Marulilu is a Japanese style western cafe.
I've been here a few times and although this is a cute little Japanese hole-in-the-wall and the menu is authentic, it seems to be missing something. I think it's taste. I found the food just okay. Kind of bland. I've had the Japanese breakfast which the cooked egg, fish, pickles, miso and natto and it just wasn't very great. Tenhachi on West 12th had the same breakfast and it was very very good but they've moved...
Anyways, I hope Marulilu can make a go because we need more of these non-sushi Japanese places. Good Luck and Gambatte !!
This cafe is all hype and no substance.
I ordered the rice burgers. It was basically old pan fried rice shaped into burger buns with kimchi or beef and mushroom filling in between.
You order and pay at the counter and they will bring the food to you. It took a while for the food to come and some people at our table had to wait for a long time before the rest of the food arrived.
It's really poor value if you consider the quantity. They don't give you a lot of food at all. The rice burgers had a diameter of around 3.5 inches.
They had nice chairs and the cafe itself was nicely decorated. I don't understand why the servers don't just take your orders at the table, because that's the impression you get when you walk in. This place seems to have an identity crisis - is it a cafeteria or a cafe?
I won't be back.
This place is such an oddity - the food they serve is at times mediocre, such as the Japanese lunch which is reminiscent of airplane or cafeteria food (if you lived in Japan), but for some reason, has a certain appeal to it.
Everything we tried, from the rice dishes to the Western meals were all perfectly fine, nothing to complain about, and decent pricing. But nothing outstanding either. Yet combined with incredibly sweet staff, charming atmosphere and just the Japanese-ness of it all, I will definitely be coming back.
Okay, so this little place is not exactly what you'd think. Is it Japanese? Well, sort of. I mean it seems the proprietors and cooks seem to be. Does it serve Japanese food? Hmmm...
Some. There's a Japanese-style breakfast, just like you'd get in all sorts of mid-priced traveller's hotels over Japan. There's omelete rice, there's a tonkatsu sandwich. And that's about it. On the non-western side, you get the usual assortment of soups, sandwiches and what not.
We sprang for the Japanese style breakfast and the tonkatsu sandwich. The breakfast, well, it's alright. Just as I remember I might get from the cheapy business hotels. The tokatsu sandwich? Came with good soup (was a chowder) and it was pretty tasty. It was not on the level of Bonqula good, but then again, it is also about half the price.
The place is spotless and well decorated, the staff was very friendly and efficient, though the cafe was hardly full when we came in.
I wouldn't say there is anything special that would make it worth a trip out here, but if you're in the neighbourhood and need a fast breakfast or light meal, they do a pretty good job. You'd do better here than hitting most places within a block or 2 of this thing. Recommended, but not a for a special trip.
I've heard of this place from a food blogger but I didn't think much of it. The foodie was reviewing about their Jap style breakfast which I have no interest of. Then one day I was near by so I decided to try this place out. They have their cute sandwich board posted on the sidewalk and it's nice to see what their daily specials are. They basically offer Jap or Western style breakfast (all day, which is awesome), waffles (yummy), rice, udon, Jap style pancakes, sandwich, muffins, etc. As for drinks, they have coffee, tea and my favorite white chocolate matcha (is to die for). Oh yeah, they also serve alcohol like kahlua mixed drinks, etc. I normally order their eggs benny. Somehow I really like their hollandaise sauce. Can't explain why, maybe they're home-made? The people at Marulilu is generally nice and helpful when asked. They're all Japanese, including the owner. I really like them. Sometimes they greet you in Japanese too. A lot of times when I visit, which is once a week, the place is quiet because I go in at odd times. But on Sunday around noon, the place is full. You would see everyone ordering their fave breakfast combos.
Yes I recommend this place especially knowing that you're supporting small business owners.
The food here is 100% homemade-something of a rarity in a city full of restaurants that largely rely on freezer trucks delivering frozen food to be microwaved for the masses.
As a consequence there's sometimes a wait when this tiny cafe is busy but it's well worth it-the chairs are comfortable and the Staff polite and cheery.
I'm a big fan of the Okonomiyaki for lunch-other friends love the western style breakfasts but I haven't tried one yet although they do look delicious.
It's amusing to see people puzzling over the blackboard with it's extensive hand written menu on the sidewalk outside-if they only knew what they were missing.
We had a great experience the first time we dined at this place. The food was simply delicious that we decided to come back two weeks later. Alas, the second visit was spoilt by poor services. We were lining up outside for almost 15 minutes, when suddenly another couple came just after a table was available. The server did not even asked who were first in line and simply let the other couple have the table ahead of us. Fortunately, there was another table made available soon. Halfway through our meal, the server asked us to move to another table because there were 3 people waiting to get a table, and there was only a 2 seater table available. Moving to another table before we start our meal is perfectly fine but not after. It just ruined our experience and showed lack of respect and professionalism.