Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Green Earth, Osaka

Green Earth was the second strictly vegetarian restaurant we successfully went to in Japan (vegan restaurant in Shibuya was still closed for New Year holiday and a shojin ryori/buddhist cuisine restaurant in Kyoto was just closed). We ended up going there twice, which is a sign of how impressed we were the first time!

According to directions that we looked up on the internet, the restaurant is closest to Honmachi Station (exit 15, 5 minute walk), which is north of the restaurant. But since we were coming from Shinsaibashi area, which is south of the restaurant, it took us a bit to find it even though we had some indicators (e.g. the restaurant is near a shinto 難波神社 and the street is parallel to the main road Midosuji). Luckily we weren't going in too many circles before we found the Green Earth sandwich board on one of the smaller streets.

The restaurant was actually quite roomy, at least for Japanese standards. The kitchen/counter was near the front, and the dinning area was at the back. There were a few customers in there already, including some people from Sweden (we overhead them telling the owner later on); I guess the place must be a known spot for other fellow Western vegetarians. There are Japanese and English menus. We found a wide selection of adapted Western style dishes, including pizza, pasta, hamburger, sandwich and hotdog. There was also a daily special set for ¥700.

I decided to try the mushroom curry, and IF went for pizza. We also got a side order of something that was sort of like veggie fried 'chicken' pieces, I have a weak spot for fried stuff!

The fried pieces were sort of prepared in the Japanese deep fried style, karaage (唐揚げ), only maybe not as fried. I have to say it was very tasty!

My mushroom curry came with brown rice. I'd say although the dish wasn't really entirely 'Western' or 'Japanese', probably a bit of both. The curry was very nice, though not particularly spicy.

IF's pizza looked really good (and tasted good too)! It came with assorted vegetables and veg ham on wholemeal dough.

The prices were quite reasonable, with the non-daily specials being less than ¥1000 each (cheaper prices for sandwiches and hotdogs, etc. about ¥500-600). The daily special seemed like a good deal and we saw other customers getting it. We decided to come back 2 days later before we left Osaka because we liked the prices and food there, plus wanted to show our support to a vegetarian restaurant!

This time we seemed to be the only non-Japanese customers there. We got the fried 'chicken' pieces again, as they were just that tasty. We also went for something healthier - mushroom salad.

It had a lovely dressing, and it was quite big (probably enough as a meal if you're not very hungry)! Great mix of lettuce, bell pepper, sprouts, arame (or similar type of sea vegetables) and mushrooms - nutritious and yummy!

I went for more fungus - mushroom pasta! This was definitely a fusion creation, pasta in Japaese style. It was almost like a noodle type dish. It had a soy type sauce, topped with Asian mushrooms, a bit of seaweed and baby sprouts. It's quite simple yet satisfying.

IF went for the curry this time, aubergine curry with brown rice that was. He enjoyed it too, even though normally he's not a huge curry fan.

We didn't have room to try any of their cakes and desserts because we got a bit greedy with our order this time; they did seem tempting though. We chatted a bit with the owners during this visit, since they probably remembered us from the other day. They spoke some English and were very nice. Green Earth offered homely yet wonderfully made vegetarian dishes. The name of the place probably gives a healthy eating undertone; however, it is definitely not a 'rabbit food' type of place (which is something I don't really fancy), in fact probably somewhere vegetarians and non-vegetarians could enjoy. The prices were also very reasonable, especially handy for budget travellers. It is currently only opened for lunch, and the food is mostly vegan. We would definitely go back, once or twice, next time when we are in Osaka.

Green Earth
4-2-2, Kitakyuhoji-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
大阪府大阪市中央区北久宝寺町4-2-2 久宝ビル1F
Tel: 06-62511245

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