Travel

There’s a Lexus Café in Tokyo, and This is What it Looks-and Tastes-Like

Intersect by Lexus is a must-visit the next time you’re in the Japanese capital.
IMAGE ERIC TIPAN
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You read Lexus and immediately think about cars. Well, we can’t blame you.

But there’s a totally different kind of Lexus shop that opened in Tokyo, and yes, there may be, on occasion, a Lexus unit on display. Plus the place sells the brand’s lifestyle goods. But it’s a café, and it’s the eats and the ambiance that’ll keep you coming back.

It’s marked by a simple and inconspicuous “Intersect” sign atop the wide doorway and yet, is still hands-down the trendiest building along the length of Chome Street, in Minato City, Tokyo. That’s because along the outside, wrapping the two-story building, is intricate bamboo woodwork by world renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayama.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

The beautifully backlit spindle grille-inspired screen can be clearly seen, night and day, through the clear glass walls. It’s such an eye magnet and what it does, aside from the exquisite aesthetic effect, is create a radiant aura around the property that makes it seemingly glow.

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The cafeteria on the ground floor has a counter (the kitchen behind it) on the right and a few tables on the left. Cocktail tables are set up along the middle for guests waiting for their order or those who take their coffee standing up.

Since the weather was cold in October, the staff kept stylish oversized scarves slung over the backrests of the seats for guests to keep themselves warm while dining.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

Affordable menu

Because its Lexus, you’re thinking ultra-expensive menu but that’s where you’re wrong again.

For Intersect coffee, which is exactly what it says on the menu, the Regular is only 370 yen (about P170) while Large is 500 yen (P233). Remember to divide the amount by two as one yen is just 47 centavos.

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That’s not any more expensive than your daily brew but these beans come from Norway as they’re curated by internationally recognized coffee bar Fuglen.

Sandwiches are also available, Japanese-style of course. They’re the small, rectangular type, but chockful of filling.

Further in is a compact but glamorous garage that can sub as an exhibition space. It has a huge LED screen at the back and shelves on each side displaying Crafted by Lexus merchandise that are made from the very same material used in their vehicles like bags, totes, cases. They even sell chic coffee-making equipment.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

If you’re not in a rush and prefer to dine in a more relaxed atmosphere, head on to the bistro upstairs. While en route, marvel at the staircase whitewall of auto parts—all 250 pieces from the LFA, LS, GS, IS, and RX.

They’ve got a more diverse menu here consisting of spaghetti arrabiata, homemade duck ham and green beans salad, linguine with snow crab in crab miso sauce with botargo, and the popular L-bone steak of Japanese beef with bordelaise sauce to name a few, and yummy dessert items like pumpkin pudding with ginger confit and citrus lemonade tart.

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The décor in the second floor has a more relaxed feel but all the furniture still follows the same theme. Tabletops are made of carbon fiber with stands that mimic the spindle grille.

Luxurious space

Lexus spared no expense either as our guide told us that the lamp above the dining table cost more than five million yen (P2.3 million) and the one of the couches was bought for two million yen (P933 million).

Even the books stacked on the three separate shelves across the bistro were handpicked by staff, one for the arts, the other culture, and the last, cars, of course.

While entrance to the entire building does not require owning a Lexus, there is a special space in this establishment that’s reserved for members only, the Club Room in the basement.

A multi-colored parquet wall made of different sized Lexus wood trim samples adorn the left side of the stairs leading down. It leads to a short corridor that opens up to the lounge on the right and the toilet straight ahead. I’ll tell you why the latter is important later.

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Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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The cave-like design is inspired by a cellar Akio Toyoda once went to near Nurburgring in Germany. The seats here are made of fine premium leather and tables of the same carbon-fiber found in the LFA, while tiles along the wall are cut to form the brand’s illustrious “L” on the logo.

The bar is stocked with just about every spirit your heart desires, including one you won’t find anywhere else in the world—a Yamazaki malt whisky blended specially “For Mr. Akio Toyoda” and even signed by Suntory Whisky Chairman of the Board Nobutada Saji.

Fancy toilet 

Now to the toilet. The reason it’s famous is because along its walls all the way to the ceiling are 1:43 scale diecast model cars—all 1,737 of them. And somewhere in there is an LFA signed by Akio Toyoda himself.

Membership details to the Club Room are scant but as they say, ‘if you have to ask…”

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This place may be compact, but it has something for everyone. It could be your first coffee crawl stop, or maybe a lunch date venue. If you’re dying for a great steak or to simply want to hang out in one of the world’s most exclusive man caves, this can be your go-to.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Plus, you get to enjoy the finer things in life—style, food, coffee, wines and spirits, and even a good book. A visit won’t break the bank and best of all, you don’t even have to love cars to do it.

For now, there are only three of these. There’s one in Dubai and the latest addition is in New York.

If you love fashion, food and automobiles, or even just one of the three, that’s a good enough reason to pay a visit to Intersect by Lexus – Tokyo.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 

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