World Neighbors Gokokuji Cafe's New Menu!
Just off of the Marunouchi Line, about 5 minutes from Shin-Otsuka station and before continuing down the slope to the Yurakucho line, you will find a place, true to its name, that has become the gathering spot for many locals and the far-traveled alike.
On the first floor of our largest property, World Neighbors Gokokuji is the World Neighbors Cafe. The cafe has been the main source of nutrition for many of the residents as well as the local neighbors.
The menu has finally been renewed!
This time around too, the menu offers a variety of flavors keeping in mind the needs of the international community that is World Neighbors! We went to take a taste of the new menu with some new staff that will be joining the World Neighbors Cafe family.
THE NEW MENU
There are a number of internationally inspired dishes that have a Gokokuji twist on them, such as the Quebec Pork Rillettes spread on bread, Latin inspired White Fish Escabeche, and even Eggplant and Ginger Hummus which actually has a Tofu base.
The new menu also offers more healthy options adding a Salad section, which has great choices for vegetarians, vegans and the average salad lover alike. The staff have taken great care to make sure that they can offer options to the diverse needs of residents and guests, customizing dishes to personal needs such as allergies, life choices and religious limitations, without giving up on the taste!
For the tasting event, we each had a fork and plate in hand ready to dig in…There were so many great new items to try, that it was hard to decide where to start…
In good Social Apartment fashion, we had a bit of fun while testing as well…
After we had our fill of the dishes and laughs we each shared our personal recommendations. Both Koyo, a local university student and new part-timer at WNC, and Hall staff & cook Ayumi, who also takes time to help at a NPO for youths, recommend the Cassata.
Cassata is a type of Italian dessert, similar to ice-cream but infused with fruits and ricotta cheese. Koyo comments that it isn’t overpowering or too sweet and when you let it melt just a bit it has a soft and creamy texture to it. Ayumi adds that since it isn’t too sweet it can be eaten as a snack paired with wine instead of only as a dessert.
Kyarioka (his nickname), aspiring actor vouched for the Tomato Carbonara Pasta.
He explained that he actually doesn’t usually like Carbonara, but this one had the nice creaminess of carbonara with the cutting acidity of tomato as well, creating a pleasant and easy to enjoy pasta dish.
Yuki, who many residents and local will be sure to recognize, had a difficult time choosing between the two Gnocchi dishes (4 Kinds of Mushroom Cream or Pork Ragout and Tomato Cream) and the Coriander Salad. She said that despite her size she loves to really eat something that is filling with good portion and a satisfying taste, and these dishes checked off those boxes for her.
4th year university student Sacchan, who happens to be writing about food for her senior thesis, is also a fan of the Pork and Tomato Ragut Gnocchi.
Local University student and dancer Saki said she honestly doesn’t like salad much, but exclaimed that really enjoyed the chicken salad. It didn’t taste like just another salad of only vegetables but was a proper meal.
Minori is one of the chefs in the kitchen, she explained that her favorite dish was complicated to make but had the best combination of tastes and textures. The 4 Kinds of Mushrooms Cream Sauce Gnocchi is creamy, earthy, chewy and has all the goodness any addicting dish would have.
Ms. Kurumi has been at the cafe since its very start, and is actually a local who has lived her whole life in the area. She presented two personal favorites, one is the Caramel Walnuts Banana Bread, a sweet and chewy dessert which also happens to have her name as one of the ingredients (Kurumi means walnuts in Japanese!). Her other recommendation is actually an old favorite from the original menu when World Neighbors Cafe in Gokokuji first opened, the Coriander Salad. This dish was the usual choice of one our repeater customers and they have been asking for this dish to be revived, and it has finally made its come-back!
My personal recommendation alongside the 4 Kinds of Mushroom Cream Sauce Gnocchi, would have to be the World Neighbors Cafe Sandwich. The WNC Sandwich is a World Neighbors Cafe original that changes each month! So you will always have a new taste to look forward to. This month’s had a tangy sauce BLT with a filling portion, a satisfying crunch and a side of fries.
What are you most excited to try?
Of course the main dish of any cafe is the food, but the staff who work there also make a huge part of the experience.
Residents know them well, but this was an opportunity to meet the staff, as well as hear more about what inspired them to work at WNC in the first place. From studying acting to working with children, the staff themselves are diverse, as expected of World Neighbors!
Surprisingly however, as they shared their stories of how they came to work at World Neighbors Cafe, they all had a similar answer. They had been customers at first, and enjoyed the fun and friendly atmosphere of the cafe as well as its stylish design and connection with the new lifestyle concept of Social Apartments, on top of the delicious food!
They all had a desire to become a part of creating this great experience for the guests and residents here, making new friends along the way.
Ms. Kurumi, who grew up in the Gokokuji area loved that the cafe brought a new dynamic to her beloved hometown and that she could share the great qualities of the area with all who visited the cafe, whether they were locals, residents, or just checking out the area.
The cafe often plays host, connecting the residents and neighbors in the community with fun events such as pastry making and mochitsuki (traditional Japanese rice cake making in the new year, check out this article below!)
Living at World Neighbors Gokokuji as a resident, will surely offer you some spice to your everyday life. With people from literally every imaginable career, a broad age range, and an international spectrum, there is never a dull moment in this active community.
If you are one who cooks there are always people to share recipes with, but even if you aren’t the best with the fry pan or just don’t have the time, living at World Neighbors Gokokuji is all the more convenient as you can gorge on the many delicious dishes at the cafe with 15,000 yen worth of cafe credit automatically included in your rent!
As our largest property, World Neighbors Gokokuji has many luxurious features including a large working lounge, a multi-purpose studio, bar lounge and more! World Neighbors Gokokuji is incredibly welcoming to anyone from any country. On top of a 10,000 yen discount to your rent each month for residents with citizenship from abroad, the excellent access, the friendly cafe family, and finally an absolutely open community you will sure to feel excited every time you come home.