Ain Soph.Ripple might sound like a dodgy cult or a computer virus, but it is actually the new code word for amazing vegan burger. Now, me and my friend aren’t vegan, but these burgers were so good, the sounds we made while devouring them were bordering on inappropriate.
Finding truly vegetarian food in Japan is a struggle, let alone vegan. It can be limiting to say the least, but there are an increasing number of incredible places popping up—alongside the old favorites—to offer some tasty options that should be enjoyed by everyone, vegan or not. Fast food may not come to mind when you think vegan (maybe more hummus and carrot sticks for some of you?), but times have changed, and so has vegan food—and it’s brilliant. Ain Soph.Ripple offers a simple menu, in a small shop with a trendy feel, down the backstreets of Shinjuku, and it hits the target market spot-on.
With enough seating for about 12-15 people, the very recently opened little shop is trendy in the rough-and-ready way and even has an outside bench for summer. The larger central table and window counter means it’s perfect for all—from groups to lone-diners—but could fill easily. There are also charge points on the tables which is an excellent bonus. Staff speak English and menus are in Japanese and English, so ordering is no problem whatever your level. You’ll be handed a little buzzer and can sit and chat until your food is ready.
The menu is small, focusing on burgers, burritos and salad bowls, with a couple of sides and dessert options, but every single thing on it is vegan (which will come as a welcome relief to those of us who are tired of quadruple-checking content with staff before being served a meal, which oftentimes just has ‘less meat’ than before). Prices range from 800-1,150 yen for burgers and burritos, salad bowls are 680-1,200 yen for small and large sizes respectively, and all can be turned into a set with fries or soup for an extra 200 yen. There is a small selection of beers and fancy fruit drinks, but they do get somewhat pricey (depending on your definitions) so the free water, which must be requested, is always a solid option.
We opted for the burgers and added the fries, and waited (by our own admission impatiently, but we did our best to distract ourselves) until the burgers were ready. At the rude buzz of our pagers, we practically jumped to the counter (it had been a long day and we were, by this point, officially hangry), but one look at our dinner made everything better. The falafel burger may look a little dry on the outside, but is a fantastic green inside and utterly delicious. I chose the Cheese Ripple burger and would happily have eaten three more—the texture is great, there’s avocado, it’s full of sauce and the cheese actually tasted like cheese (top fear = bland cheese). Whilst a decent size, the portions aren’t massive, leaving us wanting dessert… which luckily was no problem. With waffles and french Toast to choose from (also available to take away) as well as a selection of biscuits and treats, you won’t be struggling for options.
On a second trip, the Burrito Bowl was tried (trust me, you’ll go back too) as a lunch set, (regular size) and was delicious, described as “the best thing I have ever eaten without meat”.
Despite the small-shop feel, this is actually part of bigger vegan-chain Ain Soph, with Journey and Soar branches doing set and course meals, but at higher prices for much fancier food. If this sounds more like your scene, they are in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro and go as far as vegan champagne(!) with lunch menus offering a more affordable option. Ripple seems to be a side-venture targeting a younger crowd with cheaper, simpler menus—and it hits the spot well. If it weren’t for the face-stuffing and sauce everywhere (these burgers are not a delicate endeavor, be warned), we would have felt quite cool.
Vegans, rejoice—and non-vegans, rejoice even more—because you never knew vegan food could taste this good, and you might not go back…
|Pricing info:||Meals between 800-1,200 yen|
|Address:||Nissho Building 1F , 2-46-8 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-kuo Tokyo, Japan 160-0021|
|Access:||Shinjuku or closer to Seibu-Shinjuku Station|
|Business hours:||Fri 11:00-22:00 (LO 21:30) | Sat-Sun & Holidays - 11:00-21:00 (LO 20:30)|
Tokyo and Japan have a reputation for the strange and unusual museums.