Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

A night at Camp to write home about

by Robbie Swinnerton

Curry rice isn’t meant to be healthy any more than it’s supposed to be spicy. It’s a carb-laden comfort food, a cheap and filling staple of students and singletons. Obviously the folks at Camp never got the memo.

This down-home little diner on the fringes of Yoyogi has a radically different approach. Instead of the usual lake of mystery gloop ladled over a plain of white starch, you get a huge mountain of vegetables. And it’s not just the boring ones, like cabbage and spuds. Each serving of the house curry special holds 13 different kinds — over a third of a kilogram; a full day’s worth, they say.

Bell peppers (red and orange), broccoli (still firm, not overcooked and soggy), tomatoes and more — all tossed together with one of Camp’s patent curry sauces (there’s a choice of three) in cast-iron skillets and served bubbling hot. For extra protein, you can order chicken wings or a soft-boiled egg on the side. You specify how much rice you want — with no extra charge for ōmori (large portions) — or order pasta instead.

There are now Camp Express branches in several Tokyo train stations, all with the same outdoorsy decor, laid-back vibe, cute shovel-spoons and giant mounds of veggies. Commuting just got healthier.

4-29-11 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5411-0070; open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (last order), closed Sun.; nearest station Yoyogi; curry from ¥890; no credit cards (cash only); no smoking; Japanese/English menu; little English spoken