Toconoco, my Japanese headquarter
I am quite picky when it comes to Japanese cuisine, as I have always ranked it as one of my top three comfort foods. This was heightened by my years living in Japan. I tend to look for authentic, traditional and homely food, and that’s exactly what I found at a cute Japanese cafe in Haggerston called Toconoco.
Akio opened Toconoco three years ago. His aspiration was to build a pleasant, homelike and kid-friendly place. With this in mind he created a bright but shady place with a peaceful yet still lively atmosphere, set in a design that was both traditional and modern – all this along with delicious (and affordable) homemade Japanese food!
It’s lunch time!
Their lunch menu changes every day and is instantly uploaded on Instagram (@toconoco). The main dish is usually served with miso soup, rice and a side dish. My type of healthy combo! Today, I had their yummy Miso Mayo Chicken lunch set.
The steamed meat was really soft and moist, topped with miso mayonnaise, a dash of chicken oil and spring onion. My favourite thing to do is to put some of the chicken thighs on my Japanese white rice and let it soak into it, which helps release its tasty flavour. Paired with a fresh cucumber seaweed salad, the set couldn’t be better.
I also ordered their scrumptious Matcha Cheese Cake, which I had been eyeing up since I stepped into the café. Although I am a big matcha fan, I decided to accompany it with a creamy Houjicha Latte – basically roasted Japanese green tea (which explains its brown-ish colour). As a result I was able to fully enjoy both tastes (double win?).
While the quality and taste of the food obviously matters, I have a thing not only for well-lit wooden places, but also places full of passion. You can tell that everything has been carefully set up – Akio even picked up wooden branches to decorate his café. A little bit like someone’s home, you can really feel it when thought and effort have been put in to make it cosy.
Please note that the place is located by the Regent’s Canal and is a little bit hidden. Don’t be afraid, follow the signs and push the gates!
What about comfort food?
You know when sometimes you just crave for homemade food. Well, it’s not easy to find a place outside your own home that makes you feel like… home. You can sometimes experience it when you live abroad or even when you travel.
As for me, comfort food can be easily summarised by either Japanese or Vietnamese/South East Asian food. They have this superpower of making me forget all the small annoying things in life or making a bad day go well. Although a positive mind is key, good food definitely helps!
It makes sense that comfort food is usually the food we grew up eating. I should probably add French food to my list of comforting cuisines, but I’d say that when it comes to French cooking, my expectations are much higher. I rarely get it outside of France, just to avoid disappointment, although I do miss it.
How about you? What is your comfort food and where can you find it?
A, 28 Hertford Rd,
London N1 5QT
Wed – Mon: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Written by Lucia Chauvet