Greenery Otonaka-dori Ten: Where art and smoothies collide
The humble smoothie is, in a way, the perfect food for the modern individual. Blissfully simple to make and eat, fast and portable—it can be healthy or delicious and sometimes both. A truly adaptable Swiss army knife of the morning kitchen but never in my morning stupor have I ever thought to make my smoothies beautiful. Luckily for me, the artistic smoothie and smoothie bowl trend has finally reached my local area in Kobe (神戸) of Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県 Hyōgo-ken) at Greenery Otonaka-dori Ten (Greenery 乙仲通り店 ).
(Image credit: Eugene Lee)
Greenery has in many ways embraced modernism even in a generally conservative country. The shop has an interesting selection of products such as: vegan artistic smoothies and smoothie bowls; fruit filled scones and chocolate cakes; and CBD balms for muscle pain.
Hallmark of any small private business: a handwritten menu. (Image credit: Eugene Lee)
For my first visit to the shop, I decided on a Pink Dragon smoothie (¥1,020), a Mermaid Lagoon smoothie bowl (¥1,200), and two types of scones—cashew and white chocolate (¥350), and pineapple and coconut (¥300) for my representative smorgasbord of vegan delights.
An artistic breakfast (Image credit: Eugene Lee).
One side note but one that is truly appreciated from a writer’s perspective is that the shop owner embraced the Instagram-ability of the art form. He kindly called us over when he was ready to prepare our smoothie art and suggested the time-lapse video recording function for the best video result.
Golden brown and delicious isn’t just for fried foods. (Image credit: Eugene Lee)
On to the grub. The scones were fantastic. I have no earthly idea how a scone can be made vegan. The lamination of dough and fat (generally butter) used to create flaky scones seems incredibly difficult to reproduce but Greenery has certainly succeeded. The pineapple and coconut scone had a gentle sweetness and a balanced flavour that did not lean too heavily toward fruit or pastry. The cashew and white chocolate scone was equally fantastic and because the dough isn’t inherently overly sweet, the sweet chocolate and crunchy cashews offered great contrast.
Banana slices peeking through the side, flowers and hearts on top. (Image credit: Eugene Lee)
The Pink Dragon smoothie was absolutely delicious. Fruits come at a premium in Japan and the wide selection of fruits all complemented each other in surprising and wonderful ways. Botanically speaking, I am quite ignorant of whether date fruits, dragonfruits and passionfruits overlap in some regions of the world, but their pairing was fabulous. In general, I find chia seeds in food distracting but in this drink, they were well hidden amongst the dragonfruit seeds and a wonderful way to bulk up the nutritional content of the dish. Finally, the aesthetic design of the art was incredible. It reminded me of the colours and patterns found on Mexican folk art mandalas. Intricate dots and patterns traced expertly with swift single movements and flawlessly executed.
Waves crashing on delicious shores. (Image credit: Eugene Lee)
The Mermaid Lagoon smoothie bowl was also fantastic. Predominantly featuring a banana and pineapple flavoured smoothie, the granola, almonds, and seeds offered a wonderful textural crunch, while the coconut and berries had a fresh sweetness. Finally topped with adorable white chocolate seashells, and an eponymous mermaid tail to complete the scene. The dish was served in a rustic wooden bowl with eco-friendly wooden spoons and paper straws—absolutely beautiful to look at.
So often in life, we are slaves to productivity. However, occasionally we are deserving of a little pizzazz in our lives, a little art mixed in with our functional. The smoothie art at Greenery is a wonderful way to remember that as Nietzsche said, “we have art so that we shall not die of reality.”
Address: 4-5-6 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0024
Nearest station: Minato Motomachi Station (みなと元町駅)
Opening hours: 7:30am–6:00pm (Saturdays–Wednesdays)
Tel: +81 78-587-2620
Header image credit: Eugene Lee