Akaoni, Sangenjaya (also HAPPY WORLD SAKE DAY!)

Happy World Sake Day!

Akaoni has a wicked name! It literally means “red demon” in Japanese. And it’s located in the wickedly fun area of Sangenjaya!

I didn’t turn into a red demon when I visited, but I got immediately schooled by the waitress when I asked if they had any autumn sake such as akiagari or hiyaoroshi.

“This is a namazake speciality store,” she replied smoothly with a well-practised smile.

Akaoni specialises in unpasteurised sake. This is definitely NOT autumn sake, which is pasteurised once or twice in order to mature it over the summer.

Oh the shame 🤦🏽‍♀️ I had no idea they were namazake specialists but fortunately… I love namazake 😈

I wasted no time in ordering some of their house specials (it seems they have direct contracts with some breweries) and I very much liked the Black Moon muroka-namagenshu. Later on, I also enjoyed Fukucho from Hiroshima brewed by a very talented female toji, Miho Imada. 🍶💪

As for the food… Well, all hungry stomach demons will be really satisfied. Even the otoshi (small dish served at the beginning) made an impression – one was topped with some kind of creamy mushroom paste that I didn’t quite catch the explanation for, but want to eat it again!

We then tucked into three dishes from the seasonal specials menu:

Ginger shoots wrapped in pork…with a gentle amount of gingery kick.

Lotus root, tomato and anago (conger eel) agedashi – deep-fried and lightly stewed. Unami levels were sky-high.

Clay pot cooked rice 💕

And I was extremely hungry so I was being an extreme lightweight and needed to eat a salmon onigiri too 😂 (I then got takeout ramen, gyoza and takoyaki and… Yes, I really should be enormously fat! 😂😂😂)

Mon – Fri 17:00 – 23:30; Sat 17:00 – 23:30; Sun 17:00 – 23:00

Obanzai Nana, Shibuya / おばんざい 菜な、渋谷


Have you ever been in need of an izakaya that was reasonably priced by reasonably healthy? Where the atmosphere is casual yet comfortable?

Well, Obanzai Nana is your answer…I’ve now hit up their Shibuya store (opposite BIC Camera) three times and delighted whoever I’ve introduced.

A good friend of me let me on this secret as she’s a big veggie fan. Nana will sort you out with veggies, pickles, grilled fish, tofu. Nothing is overly sweet, although I did order some grilled chicken once that could have oiled my bicycle for a year…

Obanzai itself refers to a kind of traditional cuisine from Kyoto, in which at least half the ingredients must be produced and processed in Kyoto, and be seasonal. Obanzai Nana is a very small chain, ironically with no stores in Kyoto but I guess they have plenty of obanzai restaurants there already… Continue reading “Obanzai Nana, Shibuya / おばんざい 菜な、渋谷”

Mini review: Andy’s, Shin Hinomoto

Sashimi yeaaah
Sashimi yeaaah

This is my attempt to clear a huge backlog of places that need to be on my blog! So…. how do you fancy some fantastically fresh fish?

Yes, Andy’s is all about the fish and is well-known on the Tokyo cuisine scene. The website proudly proclaims that this is a family business and that all the fish is bought fresh at Tsukiji Market (the largest and most famous fish market in Tokyo).  Continue reading “Mini review: Andy’s, Shin Hinomoto”

Review: Chopsticks Cafe, Shibuya (also in Shimokitazawa)

As I may have raved about on several prior occasions, I love Japanese izakaya, which are evening hang-outs and drinking places. Not being a big drinker, what really appeals to me is the fact that izakaya serve tapas-style sharing dishes. The food often has stronger flavours than much of Japanese cuisine in order to go with the alcohol. So I often happily leave rubbing my food baby belly, leaving a trail of garlic fumes in my wake… Continue reading “Review: Chopsticks Cafe, Shibuya (also in Shimokitazawa)”

Konnichiwa, Japan!

Sushi chef
Sushi chef

I’ve had several requests and so here it is… I present to you the return of the Pheebz in Japan blog, added as a new category to Pheebz Eatz (because occasionally I do things other than eat, rare though that is… And to reassure you, there are lots of food pics and info below). I am lucky enough to have been awarded a Daiwa Scholarship and so I will be spending the next 19 months studying and working in Japan.

My arrival in Japan didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. I travel a lot and seem to be searched more often than not. Today’s searching was on the UK side, however, as security told me my pots of jewellery in my rucksack were too dense to show up on the Xray, which led to the tedious incident of tiny pots of (junk) jewellery being opened and examined with care. On arriving in Dubai over the summer, security saw fit to pull me aside and search my belongings (presumably for drugs), which entailed waving my knickers in the air. I wish I were joking.

Continue reading “Konnichiwa, Japan!”

Food of the Gods….(or maybe just my favourite izakaya)

Yes, it’s time to introduce you to my favourite izakaya in Kyoto and to a casually racist costume.

The story starts in Osaka, where we had taken our friend Tom on a sightseeing trip. I crave the modern aesthetic Osaka exudes – at least in comparison to the Kyoto – and so we had to stop by the Umeda Sky Building, designed by Hiroshi Hara.

Umeda Sky Building

I would love to teeter my along those high elevated walkways but didn’t have the time nor money. Fortunately, Hiroshi designed the Kyoto Station building as well, where I can happily wander an elevated walkway for free, giving me a great view over Kyoto.

Let’s move on from architecture and arrive at…..party costumes. Yes, party costumes are a BIG thing in Japan, and you’ve probably come across blog posts mocking showcasing them before. To illustrate how culturally integrated costumes are, I’ll give you an example from two weeks ago. I was casually climbing the stairs in the Kyoto City International Foundation and noticed a wedding function in the restaurant. Then, two men appeared clad in red shiny bodysuits. Why was security not seizing them and throwing them out? Well, they were the wedding entertainment. They certainly entertained me.

However, I wasn’t quite sure about the following.

Lady suit

This is a “Lady Bodysuit”. The only thing that screams “lady” at me is the word “lady” on the packaging. Weirdest costume of the day award goes to the casually raciest “I’m a foreigner” face appendage set!


Big round of applause.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the true star of this blog post.

The place: Sumika
The food:  Japanese izakaya style

Sumika counter seating

We arrived at Sumika at 10.45pm. And we were ravenous. Having been to see the Hikari Renaissance lights and realising they were unspectacular, we found ourselves in an area with nowhere to eat, except Zawatami, and I wasn’t going there again. Thus, we hopped on the train and arrived in a state of desperation. But I’d been to Sumika before and I knew the food was amazing.

Sumika is on a basement floor and has a faux cave interior which makes it intimate and shadowy. It’s relaxed and always popular (at least, when I’ve visited on weekend nights).

We flung ourselves down at the counter, grabbed the menu and devoured it with our eyes. In the next hour, we proceeded to order seven dishes each.

Now, I should say that this isn’t fine dining – izakaya food rarely is unless you go up a price-notch and downsize the menu. But Sumika does good quality food that is simply delicious. I guess this makes the first photo rather ironic, as it’s just chips. But no izakaya trip is complete without an order of “potato fry” and the beer glass in the background perfectly captures the atmosphere. All I need is a photo of our hyperactive waiter with whom Tom developed an ongoing joke: they kept bowing and saluting and grunting niceties at each other, whilst the waiter cried with laughter. It was a refreshing change from the often impeccable yet impersonal service in Japan.

Potato fry AKA chips

Below is the bacon and tofu salad and it is simply one of the most delicious salads I have ever had. The tofu melts in your mouth whilst the bacon provides a salty kick and substance. The dressing is fresh and light. The whole dish is addictive; we ordered at least two of these. I guarantee you don’t need to like tofu to order it. In fact, you don’t even need to like bacon either because it’s very easy to pick out (the veggie among us is well-practised at this).

Bacon and tofu salad

Another star dish of the evening was the fried pumpkin with cream cheese. The combination of flavours was exquisite and at only 200円 a plate, I thought this was all too good to be true.

Pumpkin and cream cheese - divine!

Below is a selection of the other dishes we enjoyed, including plenty of yakitori – grilled chicken on sticks.

Seasonal vegetable salad

Chicken and plum meatballs

"Roast beef"

Cheese and bacon mochi (rice cakes)

Don't judge me! It was for the veggie!

Yakitori - chicken and leek

Thai spring rolls

Final mentions goes to the pudding. A giant crepe filled with ice-cream and covered in chocolate sauce. Could easily feed two. But I’m greedy so it only feeds me.

Mega crepe!

Overall 5/5

Give me more. Great food. Great service. Great atmosphere. Great for small parties, great for larger parties. Great for everything. 

Food quality 4/5 – Delicious and well-thought out flavour combinations.

Value for money 4/5 – For the quality, it’s exceptional value. We paid ~3500円 each for seven dishes each and several drinks.

Atmosphere  5/5 – Intimate yet open; busy but not noisy.A place where you want to eat and drink FOREVER. Or at least to you’re on the uncomfortable side of full

Service 5/5 – A waiter that you can have a laugh with? It’s a winner!

How to find it:

Sumika is located on Kiyamachi, just south of Sanjo-dori.

Maps can be found here and here.


The evening didn’t end there. Fuelled on fine food, we did the only logical thing and sang karaoke until 2am.

Yes, let me pretend to sing by opening my mouth as wide as possible.