Review: Cafe 8, Roppongi – So many penises

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Have you been to the dick restaurant? is a totally legitimate question you might get asked if you’re living in Tokyo.

Cafe 8, in Roppongi, notorious foreigner playground territory, is somewhat infamous for its phallus paraphernalia, the centrepiece being an extremely large golden member. Move over, Jason, your fleece impresses me not.

The restaurant is part of a chain of  seven stores in Tokyo, serving up Chinese cuisine. It is particularly famous for the Peking duck. Which meant, when organising in a group an outing to this place, there was some confusion as to whether we were going to a “dick restaurant” or a “duck restaurant”. In this case, you can fully have your cake and it.

At least, that’s what we thought. Little did we know, the staff were going to try to take us for a ride – and not an enjoyable one at that. Continue reading

Review: Daidarabou, Takasaki / 大大坊、高崎市

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Daidarabou / 大大坊

I love adventures but sometimes I feel that I am a stranger in my flat, because I am home so infrequently. This weekend, I would’ve maybe tried to take it easy (I can hear my friends’ laughter echo as I write this….) but I had to catch a train to somewhere. Yes, had to. Let me explain… Continue reading

Review: Kaccharu Baccharu, Shin-Otsuka – the best Indian in Tokyo?

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I have had a lot of rubbish Indian food. Let’s not remember Moti in Roppongi.

There are a lot of places highly rated that I have found utterly underwhelming: Rasoi in Meguro and Dhaba in Kyobashi to name but two. SITAARA Aoyama was so bland and boring it was absolute joke, although they served possibly the nicest mango lassi I’ve ever had. Be thankful for small mercies.

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However, a friend insisted I tried Kaccharu Baccharu (カッチャルバッチャル).

“I also look at the rankings on Tabelog,” she told me. “Forget about a score of over 3.5, I always try the restaurants ranked number 1.” Continue reading

Bakery: Boulangerie Les Lis, Matsubara / ブランジェリー・レ・リース、松原

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I stumbled across this tiny little place whilst heading to a trial karate class. There is nothing more satisfying than tucking into something very tasty after exercise. And since there aren’t any seats, we had a picnic in the fresh air – all good for the health, no? Continue reading

Review: Noriya Shokudo, Oimachi

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Exploring Tokyo – Tenso Suwa Shrine

It can be easy to get into a routine and move through the city in the same pattern throughout the weeks. I find that I normally plan to go to a place to eat – head straight there, and then leave.

This means that I don’t explore as much as I should, take the time to wander the streets and see what I find. It also means that every time I meet someone it tends to be for eating. Although I naturally love this, sometimes I feel like I should include a few more activities in my life…. Continue reading

Review: Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, Nakameguro

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Sanpotei Tokyo Lab / 三宝亭東京ラボ

Japanese food has boomed in the West over the past few years. Not just ramen, but all kinds of stylish “Japanese” places are popping up, with polished wooden surfaces and all fanfare of fusion dishes.

Although I’m all for experimentation, I’m naturally a little sceptical  when self-professed Japanese food lovers claim that going to one of these trendy joints is evidence!

“Places like this don’t actually exist in Japan,” I say, trying my hardest to tiptoe round being overtly sanctimonious. “And, no, Hirata buns, are a Western take on Taiwanese street food, and no, they have nothing to do with Japan.”

But having visited Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, I can now offer up a different response. There is at least one trendy place doing experimental food in Japan. And, naturally, it does it better! Continue reading

Dining at Minshuku Baikou, Shimoda

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This weekend was what is known as a “sanrenkyu” in Japan, or in other words, a three-day holiday. Although the Japanese have by law 10 days paid holiday per year for just 6 months of service, increasing thereafter to 20 days, due to the extreme work culture – which, incidentally is one of the least efficient worldwide – long-suffering workers only take an average of 9 days a year.

This gives national holidays a particular significance as everyone can legitimately take a bit of break. Which means that every hotel in a popular can area will be literally fully booked.

Which means it is normally a terrible idea to try and book last minute.

Which is something I always seem to end up doing. Continue reading