Arossa Shibuya

I normally just update my Instagram & Facebook, but I am reviving my blog. Expect records of my absolute favourite eats that you absolutely should go to – because you wouldn’t doubt me, right? And watch this space for travel destinations too. The hospitality industry needs a lot of love right now.

As a starting point, it’s only fitting that I write about Arossa Shibuya, a small restaurant serving up Australian / Australian-inspired fare (yes, they have kangaroo). I can’t actually count the number of times I’ve been there. I would probably be embarrassed to know the number.

My previous office wasn’t too far away and if I timed it write, because Arossa is rightfully a very popular lunch destination, I could arrive, mildly out of breath, and squeeze onto a table just before midday.

Then, they stopped lunch service and I was very sad.

But now they’re back, and with a brand new menu offering to boot. 1600 yen gets you a starter, a choice of main (two pastas, one chicken, one pork and one steak dish) and a dessert, with your choice of tea or coffee.

This is a starter. Yes really.

The most important thing you need to know: everything that passes your lips will be brilliant. The staff are also warm, welcoming and accommodating.

For starters, starter looks like a dessert: an organic vegetable parfait comprised of carrot mouse that hides lentils, topped with consommé jelly and more veggies.

Last week, for main course, I chose their weekly tomato pasta – a delectable ragu topped with grana pedano. This week, ichibo (hipbone cut) steak from Australian beef with alshings of garlic butter and potatoes crisped to perfection.

Dessert was also smooth and well-balanced coffee blancmange topped with coffee jelly. Also sampled almond babaroa (Bavarian cream).

Dinner is around 6000 – 8000 yen, although that’s entirely dependent on how many of their Australian wines you decide to sample. I’m looking for an excuse to go, so by all means, invite me! In the meantime, I shall be a faithful regular lunchtime visitor.

Arossa Shibuya

Opening hours:
Currently subject to change. Please check their Facebook or call the store (some staff speak English): 03-3469-0125

Review: Bon Gout Hamburg, Kamiyamacho (Shibuya)


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: Bon Gout Hamburg, Kamiyamacho (Shibuya)”

Coffee in Tokyo: Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya


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 “Coffee in Tokyo: Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya”

Cheap Meat Eats: Gyukatsu Motomura, Shibuya / 牛かつ もと村、渋谷


Japan, having spent a good few centuries not eating a lot of meat, doesn’t always get it quite right. I’ve had steak so tough I’ve had to discreetly spit it into napkins (to be fair, this is also a very common crime in the UK). I’ve also had meat treated like fish. Sometimes this can really good – as it turns out, semi-raw chicken with wasabi is great. But sometimes, this is absolute sacrilege to the the poor animal that died. Thinly-sliced beef, with no seasoning, swished through water to then be dipped only in soy sauce can be dull beyond belief. Continue reading “Cheap Meat Eats: Gyukatsu Motomura, Shibuya / 牛かつ もと村、渋谷”

Review: Mr Bean, Shibuya station

Mr Bean
Mr Bean

Before you get too excited, I should tell you that Rowan Atkinson’s face is nowhere to be found. Instead, you’ll be greeted with a super-cute little bean, happily proclaiming ‘Life’s simple pleasures’. Continue reading “Review: Mr Bean, Shibuya station”

Licking Pikachu – the Pokemon Pop-up Cafe

Pikachu, I'mma lick-you!
Pikachu, I’mma lick-you!

In case you missed my wonderful piece on Akihabara News, I’ve recreated it for you below:

To Lick a Pikachu

If you have ever wanted to a lick a Pikachu, I can confirm that he/she/[insert your preferred gender here] tastes of mango. Yes, that’s right. If your childhood dreams of catching them all actually involved eating them all, you now can. Except, by all Pokémon, I actually mean mainly Pikachu.

Pokémon, which still retains huge popularity in Japan, has currently invaded The Guest Cafe and Diner on the seventh floor of Parco department store, Shibuya, Tokyo. Continue reading “Licking Pikachu – the Pokemon Pop-up Cafe”

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)”

Black Buns and Batman – Halloween in Japan

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween

One thing you can’t help but notice if you spend any length of time in Japan is the awareness of seasons and the seasonal food and products that come with it. Seasons seem to be set in Japan, regardless of the weather. For example, the swimming season runs from mid-July to the end of August, despite the fact that the sea is more than warm enough to allow swimming before and after this.

When it’s September, it ‘becomes’ autumn. This means a wilful ignorance of the up to 30°C temperatures outside and an excruciating amount of layers topped off with a thick scarf. For four amusing and accurate signs of autumn in Japan, refer to this article.

With all this love of mascots, characters and seasonal food, it doesn’t take a giant leap of imagination to move into Halloween food. So begins the tale of the black burgers. Continue reading “Black Buns and Batman – Halloween in Japan”

Furniture stores & sushi trains

I am becoming domestic. I may be typing this in a hotel room with wet jeans hanging off the bath and knickers dangling from door handles, but I like to think that I’m entering a new era in my life. I am on a Daiwa Scholarship to become fluent in Japanese so I can become the ultimate writer and culture journalist, bringing you all the latest awesomeness from Japan, and Asia more generally. This is the biggest commitment I’ve made to a career path so far. Not only is the programme a whole 19 months of my life, but I intend to stay for longer to attain the highest Japanese language level JLPT 1.

With such long term ambitions to stay in Japan, finding and furnishing a flat that feels like home is important. No more Poundland – or, rather, no more 100 Yen shop. I don’t want to camp. I’m in my mid-twenties. My home should surely have a little style and charm to it.

Then why was I a little alarmed that I jumped with excitement on entering a furniture store?!

Last weekend, one of our sempai (previous Daiwa Scholars) kindly took us on a house furnishing trip. As this clearly is a chore, the adventure naturally had to begin with a meal to fuel our energy levels and moods for tackling furniture. We ended up at Daikonman again (which I reviewed here), tucking into okonimiyaki. I can confirm that putting avocado and shrimp into the pancake mix is a VERY good idea.

Prawn and avocado okonomiyaki, Kansai-style, 980 yen
Prawn and avocado okonomiyaki, Kansai-style, 980 yen

Their yakisoba (fried noodles) with mixed seafood also looked pretty yummy.

Mixed seafood yakisoba
Mixed seafood yakisoba

Sated we stopped by a second hand store in Shimokitazawa in which we met this fine and gentlemanly polar bear (I’m not sure about his wife though). I also bought a floor length lime green mirror for 1080 yen – bargain! The Japanese don’t tend to like buying second hand so prices can be great.

Polar bears are HUGE
Polar bears are HUGE

Then we set off to Nitori, which is the Japanese equivalent of Ikea. They market themselves slightly differently though – it’s all about “total coordination”:

Nitori Google

It’s a little trek out from the centre of Tokyo, and it took us two trains and a taxi to make it there. On arriving, I felt overwhelmed. There were so many choices. Did I want a bed or a futon? Traditionally, Japanese dwellings are furnished with tatami mats as flooring, which are similar to straw mats and have some give to them. This makes sleeping on a futon on the floor not as unforgiving on one’s back as one might expect. However, the majority of buildings now have wooden floors, particularly in an area like Tokyo which evolves at lightning speed. But what if you hanker after the traditional, despite your modern surrounds? I present to you this hybrid: the tatami bed!

Oh look, the love child of a tatami bed coupling...
Oh look, the love child of a tatami bed coupling…

A key difference between Japanese homes and UK homes is the lack of insulation and central heating in the former. Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating and I do not mean “poor insulation and central heating”. I mean “There is no insulation and central heating and you risk losing your nipples to frostbite in the winter!” The windows are single-glazed. I wish I were joking when I tell you that I bubble wrapped my windows on the advice of my neighbour when I was living in Kyoto. And that I’m not the only one – check this article out.

One of the ways that the Japanese stay warm is through using a kotatsu. This is a low table with a heater underneath and a blanket which covers your legs. We found a very fancy one in Nitori. But I stubbornly refuse to see the comfort in warm knees and a freezing top half. As someone with asthma, a myriad of allergies and all-round pathetic immune system, breathing very cold air makes me ill. So there will be no kotatsu in my flat, just a very large electricity bill.

The perfect heater for warm knees
The perfect heater for warm knees

After wandering the aisles in a furniture-induced tranced for an hour or more, I eventually managed to pick a futon set, bedding, towels and basic kitchen equipment. Almost everything I bought was green: I believe that the second-hand mirror purchased earlier must have had an influence.

It was a major relief to learn that Nitori has a reasonably priced home delivery service, where you can specify the exact time on the exact day – unlike England, where sometimes you might wait in for the whole day in the hope that your item appears (no guarantee). I am getting my futon delivered by 8pm on the day I spend my first night in my flat. Let’s pray their service is excellent or it may be a very miserable first night.

After any shopping trip, a gastronomic celebration is obligatory. So what better way to reflect on our furnishing achievements than having sushi delivered to us on a train?!!!!! In this busy restaurant in Shibuya, everyone has their own touch screen menu and, within five minutes or less, your chosen dish will zoom along the tracks and stop in front of you. It delighted me so much that I can only imagine my fascination as a child. Watch the video below. For the record, I’m not stalking the blonde women – I just don’t have a clue how to use my camera:

Yet super-fast train sushi was not enough for us. What better way to finish the day than to whizz up to the 15th floor and look out over Tokyo, whilst sipping a yuzu and ginger cocktail?

Lights inside and our - fifteen floors ip
Lights inside and our – fifteen floors ip

We then raced to get to an ice-cream parlour before it closed, admiring donuts en route – and fortunately found that the parlour was closed because we may have been getting a little carried away.

It was  when I was waddling back late, full of food, pondering all the ridiculous events that I had lined up for the following day, contemplating booking a flight to Hanoi, that I came to the conclusion that “wants nice furnished flat” could definitely be compatible with “not grown up yet.”

And so I pay tribute to my parents, who have told me many times:

Don’t ever worry about growing up. We’re still waiting.