The trend of open kitchen has gone ethnic; no longer is this phenomenon the domain of ultra-chic restaurants, as places like Kaffir Lime offers the clients a peek at the cooks at work. But really, hasn’t it always been the other way around? In most (if not all) of Asia, street food vendors have always been an “open kitchen” for all the diners to see. Perhaps it is then the high-end restaurants that have adopted this street-smart move.
Everything in Kaffir Lime is cooked to order, including the fresh green papaya salad (somtum). As in most Thai establishments, the spiciness of the dish can be requested; but be aware that when a dish of somtum is ordered, usually the cook does not change the mortar or bowl in which the spices are prepared. Thus, if you order mild somtum, and the cook had just prepared a very spicy somtum for another patron, chances are, you will have some spiciness to your young papaya salad.
The fried fish is particularly delicious. The kwee-tiauw (flat wide rice noodles) could be ordered dry if you do not like the soupy version. Thai and Chinese restaurants usually would honor patron’s request in how the food is prepared, so it does not hurt to ask. Portions are relatively small, and oh yes, when they say “spicy” they really mean spicy. Make sure that you specify the degree of spiciness if you do not want to end up gobbling lots of rice and gulping hot water to douse off that fiery feeling in your mouth.
When in season, the rambutan juice (Rambutan ice slush) is a thirst-quencher. I cannot emphasize more how this a real thirst quencher!
To find Kaffir Lime, first find the Bulgari building or the neighboring Chanel building on Omotesando-dori; then go to the alley behind it, parallel to the main street you have just left. It is located on the second floor above a noodle and pan-Asian restaurant; there is a Starbucks in that same alley. No separate area for non-smokers, and the place is very small.
6-1-5, 2F Jinguumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Tel/Fax: +81(03) 3400-2918