Viron is a Patisserie French Jewel in Shibuya, Japan
Lovely Bread you Can take Upstairs to the Restaurant
You know a Patisserie is good when you stumble upon an elegant French couple staring intently at their handheld GPS trying to make out how to get there for breakfast.
Viron in the upper reaches of Shibuya just in front of the Tokyu Department Store Honten and Bunkamura is my favorite haunt for a daytime cup of coffee, a delectable bite of bread smothered in luxurious French butter (so good there is a separate charge just for the butter!!!) and the most taste-bud tingling salad you’ve every had.
The restaurant has a special lunch each day and whenever I go I see very elegant couples, young professionals and Oshare moms sitting leisurely in the deep red environ. We all enjoy a cool, and I mean cool in EVERY way, escape from our busy day over magnificent food as well as being delicately looked after by master wait-people with a perfect French vibe.
I do some work at NHK in Shibuya and had rushed passed the Patisserie many times. It did look nice but was always crowded and had a line out front..and ont top of that…my eyes were always drawn further down the street to the huge Shibuya H&M Store just beyond. There is always a display of funky faux fur jacket or sleek-looking skirt to tempt my wallet out of my purse and my body down the street instead of stepping in to Viron.
Then, one day, I needed to meet my son for both of us to kill time before other meetings in Shibuya so I decided to make our meeting place VIRON since it is easy to locate for someone like my son who is relatively familiar with the area.
“Just have Hachiko at your back and walk to the left and up the street to the right of the 109 shop. Keep going until you see the signs for Bunkamura ahead, Citibank on the your left and Mitsui Sumitomo Bank on your right. Walk towards the Tokyu Honten and you will see Viron just in front on the right,” I explained.
Once you arrive you will be sure by the deep red storefront and the huge gold “VIRON” sign.
Are you ready for this? You can select your bread on the first floor and have it taken upstairs to eat with your coffee, or dip it in your coffee as I do. I know, it is a bad habit but how can it be wrong when it feels so right, right? Also, it is upstairs where the fun really begins.
A Haven of Classy People and Food for the Oshare Crowd.
Really attractive staff dressed in long black aprons tied low over black trousers, crisp white shirts and black bow ties, bring over the chalked-in “Lunch Specials” board for you to consider. The space is open but the deep red booths provide privacy and a sense of being separate even when the other customer is sitting right next door. There is also a high counter where you can sit and admire the nice gentleman expertly putting together tasty pots of natural herb tea or various fruit drinks.
The staff stop by the table often to check if everything is all right, fill up your water glass and yes, take all your orders in French. So here I am, an American who orders in Japanese, and lo and behold, the waiter is communicating my order in perfect French! Tres Bon!
Viron is a graceful moment of quiet and happy cuisine in the heart of one of Tokyo’s most wild, young and trendy areas. So all you grown-ups and all you grown-up-at-heart, stop by Viron for a little bit of Oshare Heaven in Shibuya.
Former Deep Japan Writer