Mayo-themed cafe open in Tokyo for a very limited time.

Many people who have spent time in Japan will attest that the mayonnaise here is fantastic. Although it’s a condiment I would hardly touch in my home country, Kewpie Mayo and its rivals are so delicious I eat it just about every day. I think it’s because they put apples in it…either apples or crack cocaine I guess.

So it’s no surprise that the Kewpie brand has thrived here and is now celebrating its 100th year with the “kewpie 100 years, start! CAFE.” Granted, it’s a name that’s hard to parse, but the great taste of Kewpie mayo is a big draw, and when our own Mr. Sato went to check it out, there was already a line-up of 10 people ahead of him.

Once he got inside there was a giant Kewpie doll that was just begging to be posed for pictures with and then have said pictures posted onto Instagram. So that’s just what Mr. Sato did.

The cafe catered to the lunch crowd and had a menu that was mainly made up of salads. It was fitting, as Mr. Sato, along with a lot of Japanese people, probably owe their acclimation to eating raw vegetables to having drizzled Kewpie mayo all over them as a child.

But Mr. Sato was a busy man and had plans to visit the poop museum that same day, so he skimmed over to the dessert section and…

▼ “Smooth Mayo Pudding“!!!

Mr. Sato wondered if mayonnaise was ever supposed to go into pudding, but thinking about it, both use eggs, so some harmony must exist between them. Either way, it was certainly intriguing, and given his pressing poo engagement he decided to get the pudding as a 200-yen (US$1.80) add-on to an egg and vegetable sandwich set for 1,000 yen ($9).

While waiting he strolled around the cafe and found a counter in the middle with a bunch of condiments, including mayo of course.

There were also plenty of Kewpie-brand salad dressings on hand.

In addition, there were plenty of packets of Aohata (a subsidiary of Kewpie Corp.) jam available.

Finally, our reporter’s order arrived.

Considering it cost 1,000 yen, the single baby tomato and three potato wedges seemed more like a slap in the face than a delightful garnish. Nevertheless, the sandwich certainly looked nicely crammed with eggs and veggies.

The vegetables had a really vibrant taste to them, as they should since they’re the main item on the menu.

It was not disappointing at all, but this was hardly the main event. The Smooth Mayo Pudding sat on the table the whole time, staring him down with its strawberry eye. It looked like regular pudding, but Mr. Sato just knew that the tart taste of mayo was lingering within.

The pudding (technically “purin” which is a slightly different dessert) actually already lost marks in our writer’s eyes because he prefers his soft rather than firm. The fact that Smooth Mayo Pudding could easily support half a strawberry was not encouraging to him.

He took a first bite expecting the worst. But then, something totally unexpected happened.

Mr. Sato was filled with a peculiar sense of nostalgia. It was odd since he had never been to a Kewpie cafe before, and certainly never ordered a mayo pudding before, but it was a taste he remembered from somewhere.

After a moment, he recalled a time when he was little and his grandmother would take him to a marketplace where they sold small pudding cups. His grandmother would always buy one for him and it made him especially happy. She’s gone now, but that memory of her is still strong with the 45-year-old Mr. Sato.

As he remembered this, he realized the music playing in the cafe was the theme song to the Kewpie Background Music radio program which had ended in the ’90s. The classical music program sponsored by the mayo company used to flow through his childhood home while his mother did the housework on calm sunlit mornings.

Mr. Sato realized that his life coincided with the latter half of Kewpie’s 100 years perfectly and the brand had been a part of his life in ways he never fully understood until now. He can’t really say for sure if the Smooth Mayo Pudding was especially delicious or not, but it was the first time a pudding almost moved him to tears.

Restaurant Information
kewpie 100 years, start! CAFE
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Hillside 2F (Hills Cafe)
東京都港区六本木6-10-1 六本木ヒルズ 森タワー ヒルサイド2F(ヒルズカフェ)
Open: 15 – 31 March, 2019
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Photos: SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]