いらっしゃい!
...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 Lunch (34)

Monday
Jul012013

Lapaz, Jingumae  ラパズ、神宮前

We chanced upon Lapaz while sitting outside One’s Diner, supping on one of the worst G&Ts we’ve ever had the displeasure to be served. Oh well… that will be the one and only visit.

Lapaz, however, proved to be far more welcoming. A spacious, and curiously appointed interior provided separate smoking and non-smoking areas, a pleasant open frontage for street-side dining, a long, somewhat post-industrial bar dominating the mid-section of the space and a somehow outdoors-y feeling space to the rear. 

As well as the food and drink (robust G&Ts here!), Lapaz also serves as a shop (wares ranging from stationary to apparel) and a kind of drop in office (free Wi-Fi as well as public-use printers and copiers). The atmosphere was kind of artsy, the styling and décor positioning Lepaz as a designer café-bar/ dining space, and overall provided a peaceful spot for a late lunch.

The lunch menu was a little too limited, and the portions could have been more generous (after being offered – and accepting – the omori rice one expects to get a supersized serving, after all), but these were minor niggles. The green curry was delicious, while the taco rice, despite being tasty, didn’t really make much of in an impression.

Lapaz is probably best as a drinking spot, and provides reason enough to visit a little explored neighbourhood.

Bar - domintates the mid-section of the space

Lunch sets - good value, seemingly healthy, but portions could be more generous

Interesting decor - I'll have Audrey, please

Jellied chicken and vegetables - a tad bland

Soup - chicken stock, pleasantly salty

Green curry - delicious, chicken pieces a bit scarce

Taco rice - okay, but failed to excite

Interior - relaxing, with a touch of green

 

03-6438-9624

Lapaz

Monday
Jan142013

Toshian, Shirokanedai  利庵、白金台

A venerable soba joint on Platinum Dōri just a couple of minutes walk from Shirokanedai station, Toshian is both popular and worth a visit.

Lunchtimes are especially busy, and on high days queues are to be expected.

Not a large shop, the interior is traditional and sitting face-to-face with strangers is the norm. 

The menu is comprehensive, the service a little brusque, and the food excellent, although the tempura is of the heavy/ oily type rather than the light and crisp variety I’ve come to prefer.

Both the tendon and tempura soba were excellent, the soba being particularly good.

The tamagoyaki, seemingly a dish for which the shop is loved, was fluffy and sweet. 

Not the cheapest lunch around, but thoroughly enjoyable.

 

03 3444 1741 

Toshian

Saturday
Aug252012

Komatsuan, Shibuya  小松庵、渋谷

Komatsuan is a small chain of soba restaurants serving up “Tokyo Soba,” based on the traditions of Edo Soba, which is to say they claim to adhere to tradition while adding something contemporary to the mix, too. 

A visit to the Shibuya Tokyu Honten store for a late lunch found the place practically deserted, and lacking in character, as are most department store restaurants.

The menu offered range of set lunches, reasonable priced, with the soba and tempura set being well proportioned and tasty.

 

03-3477-4824

Komatsuan

Monday
Apr092012

Royal Garden Café, Kita-Aoyama  北青山

Conveniently (for me anyway) located on Aoyama Dori (Route 246) in between Gaienmae and Aoyama Itchome stations, Royal Garden Café offers decent lunch sets in pleasant surroundings.

Usually packed, the dining area is dominated by large, robust wooden tables which help create an almost “farmhouse kitchen” feel. To the front of the shop is the in-house bakery - lunch sets come with a small basket of bread, accompanied by olive oil and some leaves.

A smaller dining area is available on the decking outside, from which one can enjoy the local scenery and the marauding TV/ film crews that seem to believe that this particular restaurant is the only location in Tokyo. 

Hamburger in demi glace sauce – ample, rich tasting.

Spaghetti carbonara – tasty, but maybe a little too salty.

Spaghetti, all'Arrabbiata with bacon and aubergine - my dining partner thought it not the best he'd seen.

Stewed beef with onion and anchovy - delicious, moist, flaky meat. 

 

03-5414-6170 

Royal Garden Cafe

Tuesday
Mar272012

Krung Siam Attic, Jiyugaoka  自由が丘

For some decent Thai food in the backstreets of Sangenjaya, Siam Talart is worth a visit. Shibuya’s Chao Thai has cheap and cheerful covered, and features an extensive menu of well-portioned dishes and a beneficent all-you-can-drink plan. Jingumae’s Kaffir Lime is always a safe (but somewhat less inspiring) bet, too. 

The Krung Siam family of restaurants, however, has the edge. The Jiyugaoka honten is very good, the Roppongi establishment also comes highly recommended and one can only assume that the Kichijoji and Nakameguro iterations offer similarly pleasing dining experiences.

For a decent Thai lunch, in an interesting setting, Krung Siam Attic (also located in Jiyugaoka – on the Green Road, en route to Yamada Denki) is pretty good, too. Hidden away up several flights of narrow stairs, this attic restaurant is really a bar. Indeed, the only seating is along the bar counter itself, perhaps accommodating 11 at a push, and in the 6th floor terrace and sofa room.

The lunch menu features a half-dozen or so sets, each featuring Thai classics – such as ga pao or spicy shrimp noodles – supported by soup infused with lemon and ginger, nama harumaki and iced tea.

Aside from the fresh, delicious food itself, great pleasure can be found in watching the chef cook on a lone gas burner in the far corner behind the bar.

 

03-6421-3677

Krung Siam Attic

Sunday
Mar252012

Wasai Yakura, Kamakura 和彩八倉、鎌倉

For all of Kamakura’s charms, trying to secure a table at one of the many restaurants in the Komachi area at lunchtime is agonizing. Judging by the lengthy queues outside most, the quality is probably uniformly good though. 

After several failed attempts, my dining partner and I were finally rewarded for our patience with a spacious, second floor table at Wasai Yakura, a little Japanese restaurant on Komachi Dori, perhaps two-thirds of the way from the station to the Hachiman-gu shrine.

The Kamakura Prime beer was rather good, and certainly paired well with my sizable ten-don set. The tempura itself was light and crisp, the shrimps juicy and their tails perfectly crunchy. If any fault was to be found, the bed of rice upon which my battered lunch rested could have been more ample.

The kamaage-shirasu-don set looked great too – I certainly heard no complaints – and featured a sizable pile of the little white fish.

Worth a look, if you can get a table.

 

04-6761-3070

Wasai Yakura

Thursday
Mar222012

Cha No Ko, Jiyugaoka  茶乃子、自由が丘

In clement weather, taking a bench outside Jiyugoaka’s Cha No Ko and leching watching the town’s many shoppers strolling along the leafy high street, while sipping on an ice cold glass of Asahi Super Dry, is a worthy way in which to kill an hour or so (assuming it's too early in the day for Minton House's happy hour <5:30-7:30pm>). In colder weather, one is better off taking a table inside and hoping that the staff don’t decide to prop the door open in order not to “offend” the one deranged customer that opts to sit outside despite artic conditions.

Average service and cabin-like, woody interior, Cha no Ko is great for a pit-stop, but never seems comfortable enough for a prolonged stay.

At lunchtime, curry is the order of the day. Japanese curry – with little in the way of meat to add interest – supported by a small salad and a reasonable portion of pickles. Not great, but not that bad either.

 

03-3724-4962

Cha No Ko