Avocado lovers, obsessives, converts and even skeptics—this one is for you. Up some scruffy metal steps lies the unpromising exterior of a cafe which will fulfill every avocado need you didn’t know you had. Nestled in the back streets of Harajuku, next to vending machines and hidden in ivy, is Madosh!—the only themed cafe you won’t ever get bored of.
Avocados are good for you, simple to prepare and amazing in almost every format, so it’s no wonder that avocado cafes are popping up left, right and center. Usually aimed at the slightly alternative and often the vegetarian/vegan crowd, avocados are branching out into the mainstream, and rightly so. Madosh is one of a few avocado cafes across Tokyo and serves good quality, delicious food without going overboard—you will find great fresh fish, filling curries and interesting side dishes—all improved with a good portion of the green wonder.
Despite the modest exterior, ignore your doubts because inside is a lovely, warm, hippy-ish cafe with lots of interesting decorations and a definite theme, but not excessively so.
You can either take a seat at some regular tables, an avocado coffee table, the nice group area or, if you take your shoes off, the grass-floored bench seats. If you wander across for syrup, drinks or soup, be sure to explore the many trinkets and books that are dotted around.
Madosh is not a super-cheap place, but the quality and variety of menu options mean it is really flexible depending on your budget, and makes a lovely place for a longer catch-up lunch. There are lunch and dinner sets, coming in at 1,800 and 2,200 respectively, which include a choice of any main (priced at 1,200 on their own).
Due to the format of the lunch set, I think it would be perfect if you’re having a relaxed lunch, as the soup, drinks and biscuits are all self-serve and unlimited, so you can take your time and have refills. However, if you’re only popping in and don’t have time to make the most of it, I would say single dishes might be better value-wise.
We opted for the set on a Saturday lunchtime and chose from the mains which included rice bowls with tuna and salmon, curries and a vegetarian section which included a tofu-version of taco rice (!). The staff were also really accommodating about checking ingredients in dishes and removing some for a friend with allergies, so don’t worry about asking for help with certain things.
The menus have short but decent English descriptions for dishes but not rules, so the Google Translate app might come in handy, although there is nothing too tricky
After ordering, we were promptly given our “avopuccinos” which—despite the annoying name—were really nice, if not a little confusing. Sweet, but definitely avocado… they are hard to explain, but definitely pleasant once your brain has stopped trying to work out what it is. You can add a variety of different syrups to your drink (sorry I refuse to use that word again) and I can vouch for peach as a surprisingly good addition.
The make-or-break value of the set deal is in the self-serve corner which is home to hanging avocados, soft drinks, soup and biscuits. The soup changes each day, but the spicy vegetable soup we tried was really good and we had multiple bowlfuls.
The mains arrived and were delicious, piled with avocado, and apparently we could ask for avocado top-ups if we needed more. Rolled like melon-balls straight from the ’80s, there was certainly no shortage of the green stuff, and the tofu taco rice and rice bowl we ordered were delicious. The tofu was really flavorful and definitely tasted like real taco rice; so much so that we gave it our “this tastes good…almost too good…” suspicious look reserved for any food so tasty it might just be meat. Sophisticated food connoisseurs we are not, avid food lovers we are. Silence ensued as we devoured.
If you opt for a single dish, or if you just really need even more avocado, there are small 100 yen dishes you can choose along with larger sides, so you’ll definitely not run short.
The drinks and biscuits/mini-donuts and anything else that appears can be topped up and make a nice end to a meal since you’ll probably be too full for an actual dessert.
With everything from rice bowls to omelettes to weirdly good, but annoyingly named ‘avopuccinos’ , this is the place to get your avocado fix, and then some. So, next time you panic about soaring avocado prices or are in need of some vitamin E, Madosh is the place to go.