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

Review: Blacows, Ebisu

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I got into a heated discussion this evening about burgers in Tokyo. I have yet to have one that can live up to Honest Burgers glory (see praise here, here and maybe here). Meanwhile, see Tokyo horror stories from Village Vanguard Diner and JS Burgers here.

So the challenge is on! First of all, time to clear my burger review backlog…

Blacows, Ebisu

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This is one of the highly recommended burger places in Tokyo, always making top cut lists. Their website is full of alluring rhetoric of how much care they’ve put into everything in the burger. They don’t just put bacon in their burgers, they put bacon from “enzyme-fed Chiba Nadeshiko Pork, abundant in oelic acid which has been shown to have positive effects on beauty and health.”

Yes, they actually imply that eating their bacon will make you beautiful. I have rarely enjoyed a burger webpage so much… for the wrong reasons. This webpage didn’t invoke immediate salivation but more like grins of disbelief… 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

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

Review: Brunch at Eggs ‘n Things, Ginza

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Before I left for Tokyo, brunching was a big thing in London. The most popular places would book out in advance – a personal favourite was the Turkish Eggs from Kopapa at Seven Dials, although they now seem to have sadly closed! Or sometimes I would sit outside the Pavillion Cafe enjoying a Full English whilst admiring the lake.

I’m pretty sure that brunching will still continue to be a big thing in London and that the UK hasn’t completely screwed itself over,  despite making possibly one of the biggest cock-ups in modern political history AKA Brexit (although do see here for concerns over food security and what the decision will mean for modern diet and health).

But through all the drama – including some epic political maneuvering and backstabbing – there is one thing that us  Brits do retain: an eccentric sense of humour.

So when faced with the imminent destruction of the political, economic and social order of our country, we can still have a good laugh.

Firstly, we can view it all as one big farce and read this excellent Buzzfeed summary of events so far (as of Monday, July 4).

Secondly, we can opt for the “oh f*ck that” attitude.

So I did.

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“Oh f*ck that,  Brexit shit, darling! I am going to brunch on a balcony in Tokyo like I’m absolutely fabulous. Darling.”

Continue reading

Coffee in Tokyo: Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya

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Right, I’m going through a lot of old photos that I need to put up on my blog… And here is an oldie from Streamer Coffee Company from over a year ago! You’ll hear a lot about them if you Google “best coffee in Tokyo” or something similar.

That, unfortunately, is a bit of a stretch. They’re famous because the coffee is pretty. Served in giant bowl-like mug that would be quire inviting for a quick dip if diving right in wouldn’t destroy the beautiful feathered milk patterns on top. Continue reading