers Tea

    This is mouth watering! the food looks really delicious, and oh, the iced tea, I love it. Thai food rocks. :)

  • http://www.thaiteaset.com/ Thai Tea

    You can also make Thai iced tea at home using kit from http://www.thaiteaset.com

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