Bean There, Done That
Continuing with our theme of
classy nights out, Beans Café Soya offers a unique dining
experience in Horie.
Soya is not easy to miss. The façade is
imposing, and is a beacon for those looking for elegant dining.
Just off Nagahori, a short walk down from Yotsubashi, Beans is another
fine example of the stylish establishments that are popping up in
As the name suggests, there is a theme present
in Soya. The majority of the dishes use beans in some form or another,
mostly but not exclusively soy. For those not enamored with pulses,
there are other options, but that would beg the question of why
you would be going there. The menu is clever, utilizing the ingredients
in imaginative ways to produce some tasty dishes on an Italian theme.
Your first taste of the impending bean-fest comes
in the pre-appetizer stage. As with many restaurants in Japan, diners
are first given a small appetizer, unasked-for. Dont be fooled
into thinking this is due to the generosity of the management, as
you will find it on your bill at the end. At Beans, we were offered
selection of hors-doeurves to whet the appetite, with small
servings of chili beans, a square of omelette and some bean pate.
We were also given a small glass of ume-shu, an aperitif designed
to cleanse ones palette. Quite delicious, but, in what was
to sadly become somewhat thematic, a little insubstantial in terms
The appetizers fared slightly better, with some
fresh spring-rolls (¥680) and some chick-pea croquettes (also
¥680) on offer. The skin of the spring rolls was made with (funnily
enough) soy milk, and the croquette balls were quite delicious,
tender falafel. The main courses were fairly tasty, especially the
fresh pasta with lentils and sausage, but fairly inadequate in terms
of size, given the cost (¥1,250). The roast duck with mashed
potatoes, served with a balsamic vinegar and red-wine sauce was
also fairly small and did not really live up to expectations. Dessert
was another question however, very reasonably priced at ¥480,
a firm soy milk blancmange with raspberries and cranberries.
The restaurant, which has been running for around
two years, is aesthetically pleasing, located as it is in an old
warehouse, previously used for storing wood. The ceiling in high,
and the white interior and clever lighting make it extraordinarily
spacious. There are two balconies overlooking the main floor, which
houses the open kitchen, allowing diners to see what exactly goes
into the preparation of their meals. The staff are friendly and
attentive, and the management are always concerned about your dining
experience. One group, celebrating a birthday, got the full nine
yards, with a cake presented by the staff and cheered by the patrons.
Soya has been by all accounts a success, to the
point where they feel justified in imposing some strange and fairly
strict rules on their customers. During busy periods, groups are
limited to two hours. Enough time, surely, to eat your fill but
something that may hang over your head should you be looking for
a leisurely experience. Last orders must be placed within ninety
minutes, and there is a minimum number of dishes to be ordered.
Such strictures do impede somewhat with the atmosphere, which would
otherwise be relaxed and comfortable, with some chilled-out jazz
accompanying your meal.
1-9-3 Kitahorie, Nishi-ku,
Nearest Station: Subway Yotsubashi, Yotsubashi Line, Exit #4
Open: Everyday except Tuesday
Week days: 12:00-23:00 (last order 22:00)
Weekend and holidays: 12:00-24:00 (last order 23:00)