Making friends when you’re an adult is hard, and it’s even harder when you go to a new country! Luckily the internet is a thing – I made a fellow vegan friend in Tokyo through a Facebook group and we recently met up for the first time. We both had a craving for カレーパン (curry bread) and after I told her I hadn’t eaten one since being vegan, she suggested we meet at Universal Cafe and Bakes.
Universal Cafe and Bakes is a fully vegan bakery and cafe that first opened in 2020. They now have two locations in Tokyo with delicious breads, desserts and savoury snacks. They’re also one of the top-rated bakeries in Tokyo on HappyCow!
I visited both stores in Tokyo on the same day, so if you’re craving some delicious bread and desserts, let me tell you more about them both!
Universal Bakes Nicome
This bakery is where I met my friend, who told me that normally a lot of the stock is usually sold out by now. But luckily for us, we had plenty to choose from! We were met with an array of tasty-looking items.
I’ve missed being able to eat bakery goods, so going from not being able to pick up a normal loaf of bread from the shop to having all these choices was amazing! But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little overwhelmed.
It all looked so good, how was I supposed to choose?!
About Universal Bakes Nicome
This store is the second bakery that opened in December 2021, in the trendy neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa. It’s the perfect second location that has a young and hip atmosphere to it with many cafes, restaurants and vintage shops – it’s also where this vegan burger restaurant is located too!
Universal Bakes Nicome space
Located on the second floor of a small shopping complex called Reload, Universal Bakes Nicome only offers take-out baked goods and drinks. However, there are a few places to sit and enjoy it around the shopping area.
It has a very relaxed vibe with the use of a lot of light-coloured wood, adding to the laid-back feel. It feels like a trendy ‘normal’ local bakery – Just everything is vegan! As it’s a very small store, there is only room for a few customers at a time.
Baked goods to-go
I decided to get two items from this bakery to take home to share with Jonny. I put them in my bag and kind of forgot about them so please excuse the state of them 😅
Curry bread | ¥400 (£2.37/ $2.95)
As mentioned earlier, I had been craving curry pan and hadn’t eaten one since being vegan.
I should have eaten it then or just should have been careful with the bag because, by the time I brought it home, It was slightly soggy and not as crispy as I imagine it would have been.
Although it still tasted SO good! The fried (would have been crispy) bread with yummy Japanese curry filling – Jonny and I really enjoyed it! Next time I think we will just eat it there and then!
Cinnamon sugar doughnut | ¥380 (£2.25/ $2.80)
I asked the lady serving what the osusume (recommended) doughnut was and she said this one.
The doughnut dough was amazing! Sometimes doughnuts taste a little like slightly sweet bread which is not my favourite. But this one had such a good chew to it, it had a bounce back… that doesn’t make sense does it?! Hopefully, you understand what I mean by that 😂
The flavour was really nice as well! The sugar was granulated which added a slight crunch to the doughnut. You just can’t go wrong with a cinnamon and sugar combination anything in my opinion!
How to get to Universal Bakes Nicome
Address: Setagaya City, Kitazawa, 3-chōme-19-20 reload, 2nd Floor, 10 sections, Tokyo, Japan, 155-0031
Nearest Station: 6 minutes walk from Shimokitazawa Station
Open: Tuesday 10:00 – 16:00 | Wednesday – Sunday 8:30 – 18:00 | Monday Closed
Universal Cafe and Bakes
As it was raining, we wanted somewhere we could sit down. We knew this cafe had seating inside so headed to this location- in total on the bus it took 10 minutes.
To get from Universal Bakes Nicome to Universal Cafe and Bakes you can:
- Get the bus,10 minutes in total:
Shimokitazawa Bus Station – Setagaya Daita Station
- Or walk which would take 17 minutes
About Universal Cafe and Bakes
This location is the original location that opened in May 2020. With delicious-looking and tasting vegan sweet and savoury breads and desserts, I’m not surprised that they did so well and became so popular.
Universal Cafe and Bakes Space
This cafe has a cosy organic feel to it with all its darker wooden features and warm lighting. It’s not a very big cafe, with seating for approximately 6 inside and outside.
They have an open kitchen so you can see the staff making new batches of baked items, which makes the whole place smell amazing.
They had a small section to the side where you can help yourself to cold tap water. They also sell coffee beans, pancake mix, peanut paste, candles, stasher bags and snacks as well as advertising small businesses and leaflets.
What I ordered at Universal Cafe and Bakes
Once again feeling overwhelmed by the choice, I chose the item of the day they were advertising on the board – french toast and ice cream with a warm oat milk latte.
French Toast and Ice Cream | ¥900 (£5.33/ $6.63)
A thick slice of sweet golden toast came out on a heavy iron hot skillet topped with Ice cream berries and nuts. It was delicious!
The perfect pairing of sweet hot toast with cold ice cream – it was so easy to eat I had to slow myself down and remind myself to not eat it all at once.
Oat Milk Latte | ¥750 (£4.44/ $5.53)
I was really pleased it came out in a proper mug, and a really nice one at that. It was a minimal, textured, heavy mug with a good rim. I’m quite particular with the mug and drink combinations and I really appreciated this one.
Sometimes the drinks can be quite small in cafes but this one was the perfect size! The oat milk latte was gloriously creamy with the perfect foaminess on top.
How to get to Universal Cafe and Bakes
Address: 5 Chome-9-1 Daita, Tokyo, Japan, 1550033
Nearest station: 1 minute walk from Setagaya Daita Station
Open: Monday & Tuesday Closed | Wednesday – Sunday 8:30 – 18:00
I’ve been wanting to visit Universal Bakes and Cafe in Tokyo for a while and I’m so pleased I finally got to go! They have an amazing selection of items with creative flavour combinations. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious!
I’m a sucker for sweet things but my friend made a very good point – in Tokyo, vegan sweet items are a lot easier to come by than savoury items, especially baked goods. So, next time I visit, I’ll be testing out more of the savoury items. Watch this space, I’ll report back 😆