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Hard cheese? Not at Shibuya Cheese Stand

by Robbie Swinnerton

Who says you need pastures and milk cows if you want to produce cheese? Why not churn it out where demand is highest, right in the middle of the city? That is the admirable, out-of-the-box thinking underlying Shibuya Cheese Stand, which opened earlier this month just a short stroll from the heart of one of Tokyo’s busiest shopping districts.

Run by a team of young cheese-makers, it currently offers only two kinds, a creamy mozzarella type and a ricotta. Besides being available in packages (¥550 for 100 grams for the mozzarella; ¥470 for the ricotta), both cheeses are also being made into a range of very tasty sandwiches. Whether mozzarella with tomato or vegetables (¥480 each); ricotta and salami (¥520); or mozzarella and egg with a drizzle of truffle oil (¥560), all are served in long rye-bread rolls, and can be either eaten in the small cafe area — perhaps with a glass of whey drink on the side — or taken out. Perfect for a summer picnic in nearby Yoyogi Park.

Shibuya Cheese Stand, 5-8 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 6407-9806; open 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.; closed Sun. Nearest station: Yoyogi-Koen (Chiyoda Line); www.cheese-stand.com.