Watching Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and co in ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen‘ on my flight to the USA in August made quite an impression on me though that was more to do with the idea, the scenery and the country of Yemen itself which, like many, I know little about other than than it is the only country which represents the letter Y when I do the a-z of countries in classes. Naturally, as a filming locations geek I checked out where it was shot and I can’t say I was too surprised to discover that it wasn’t actually done in Yemen. Instead, Ouarzazate in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains doubled up as Yemen. This place was also used in films such as ‘Lawrence Of Arabia‘, ‘The Living Daylights‘, ‘The Mummy‘ and ‘Gladiator‘.
Whilst researching ethnic restaurants in Tokyo I came across ‘Mocha Coffee‘ and I guess it stuck out as its the only one of its kind. I even went as far as telling quite a few people about the place (and its coffee prices but more on that later!) and when I had a long break in Shibuya the other day I thought I’d take the 15 minute walk to find the place at 25-1 Sarugakucho in Shibuya-ku. This greenhouse-style shop is intimately located in the artsy neighbourhood of Daikanyama and in a city of high-rise buildings it is so nice to go to a place at street level.
Now, this is a bit of a weird one for me as I don’t drink coffee, never have and never will! I wasn’t even planning to go inside when I found it but I saw they sold some cake and hoped they might sell some Yemeni or Middle-Eastern sweets inside. I was right as there was some fig mamool (dates cookies) and baklava (almond pie) on the counter alongside the cake which I sampled with slight embarrassment due to not purchasing any of the coffee which it is famed for! For that reason this entry just about qualifies to go under this websites ‘Dining Out’ section.
The shop is ran by Yemen native Hussein Ahmed and his lovely Japanese wife Maiko but only the latter was around on my visits. We talked for a while as I asked the usual dull questions just about every single customer probably asks! I mentioned the ‘Salmon Fishing…‘ movie (finally released here in Japan on December 8th) and she said she hadn’t seen it but was reading the novel (in English!) which it was based on. I’m still none the wiser as to why the film uses the ‘The’ in front of the country’s name though Maiko did say it may be because British people, for it is a British film, have traditionally called it that way.
I returned a few days later with my girlfriend who actually drinks coffee and most impressed she was too by the Ismaili brew which is the most traditional of Yemeni coffees and according to their website full of fruit and wine flavours. This coffee and cake place imports rare beans from Yemen and though they are on the slightly pricey side this is a great place to experience and relax whilst sampling some unique tastes.