Food & Drink | THE KIDS' TABLE

Tokyo's family restaurant that breaks the dingy stereotype

by Anna-marie Farrier

Special To The Japan Times

Family restaurants, or “famiresu,” as they are often called in Japan, are a type of restaurant that’s ubiquitous throughout the country. Denny’s, Royal Host and Jonathan’s are examples of famiresu chains.

100 Spoons, in the Tokyo neighborhood of Futako Tamagawa — specifically the Rise Shopping Center — bills itself as a “new” type of family restaurant that aims to be a special destination for families while still offering the broad selection of dishes that famiresu are known for.

To be honest, family restaurants tend to be a last resort for our household — it’s where we go when we can’t reach a consensus about what to eat and cooking is out of the question. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect at 100 Spoons, but am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Overlooking a courtyard with a fountain that lights up in an array of colors, 100 Spoons has a light and airy feel with a far more sophisticated ambience than I would have expected from a family restaurant. Gone are the tacky benches covered in pleather, replaced instead by plush fabric-covered arm chairs and sleek booths.

We were shown to a comfortable booth at the back, which provided ample seating for our party of six: three adults and three girls, ages 3 and 4. We could have probably squeezed in a few more, too. Our menus came with a selection of colored pencils and the girls (and adults) immediately got to work coloring in the whimsical drawings on the covers of our menus.

What surprised me initially was the lack of an obvious children’s menu, but upon closer inspection, I found that all of the main dishes, salads and some of the desserts are available in half-size portions. If you have ever ordered from a kid’s menu only to find your child eating your food and you eating the kiddie fries, much to your chagrin, then this is the place for you. All of the main dishes are available in mini portions that look exactly like the adult version, only smaller.

For adults who just can’t decide or kids who are finicky eaters, there is the intriguing Little Big Plate (¥1,780), a selection of 10 items in mini portions that lets adults eat like kids and try a little bit of everything.

Our selection included a juicy mini-hamburger steak topped with a fried quail egg and served in the tiniest of iron skillets, a mini Le Creuset Dutch oven filled with sausages and succulent roast pork, and a miniature baguette with a subtly sweet curry filling.

Even though we ordered the full-size 100 Spoons Hamburger Steak (¥1,580) for the children, they of course ended up eating mostly off of our Little Big Plate — proof, I suppose, that it really does offer a little something for everyone.

After eating our fill, we ended our evening with some gleeful splashing in the outdoor fountain for the girls, a perfect way to cool off and escape the sweltering Tokyo heat.

100 Spoons is certainly worth a visit, but be sure to come hungry and with a change of clothes for your children — you’ll need it.

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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