Breakfast, no one really does it like the Americans. It’s food, sure, but it’s also so much more, a social occasion that is recognized and celebrated across the country, providing inspiration for films such as The Breakfast Club, Pulp Fiction and (kind of) Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But ever tried to have breakfast out in Japan? It’s impossible. Here, breakfast has yet to become the occasion that it is in the USA and Europe and demand has never been high for early openers. Things are beginning to change however and, here in Fukuoka, we seem to be on the cusp of a breakfast revolution, with new breakfast cafes and restaurants popping up all over the place. At the leading edge of this is The City Bakery, which opened its doors on the 25th of April on the ground floor of Solaria Plaza, serving a mean breakfast in the ¥1,000 price range.
Perhaps fittingly, The City Bakery is an American import. Its first cafe was opened in New York by a former TV director, Maury Rubin, in 1990 and it has since expanded to three other cities: Tokyo, Osaka and now, Fukuoka. It prides itself on its fresh menus – always trying to source food locally and organically – and making everything in house. Within Solaria Plaza it has two outlets, it’s downstairs combined bakery and restaurant and its upstairs cafe ‘Bar and Burger: Rubin’, which serves the choice morsels from the bakery in full breakfast format.
Their breakfast menu, starting at 7.30am, consists of four set meals. The CB Breakfast is their speciality and is modelled on a simplified English Breakfast, with bacon (the good kind, thick cut and nicely smoked), a fried egg and toast. For an extra ¥150, the toast can be swapped out for the Bakery’s special Pretzel Croissant, which combines elements of both pretzel and croissant to create a unique treat that is better than both. A side salad and coffee/tea are also included in the set.
Their French Toast set and Egg Benedict set likewise come with bacon and a side salad served with coffee or tea and are everything you can expect and more. The Egg Benedict is beautifully creamy and its bread biscuit base is freshly baked and tastes all the better for it. The salad is fresh and its sharp vinaigrette dressing cuts through the taste of the fried bread beautifully, providing the ‘balanced diet’ element to the meal. Portion sizes are decent, though an extra slice of bacon wouldn’t have hurt, and will set you up well for the day ahead.
For those not fancying the fried breakfast option, there is also a toast set, with bread that is fresh from the bakery downstairs. The bread set comes with butter and a coffee or tea, but for an extra ¥30 is served with the jam of the day, of which there are three: Orange Marmalade, Strawberry and Apple & Cinnamon, all organic and all delicious. There’s also the bakery corner just by the entrance, where you can buy a range of muffins and pastries to eat in or take out.
Things get really special around 11 o’clock, when their breakfast menu also includes their famous CB Burger, fully customisable with options for extra cheddar, mozarella, pancetta, avocado and burger patties available. This can be combined with small or medium fries and various drinks to create the perfect brunch burger, sandwiched between a bun that, you guessed it, was made in house at the bakery downstairs.
Meanwhile, their drinks menu has a large variety, and while we don’t recommend the bourbon whiskey at 7 in the morning, its selection of fresh juices (kale, orange and grapefruit) are delicious and, most importantly, actually fresh, squeezed and made in house to order.
All in all, this is the perfect Cafe to start your day. With its sumptuous food and great views over Kego Park and the Love FM studios on the other side of Solaria Plaza. If breakfast is ever to become a thing in Fukuoka, then The City Bakery is a safe pair of hands to get the ball rolling. We expect great things!
Menu: CB Breakfast set ¥1,050, French Toast Set ¥920, Egg Benedict Set ¥960, Toast Set ¥480 (w/ Jam ¥30), Soup of the Day ¥300. Burger from ¥480. Coffee from ¥350, Tea from ¥390, Homemade Drinks from ¥460, Fresh Juices from ¥530.
The City Bakery Bar & Burger Rubin
Hours: 07:30~24:00 (L.O 23.30)
Address: Solaria Plaza 1F, Chuo-ku 2-2-43, Tenjin, Fukuoka
Report by Oscar Boyd
Oscar is a student from London, UK. He is a keen hiker and aims to summit every mountain in Fukuoka visible from his bedroom window. If you have any suggestions contact him on Twitter @omhboyd