Basho Cafe has already been written about a lot but here’s my quick take on it: it’s a cute ‘n quaint Japanese cafe with light meals and baked goods tailored for the Japanese palate, which prefers lighter, less heavy and less sweet flavours.
Basho is on East Hastings, about where I’d consider the western-most edge of what’s now called the “East Village” area. Go a bit further east and you’ll see places like the newish Mr. Red Cafe (Northern Vietnamese), The Red Wagon Cafe (heavy, rich diner food), Tacofino Commissary (west coast-style tacos and really good spicy dark chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches), Campagnolo Roma (Italian) and Rocio’s Salteñas (Bolivian soup-filled version of empanadas). So this is an area that I find myself coming back to more and more these days.
It’s a small, family-run cafe.
Small menu of light meals. We ordered the Tuna Tataki rice bowl and the Teri Pulled Pork rice bowl, but we really came for their famous Japanese style sweets.
All the sweets are cute-sized and (if I recall correctly) most go for $1 each.
Wicca will go for anything with Asian-y stuff in it, like matcha or kabocha.
Their list of teas and today’s soup. Wicca made her meal a combo set by adding $3 for soup, sweets and tea.
Our table had this cute mini potted plant scene. The pot even had a knitted cozy wrapped around it!
Wicca’s set meal comes with sweets but we wanted to try even more sweets so we got a few more on the side. We originally wanted to take them home, but…
…look at how cute these are! I like how these are small bites. We couldn’t resist and just ended up eating them there while waiting for our food.
Cross-section of the alfajores with matcha. Light, crumbly.
I think this one was red bean. It had that chewy mochi texture.
Matcha cookie with white chocolate. Wicca’s least favourite but good to try once. We just don’t like white chocolate and the texture of the cookie was a little off.
Teri Pulled Pork rice bowl with salad, tea, selection of sweets and cauliflower soup. They choose which sweets and tea you get, so we ended up duplicating the kabocha muffin and green tea with white chocolate cookie.
The flavour was a bit off in that Japanese sort of way…like if you’ve had burgers in Japan, the taste of the beef is just kinda different than what we’re used to in North America. Here, the pulled pork was more like chopped pork. The teriyaki flavour wasn’t quite teriyaki…I guess more like a mild teriyaki mixed with a mild Tex-Mex flavour. Not terrible but tasty for what it was, but just slightly left of centre. It’s not gonna set your world on fire.
Closeup of the sweets that came with the set meal.
Again, light flavours here in the soup. Tasty in its own way.
Tuna Tataki rice bowl. I like the cute little scoop of kabocha mash on the side.
I think that was a little dab of sour cream on top. It came with a little dab of homemade tofu mayonnaise on top.
Seasoned with ginger, green onion, shichimi and black sesame seeds. A light and tasty meal that’s enjoyable when you’re in the mood. I almost felt a bit hungry still after eating this, but after waiting and walking around a bit afterwards, I realized that yes I’m actually satisfied.
Cute cute cute.
Cross-section of that chocolate mochi muffin thing. The chewy mochi texture was the most enjoyable in this muffin. Just adorable!
They like keeping the place clean here!
Their current hours. Note that they’re not open on weekends. At least not right now, so keep an eye on their Twitter feed.
This is the perfect place for Japanese ladies who lunch. The food was light and fresh-tasting but for us, we’d probably just stick to the super-cute sweets.