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: 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: 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: 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

Review: Las Dos Caras, Harajuku

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When living abroad, you quickly identify your comfort foods. Something that you crave, that makes you think of home or your home country. Being an omnivore who delights in an apple with just the right crispness to the bite, I actually don’t suffer from any particular cravings until I smell or see the food in question. Going back to my home country of the UK, I go wild for toast. With thick butter. And sometimes with Marmite. The only thing that stops me from rolling in it every morning is that I might waste a precious crumb (no, you don’t find ‘normal’ bread in Japan…) Continue reading

Kobe Beef Luncheon- the top 1.8% of Tajima cows

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I want to be Italian. I hated potatoes as a kid and was fed endless amounts of pasta as a result. Italian food is wonderful.  And Italians know just how to make the ingredients sing. I swear they whisper seductions to ingredients until the food has no choice but to make love to your tastebuds.

I also have an Italian surname. Amoroso. I’m just meant to be Italian.

So did I want to crash the Italian Women’s Association in Tokyo’s special seven-course Kobe beef lunch at a top restaurant? Yes.

Did I end up eating beef from the top 1.8% of Tajima cows in Japan? Why yes.

Did I get to manhandle Kobe beef fat and watch it melt in my palm? Why yes. Continue reading