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
Dec262011

Osteria Beverino, Ebisu  ベヴェリーノ、恵比寿

Open only a few weeks, Osteria Beverino is the latest eatery to try its luck on the perilous stretch of Meiji Dori between Ebisu and Higashi.

The space is pleasant enough, although at this time of year the vaulted ceiling doesn’t make for a cozy atmosphere. 

Lunch sets at ¥1,000 a pop were the order of the day. 

A pile of truly dull salad, and a coffee included, the mains were sizable, too. The Pasta del Giorno, essentially mushroom and tuna spaghetti, was immediately offered in its super-sized format.  

My dining partner’s lasagna received no complaints. If anything were lacking, it was soup.

As far as weekday lunches go, this Italian restaurant is worth a visit while it’s still in business. 

 

03-6427-3527

Osteria Beverino

 

Wednesday
Dec072011

David’s Deli, Mita  デビットデリ、三田

Not my usual stomping ground, so I have zero knowledge of Mita’s eateries. After visiting David’s Deli – specializing in Israeli, Mediterranean and European cuisine – I feel inclined to look deeper into the neighbourhood.

Located in between Shirokane-Takanawa station and Temple University’s Mita Hall, this Jewish Delicatessen is a bit dull when it comes to décor and ambience, but the food speaks for itself. The beer, interesting though it was, tasted exactly the same as Hoppi, so probably isn’t going tempt serious drinkers. 

My dining partners and I enjoyed a bountiful array of dishes, with hummus playing the lead role in most.

Pita bread is both necessary and recommend for mopping up most dishes. These were fluffy and wholesome. Way better than the tawdry stuff I remember back in Blighty.

Hummus with a kind if sesame dressing/ mayonnaise. Thoroughly delicious.

Yet more hummus, but this time the center was piled with strips of spicy meats. The spices were subtle and the meat itself lean and flavoursome. Could have done this dish time and again.

The baba ghanoush – mashed aubergines with olive oil and seasonings, was excellent, too.

Salad, vinegary and crunchy.

The chicken schnitzel pita sandwich was pleasant, and could pass as a Japanese chicken cutlet. 

A worthy lunch destination, should you happen to be in that neck of the woods.

(And a nudge and wink @Tokyoeater)

 

03-5441-1211 

David’s Deli

Tuesday
Nov152011

Daisuki Nippon, Naka-Itabashi  だいすき日本、中板橋

After being turned away from the the local kaitenzushi place as it was full, and then taking a wrong turn and missing the raman shop, my dining partner and I almost ambled passed Daisuki Nippon (no points for the name) without noticing it. 

The fresh, spicy-sweet aroma caught our attention. Not much to look at from the outside save, perhaps, that kind of bare bones, “it might not be much but we love it” appearance, upon peering through the door the packed tables promised a decent Nepalese lunch. 

Clean, simple and cheerful, the tables were all covered in clear plastic, beneath which hand written notes and messages from visiting diners were carefully arranged. Turns out people have visited from Okinawa to Hokkaido. Again, this promised great things and further reading revealed that many had popped in due to a clearly successful - and far reaching - Twitter campaign.

The master of the house, a muscular, mild mannered looking gent named Bikasu, attended to our needs, proffering a menu outlining the lunch sets for the day as well as evening options and a la carte offerings. 

I did the Double Curry Naan, while my dining partner had the Double Curry Rice with Tandoori Chicken. Both were enjoyable and value for money, coming in at under ¥800 a piece. 

Although no at large as some, the naan was light and fluffy and not at all oily. The two small bowls of curry fine, but hardly divine. The chicken curry was a little too light tasting and the morsels of chicken small. The keema was the star of the show - less gritty feeling than some and flavoursome, the minced meat not overpowering the flavour of curry itself. All in all, these were curries cooked for Japanese taste buds. The less said about the salad the better. 

Decent enough for lunch, and probably worth a look for dinner while the 7-8 course meal for ¥2,000 coupon (available on Daisuki Nippon’s website) is in force, but not even close to usurping Manakamana’s Tobu-Tojo Line Napalese curry crown. 

 

03-3964-9775

Daisuki Nippon  

(No Facebook like button as the code is always crap and never works properly.)

 

Sunday
Sep252011

Tachikichi Gyōza, Shibuya  立吉餃子、渋谷

The gyōza at Tachikichi Gyōza are fantastic. Hefty, juicy and delicious, whether boiled or fried. Certainly in a different league than the rather paltry dumplings served at the immensely popular Harajuku Gyōza Ryō.

Tachikichi’s gyōza differ from the norm by not having garlic in the meat mix. This allows the flavour of the pork to come through. For those, like me, who love the taste of garlic, quite excellent garlic gyōza are available. The gyōza skins have a thicker more succulent feel than usual, akin to Chinese dumplings.

Prices are good – about ¥100 a piece, with discounts when ordering in sets of five or ten. A range of other simple izakaya classics are available although apart from the cabbage and shio kombu salad I’ve yet to sample them. Beer at ¥390 isn’t bad, but the glasses are small.

Friendly staff and customers – a nice mix of young and old, male and female, smart and scruffy – make for a relaxed, cozy atmosphere at this hole in the wall eatery.

Funky decoration and ornaments add some flavour to an otherwise plain interior.

The location works well, too; on Meiji Dori, just a few minutes from the east exit of Shibuya station over the pedestrian bridge.

The open front allows for a spot of people watching while quaffing beers and tucking into the tasty dumplings. Perfect for lunch, a light dinner or just a beer-break on your way to the station.

Update 17/10/11: A recent visit at lunch time revealed the lunch sets to be of excellent value. Three gyoza, along with some kimuchi, leaf salad topped with potato salad, soup and finished off with sweet tofu desert. 

My dining parnter ordered a plate of ten gyoza as an extra, only to find his eyes were bigger than his belly. 

Furthermore, a recent attempted visit revealed that Tachikichi is closed for refurbishment. From the glimpse I caught, the planks of wood clamped to metal frames that once served as tables are being replaced with purpose built furnishings. Great to see the place doing well enough to be more permanantly fitted out. Just hope none of the charm of the place is diminished in the process! 

UPDATE 26/10/11: Revamped and renamed "Kitchen Tachikichi," the interior fittings are better, the wall mounted counter-tops, especially, much improved. The playfully kitch deocrations are sadly no more, and with them much of the atmposphere has disapeared, too. In all fairness, Kitchen Tachikichi now feels like a blank canvas, perhaps more a work in progress. With luck, the young masters will add some of the old sparkle atop the new lick of paint.   

But - Honolulu starbright - the food remains the same.

 

03-3486-1269

http://www.tachikichi.net/index.html

 

 

Saturday
Sep242011

Cafe & Bar Square Hedges, Nakameguro  スクエアヘッジズ、中目黒

Nakameguro has plenty to offer – ever the more so as its gentrification proceeds. As such, Café & Bar Square Hedges has its work cut out for it. How to differentiate from the many other fashionably artsy, left of center café-bar and arts spaces?

The location, three blocks left and three blocks up from the bridge over the Meguro River if you head straight over the road out of Nakameguro station, provides a chance to stroll through rarely visited Kamimeguro back streets.  The café itself, all pale blue walls, white wood and airy ceilings brings to mind a beach house. As much Devon as it is Tokyo.

The shop front, dominated by a large window, provides a lush green view by summer, and by spring a little known cherry blossom-viewing site. Spread across two floors, by day the first floor offers a relaxed, comfortable and thankfully unpretentious lunch venue amidst an eclectic mix of knick-knacks, framed by a breezy bar and made welcoming by the affable attentions of the lady of the house, Ms. Nawata. By night the second floor is opened, offering a more bar-like experience, as well as a space for parties, events and exhibitions.

The menu offers simple, home-cooked dishes covering Asian Fusion, Brunch, Mexican, Sandwiches and Vegetarian categories. The lunch sets, all coming in at under ¥900, offer particular value, being comprised of salad, soup, hot or cold drink, rice and main dish. 

My dining partners and I settled on the Gappao, Red curry and Avocado salad (which, due to soaring lettuce prices thanks to recent typhoons, hot weather and radiation, was based on cabbage, as most salads seem to be of late). All were fresh, tasty and filling.

 

03-5489-8683

http://www.facebook.com/cafe.squarehedges?sk=info

Saturday
Sep242011

Best & Burger's, Iruma  ベストアンドバーガーズ、入間

Situated amidst the sterile environs of Iruma’s Mitsui Outlet Park with its plethora of stores flogging low to mid-level brands at bargain prices, Best & Burger’s (sic) was better than Burger King, but not a patch on Giggle or Blacows.

Weary after traipsing around what felt like an average English town centre, less the roaming gangs of tooled-up hooded looters, my dining partners and I were happy to find a seat, some beer (Heineken) and something to eat.

Neither the burgers (we all had Avocado burgers) nor the fries were much to write home about, but could have been worse. No matter – you’ll never visit this particular eatery unless you visit that outlet park, which, I assume, is unlikely. 

 

04-2902-5269

http://www.31op.com/iruma/shop/iru1280.html

 

Thursday
Sep012011

Khana, Nishishinjuku  カナ、西新宿

Khana is simply a small, rather nondescript Indian/ Pakistan eatery in Nishishinjuku 6-Chome, tucked away in the shadow of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, roughly halfway between the Nishishinjuku and Nakanosakaue stations.

Nothing much to look at from the street – if not for the menu displayed on the pavement you’d miss the shadowy entrance – the interior is basic, too. The TV, loudly displaying stupefying variety shows, dominated proceedings. 

No need to go out of your way to try this place, and certainly not for an evening meal. But, if you are in the area at lunchtime, you could do worse. 

For around ¥780 the various lunch sets provide a filling, tasty meal mainly based around a small bowl of salad (poor) and rice (average), light fluffy naan (good, but not Nepalese restaurant good – i.e., not the same size as a skateboard) and a fair sized bowl of curry, all served on a platter.

Two of us had the chicken curry, and one the spinach and cheese curry. No complaints, not much chat, didn’t last long and suitably fall when we left. The service was friendly, in Japanese or English. 

The website shows lunch sets consisting of more than they actually do.

 

03-3344-8622

http://www.khana-potohar.com/khana_nishisinjyuku.php