COFFEE: Bondi Coffee Sandwiches, Komababa

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I’ve cycled past this place probably at least once a week for nearly 3 years. And I hardly ever make enough time to stop – which is a shame because it’s worth it.

Bondi Coffee Sandwiches is one of five stores in Tokyo, offering a similar menu focussed around coffee, smoothies and light meals. Continue reading

Review: Bon Gout Hamburg, Kamiyamacho (Shibuya)

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In Japan, one of the first things you should learn is just because a word sounds like a borrowed English word, or indeed is a borrowed English word, does NOT mean it is in fact that word.

Let’s get straight to the important difference between “hanba-ga-” and “hanba-gu”. The former is indeed a meat patty wedged in a bun; the latter a meat patty minus bread, often served on a sizzling hot plate with some kind of sweet sauce. For the sake of being easy to understand, let’s call them “hamburgers” and “hamburgs”.

It is my very professional opinion that the Japanese do hamburgers terribly, whereas hamburgs tend to be rather good. Continue reading

Review: La Taberna Alhambra, Madrid

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It took me over 35 hours to reach Madrid from Tokyo and three flights. The plus side was I got to hunt down noodles and night markets in China en route. But despite these indulgences I was starving by the time I arrived.

To make matters worse, little sister who kindly came to meet me at the airport was brain addled due her “sleep is for the weak” campaign. It took her nearly 25 minutes and several wrong transfer buses and escalators later to meet me at arrivals.

Fortunately, she had done some research (by research, I mean, looked up some decent restaurants) and she ushered me promptly into La Taberna Alhambra on the way home. Continue reading

Exploring Jianghan Road, Wuhan

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When I booked a flight from Tokyo to Madrid, I didn’t imagine I’d be dragging my suitcase round a night market in central China. But that’s exactly how things played out.

A layover of 8 hours in Wuhan forced my hand; there was absolutely no way I was going to sit in an airport that long when a 24-hour transit visa exists. An adventure beckoned.

Continue reading

Review: Shibasakitei (ramen!) at Tsutsujigaoka

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Shibasakitei / 柴崎亭

If you can walk away from a ramen place and not feel heavy and bloated, you’ve possibly found a good thing. Even more so if you’ve eaten tonkatsu and tempura only 2 hours beforehand. Not that I did *cough* *splutter* Let’s move on…

Shibasakitei is a small joint to the west of Tokyo, not far from Chofu. Squeezed in alongside the Keio line tracks, this store is a couple of minutes’ walk from Tsutsujigaoka station. However, it takes its name from Shibaskitei, the next stop west where it was originally located, but moved for slightly more spacious premises.  Continue reading

Review: Szechuan Aun, Yushima – Tantanmen

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“It’s like hanging out with a junkie. You’re already planning your next hit.”

My friend was surveying me with disbelief. I wasn’t paying him much attention though because I was bouncing on and off the pavement, and doing mini star jumps.

The cause of my happiness? Some really good noodles. What else?

As a matter of fact, I had eaten at Aun more than a year ago and had been itching to go back ever since. The anticipation – combined with the fact that I generally adore tantanmen – had elevated my mood to levels probably beyond that of normal human beings. I was also deliriously babbling about trying to go back the next day to eat more. Hence the druggie comparisons. I needed my next hit. Continue reading

Review: Tsuta – Michelin star ramen

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You’ve probably heard a lot about ramen – to be honest, it’s almost old news. Whereas sushi was the first morsel to whet the appetite for the fetishisation of Japanese food, ramen was surely the next.

As if to demonstrate they’re down with the cool kids that like to serve triple-cooked chips with a side of truffle oil to highlight that finer ingredients can indeed be used to exoticise the more mundane comfort foods we crave, the Michelin Star judges awarded Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, a tiny ramen joint in Tokyo, a Michelin star in December 2015.

As a matter of fact, Tsuta’s ramen actually does come with truffle sauce. And so it probably wins the Michelin Star Epitome Award. Continue reading