...an expat libertine with a penchant for sparkly dining partners, jazz bars and izakaya.
Opinions here expressed are not necessarily shared by any with whom I associate. Fault for errors and any offense caused is entirely my own.

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Entries in Hibiya Line (13)


Kokoroya, Nakameguro  こころ屋、中目黒

I first spotted Kokoroya some time last year, probably en route to Kushiwakamaru or Café Carat, and had been meaning to give it a try ever since. Part of a small chain with a handful of Kyoto establishments this one and only Tokyo outpost with its pleasantly understated Japanesque interior and Kyoto cuisine denoted an enjoyable meal, and a welcome change from usual Nakameguro haunts.

Seated at the long counter dominating the dining space, we soaked up the relaxing atmosphere, the chef’s recommendations and a variety of shōchu, the best of which (at least as far as my aching head could recall the following day) was the Nakanaka – an old acquaintance.  

The food itself was okay, but being a little small left us feeling hungry, and somewhat out of pocket. Not that it was bad, the various dishes just weren’t particularly exciting, and of those that worked there was not enough. If picking favourites, the nanoha with su miso was delicious, and then jidori karaage excellent (I could have eaten a mountain of the stuff). Although in season and thus hard to ignore, the takenoko was a bit of a let down, being less flavoursome than anticipated. And these days, after having being spoiled at izakaya such Monzennakacho’s Uosan, dainty little plates of even daintier morsels of sashimi are just an annoyance…

The service was attentive enough, even being overly so to begin with – food orders were requested before the first drinks and otsumami had been delivered, which, considering the relaxed ambience, was entirely uncalled for. Still, not bad overall, but best suited to a (very) light meal and some drinks, rather than a prolonged evening meal.

Otsumami of assorted vegetables 

The menu - Kyoto cuisine, delicately proportioned... 

Nanoha with su miso - a delicious accompaniment to iced shōchu

Sashimi moriawase (for two) - tasty, but not nearly enough

Open kitchen - great for receiving recommendations of the day

Grilled takenoko - the brazier was a nice touch, if not quite hot enough

Jidori karaage - the best dish of the evening, light batter and delicously moist chicken





Es, Ebisu  エス、恵比寿

Es enjoys pretty good, and generally consistent, reviews online, and I have it on good authority that the dining experience on the main floor is enjoyable. On this particular visit we ended up seated outside on the small terrace in front of the restaurant, huddled under a gas heater willing ourselves to be warm. The staff were pleasant, the open kitchen with pizza kiln to the rear of the terrace a nice touch, and the food reasonable in terms of both quality and price. 

The lunch menu provided all the Italian staples, and baskets of bread helped fill the corners. The tuna salad was about as dull as they come, but the corn and potato soup and prosciutto-topped margherita made up for it. Although no longer on the menu, my dining partner mentioned to the staff that she’d once enjoyed a cheese risotto there and had hoped to repeat the experience; the request was speedily accommodated, but the risotto didn’t live up to expectations. 

Obviously better visited once the weather improves if dining al fresco, but I’m curious to try the restaurant proper of an evening.

Tuna salad - dull, limp, uninspired 

Corn and potato soup - smooth and creamy 

Bread and olive oil - a simple pleasure, and replenished if asked for

Cheese risotto - somewhat bland

Margherita topped with prosciutto - moreish





Uncle Tom, Ebisu  ウンクルトム、恵比寿

Tokyo is dotted with these old-style Western/ spaghetti “restaurants” serving up antiquated Japanese takes on Italian staples and domestic creations utilizing all manner of seemingly incompatible ingredients.

Uncle Tom, situated a short jog from Ebisu station’s East exit, is one of the better known and loved of the genre.

Usually busy, especially of a lunchtime, the portions are pretty good, the prices extremely reasonable, and the pints of Yebisu beer very cheap. 

The atmosphere is redolent of a rāman-ya, and the interior rather 1970s/ 80s, complete with a collection of prints by John Lennon. 

The salads, although sizable, aren't prizewinners, but the spaghetti is strangely compelling. The asparagus, bacon and egg pasta was certainly moreish, and I have it on good authority that the cod roe and nattō variety is equally tasty…


03 3442 1934

Uncle Tom


Yakiniku Peking, Motosumiyoshi  焼肉北京、元住吉

A crossing on a major road somewhere in Motosumiyoshi (Toyoko line) marked by two imposing looking yakiniku restaurants on either side road.

Deciding between the two came down to Yakiniku Peking having more customers visible through the 2nd floor window, and the nice way the neon signage looked on a dark, humid, rainy night.

This atmosphere carried through to the shop interior itself. Clearly a relic of the bubble years, there was something “classic” about the place.

The tabletop grill was in a style I’ve yet to come across, and indeed, my dining partner informed me that the grill with which we were confronted was all the rage in the eighties.

The food itself was a little fresher. None of the meats offended, being tasty and reasonably proportioned.

The best of the evening was the cucumber kimchi and the tongue.

Not a bad restaurant overall, but no better than cheaper chain offerings, such as Genkaya.



Yakiniku Peking


Sen Ri Ba, Tokyo Midtown  千里場、東京ミッドタウン

Sen Ri Ba is a no nonsense Chinese restaurant, focused on Shanghai cuisine, situated among the cluster of eateries in Akasaka’s Tokyo Midtown complex.

Clean, tidy, and with an almost canteen-like atmosphere, a filling lunch can be had for around ¥1,000.

The chicken karaage set came with soup, rice, pickles, a minuscule dumpling and a small dessert. Refills of the already sizable bowls of rice were offered, too.



Sen Ri Ba


Krung Siam, Nakameguro  クルンサイアム、中目黒

Although intended to be an evening spent enjoying the cherry blossoms, the rain resulted in our seeking shelter – shelter offering food and drinks.

The Nakameguro Krung Siam is likable enough, although not as atmospheric as the Jiyugaoka restaurant or its Attic sibling on the other side of the station.

Hungry and thirsty, we opted for the ¥5,000 course, which included six dishes and two hours of all-you-can-drink frivolity. As far as party-plans go, the food was not at all bad, but the G&Ts were decidedly weak.

Spring rolls 

Sweet salad 

Spicy shrimp tom-yam

Shrimp fried rice

Shrimp noodles stir-fry



Krung Siam


Café Suns, Nakameguro  カフェサンズ、中目黒

About 5 minutes walk from Nakameguro station, along Yamate Dori heading towards Ohashi, Café Suns is a pleasant, surprisingly spacious café-bar that ticks all the Nakame boxes – postmodern interior, eclectic furnishing and packed with singletons.

Of a weekend, a handful of lunch sets are offered, comprised of salad, main and small dessert, followed by coffee.

My dining partner and I both had the bacon and mushroom in cream sauce pasta, which could be supersized at no additional cost and proved to be quite delicious.

(Interior shot nabbed from Tabelog.) 


Café Suns