Coffee Shop Ace
Original, yet somehow familiar. A gentle start to your day with nori toast.
There was a time when “jun-kissa” (‘pure cafés’, classic Japanese cafés in a Western style) were all over Japan. Nowadays, there are significantly fewer, but “Specialty Coffee Ace” in Kanda still preserves the comfort, nostalgia and aesthetic of the authentic “kissa” experience.
Take the nori toast. (Nori is a dried seaweed, often seen on sushi.)
BRUTUS, a major culture magazine in Japan, has picked it up numerous times.
A stand out, glorious curiosity in the world of toast: nori.
The specialty nori toast retains the Japanese aroma of an isobeyaki, yet goes strangely well with coffee.
Just one bite, and you’ll be convinced. “What a uniquely Japanese invention!” The tidal aroma of the nori and the flavor of the soy sauce combine to produce a somehow nostalgic flavor for Japanese people. Overseas visitors are sure to delight in something novel, oddly reminiscent of snack food.
Either way, what we’re saying is that it’s sure to be a big hit, whether or not you’re from Japan.
According to BRUTUS, this menu item draws its roots from the “noriben” (bento with nori), a classic for the Japanese. No wonder it tastes familiar.
A harmony of nori and soy sauce. Rooted in the noriben, just like Mum used to make. A market leader for price too.
Morning in Ace. The one and only.
Ace opens at 7AM. Breakfast service continues until 11:30. Nori toast and coffee is priced at the amazingly affordable 500 yen. Free refills on coffee until lunch, too.
The establishment sees a lot of visitors every morning.
In a 2009 interview in Asahi Shimbun (a major Japanese newspaper), the brothers who have run the place since its founding in 1971 spoke about their commitment to originality.
(Extract) ‘Originality is an absolute must if we don’t want to lose against the chains.’
It’s not just nori toast. The ambiance and the coffee are both unique to Ace. People come from all over to experience the nostalgia of a 50 year old establishment, as well as try something you’ll only find here. No doubt they’ll continue to do so.
What was once a nationwide phenomenon, “jun-kissa” may not be around for much longer; if you’re after coffee, café chains are usually enough.
But places like Ace will continue to be loved. A uniquely Japanese, uniquely Tokyo, uniquely Kanda morning. Be sure to visit!
- Coffee Shop Ace
- 3-10-6 Uchikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo