Eat and play the rainy days away at Cafe Annteana

by Anna-marie Farrier

Rain — it’s enough to strike fear into the heart of the most seasoned parent, as you madly scramble for ways to entertain a child cooped up indoors. Coming to the rescue this rainy season is Cafe Annteana in Tokyo’s Daikanyama neighborhood, an establishment that caters to the 12-and-under crowd in a decidedly fashionable way.

Tired of playing at home one particularly rainy afternoon, we headed out for a change of pace to meet some friends at the cafe for dinner. Finding a dinner destination for three or more kids can be something of a challenge, but Cafe Annteana seems to have a more-the-merrier attitude toward kids.

The cafe manages to be long on style while meeting the practical needs of parents with children. It’s shabby chic — down to the last detail — with whitewashed walls, chandeliers, elegant-yet-unbreakable glassware, plush sofas, and one of the cutest bathrooms and diaper changing areas I have seen yet. Equipped with a rock-climbing wall for older children, a padded play area with toys for the little ones, two chalkboard walls for drawing, and an endless lineup of Disney movies playing in the background, it is everything a kid (and parent) could wish for.

No small wonder, as Anna Sumitani — celebrity mama and the brains behind this establishment — created the cafe with parents in mind.

“Annteana is a cafe for mothers that I created based on my own experiences as a mother with children,” says Sumitani. “When my children were young, it was such a struggle to have a relaxed meal out. It was so easy to feel overwhelmed and I wanted to help mothers who need a little break but don’t want it to be stressful for their children. With this cafe, I wanted to provide the kind of service that makes moms smile.”

And smile we did. While the kids were (literally) climbing the walls, we perused the menu and settled on the Curry Kid’s Plate (¥850) and Bismarck Pizza (¥1,280). Baked in their 500-degree-Celsius pizza oven, Cafe Annteana’s pizza is the real deal and has a wonderfully chewy crust. The ground-beef curry on the Kid’s Plate was tastefully sweet and packed with carrots. It was served with an edamame-and-potato salad, and strawberry pudding — the meal was good enough to tear the kids away from their playing for a whole 10 minutes.

The adults enjoyed a leisurely dinner while the kids played the evening away, and it was only with the promise of doughnuts that we were able to lure them away.

We popped in to Camden’s Blue Star Donuts in the recently opened Daikanyama Log Road complex for some after-dinner sweets. The shop’s Cointreau Creme Brulee doughnut — crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside — is perfection, if you can get your hands on one before they sell out. There’s nothing like a boozy treat to keep the adults happy — it’s worth braving the rain for.

Camden’s Blue Star Donuts is located at Log Road Daikanyama No. 2, 13-1 Daikanyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3464-3961. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. www.camdensbluestardonuts.jp. English menu, some English spoken.