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Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson

Articles (70)

14 best restaurants at Tsukiji Market

14 best restaurants at Tsukiji Market

Since 1923, Tsukiji Market has drawn crowds with its vibrant mix of street eats, colourful vendors, bustling market vibe and kitchenware shopping galore. While the inner wholesale fish market moved to Toyosu in November 2018, the outer market hasn’t gone anywhere – it’s still an exciting, fun-filled place for shopping and dining. Home to over 300 shops and restaurants, Tsukiji Market is a dense grid of lanes and interlinked alleyways just south of Tsukiji Station. Some require a little legwork to find, but you’ll be rewarded with excellent sushi, kaisendon, soba noodles, fish burgers, curry, sake and more. We’ve trawled the market to pull together our favourite restaurants and food stalls – so be sure to save time in between shopping to have lunch, and maybe breakfast and dinner, too.  RECOMMENDED: Best street food and snacks at Tsukiji Market

Tokyo Q&A: What are matsutake mushrooms, and why are they so expensive?

Tokyo Q&A: What are matsutake mushrooms, and why are they so expensive?

With their distorted trunks and grubby appearance, matsutake mushrooms are an unexpected contender for the world’s most expensive ingredients. Yet matsutake grown domestically in Japan can fetch prices that rival black truffles – about ¥15,000 per 100g (¥150,000 for 1kg).  Matsutake have been a delicacy since ancient times in Japan, and are a long-standing harbinger of autumn. During the months of September and October, when the mushrooms make their brief seasonal appearance, you’ll find the 10-20cm long fungi packed carefully into wooden cases, elegantly displayed in high-end supermarkets and department stores. The mushrooms are prized for their strong, spicy aroma, meaty texture and earthy, piney taste.  You’ll most commonly find matsutake on the menus of fine dining establishments like kaiseki, ryotei and sushi restaurants, where they are typically cooked with minimal seasoning to allow for their coveted natural aromas to shine. They might be sliced and served in light soups, added to chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), cooked with rice in the famous dish ‘matsutake gohan’, or simply, grilled over charcoal and served with salt and a squeeze of sudachi (Japanese lime). Punnets of matsutake are also given as gifts by people keen to impress their boss or in-laws.  But why are these mushrooms so expensive, and why are people willing to fork out that kind of money for them? For starters, suitable habitat for matsutake to grow is rare – they grow in the roots of red pine forests.

14 best cheap Michelin-starred meals in Tokyo

14 best cheap Michelin-starred meals in Tokyo

We know Tokyo is the best food city on the planet. But don’t just take our word for it – the metropolis has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants of any city in the world. As of 2023, Tokyo has 200 restaurants with Michelin stars – and that’s not even counting the many restaurants that were conferred Bib Gourmand status for their 'exceptionally good food at moderate prices'. While eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant is high on the to-do list for any foodie, in most places around the world, those fancy meals can really eat into your budget. Luckily in Tokyo, you can still eat at some top-rated restaurants on the cheap.  Many of these restaurants offer affordable lunch sets, which are often designed to give you a taste of the more elaborate dinner menu. Here are some Michelin-starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants in Tokyo where you can enjoy a meal without breaking the bank. RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in Tokyo

16 best street food and snacks at Tsukiji Market

16 best street food and snacks at Tsukiji Market

After a bit of uncertainty following the opening of the Toyosu Fish Market in 2018, the Tsukiji Market is once again one of the best places in the city to visit for street eats. Many of the market restaurants have food stalls out front, and the seafood shops sell samples of fresh fish and shellfish to eat on the spot. In the grid of narrow streets and alleys, you’ll find vendors tucked into the most improbable of spaces. Tsukiji is famed for its raw seafood offerings, but there’s also plenty of the cooked variety, grilled fresh to order, as well as non-seafood options, sweets and drinks. Stores open by 9am, so you can go for breakfast – and even wash it down with sake or beer, if it’s that kind of morning. RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants at Tsukiji Market

The 12 best bakeries in Tokyo that are worth your dough

The 12 best bakeries in Tokyo that are worth your dough

From soba to sushi, Tokyo's got you covered, but what about bread? A bakery might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning your Tokyo food itinerary, but there’s several compelling reasons for (at least) one making the cut. You can marvel at the extraordinary range of Japanese baking mastery, like impeccably leavened sourdough, light and flaky croissants, flawlessly dainty pastries and baguettes that match anything you’ll find on the streets of Paris. What’s more, you’ll get an insight into local flavours and unique concoctions – try a yuzu custard tart, a mentaiko furansu-pan (a bread stick filled with cod roe and mayo), an anzu (Japanese apricot) danish, a kare pan (curry-filled doughnut), and loaves woven with ingredients like edamame, shiso, black sesame and aonori. After all, bread is one of those foreign imports that Japan has not only adopted but also adapted, adding their own unique spin on all things baked. Here are some of our favourite homegrown Tokyo bakeries. RECOMMENDED: Prefer your dough with toppings? These are the best pizzas in Tokyo

9 best breakfast and brunch restaurants in Tokyo

9 best breakfast and brunch restaurants in Tokyo

The Tokyo dining scene is immense, with around 150,000 restaurants – and the most Michelin-starred venues in the world – but until recently, the breakfast and brunch scene has been a little flat. We’re excited to see more venues offering options before 10am, so we've sifted through Tokyo's restaurants and cafés to bring you this list of the best brunch spots for whatever you're craving, from chicken and waffles to pancakes, eggs how you like them and more – we’ve got you covered across town.  RECOMMENDED: Tsukiji restaurants are also great for eating out during the day

9 best soba restaurants in Tokyo – including a luxurious uni soba

9 best soba restaurants in Tokyo – including a luxurious uni soba

Soba may look simple but it's actually quite complex. On the surface, you have the cold soba, where you dip the chilled noodles in a separate sauce before eating. Then there's the hot soba, which is served in a warm dashi broth along with a variety of toppings. Of all the major noodle types in Japan – especially in comparison to ramen and udon – soba is considered the most artisanal of them all. Each soba master has their own skills and secrets, whether it be the sourcing of their buckwheat, their perfected ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour, or their signature kneading and rolling techniques. Some masters are even known for their purist approach as they make the noodles with 100 percent buckwheat; this takes a lot of skills as this flour is notoriously hard to work with.   Whether you prefer a cheap slurp-and-go meal or a more refined noodle experience at one of the top soba institutions in the city, there's a lot of options out there for every budget. To help you get started with your soba adventure, we've curated a list of our favourite restaurants, featuring both old and new schools of soba. RECOMMENDED: Check out Tokyo's best bowls of modern ramen

Best foodie destinations in Japan

Best foodie destinations in Japan

If we could, we’d list just about every prefecture and city in Japan as a must-visit for food-lovers. From snowy Hokkaido to tropical Okinawa, there is enormous diversity in the ingredients and dishes found across a relatively small island nation. But in the interest of your travel itinerary and your wallet, here are ten of our top picks, each selected for their original and reliably excellent local cuisine. It’s not all fine dining restaurants, mind you. These foodie hotspots have a good meal waiting for you on every street corner, catering to a wide range of budgets and appetites. From local markets, mom-and-pop izakaya and hole-in-the-wall noodle joints to department store basements and even Buddhist temples, there’s just too many things to eat, too little time. Nevertheless, here’s a shortlist to get you started. RECOMMENDED: These are the best documentaries about Japanese food

Tokyo Q&A: Why is fruit so expensive in Japan?

Tokyo Q&A: Why is fruit so expensive in Japan?

Any visitor to Tokyo has likely ogled over a ¥20,000 musk melon that costs more than a Michelin-starred meal, posted Instagram shots of gold-lined boxes of ¥3,000 a pop peaches, and tried to personally justify ¥5,000 for a bunch of shine muscat grapes. Shopping for fruit in Japan is more like shopping for jewellery. But why is it so? It’s a combination of factors. For starters, fruit plays a very different role in Japan. In many parts of the world, fruit is eaten as an everyday snack, but for Japan, it is regarded as a precious gift given to someone you want to impress, show your gratitude to, or wish well. It’s also common to be served a few slices of fruit at the end of a high-end, multi-course kaiseki meal. Photo: Elianna Friedman/UnsplashShine muscat, a premium grape variety in Japan This regal status means the fruit must be a premium product worthy of gifting. In other words, it should be perfect and blemish-free: elegantly round and rosy peaches; gleaming scarlet strawberries; plump, juicy grapes; perfectly spherical and fragrant melons. Aside from this luxury status, there are regulations on size, colour and taste set by JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperative), the national regulatory body, when buying produce from farmers for resale. The landmass of Japan is also almost 80 percent mountains, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for fruit crops. Many fruit farms in Japan are run by family-run or small-scale businesses, for whom fruit cultivation remains a labour-intensive

8 best places to watch the sunset in Tokyo

8 best places to watch the sunset in Tokyo

Watching the spectacle of a Tokyo sunset is a moment of calm in the bustle of city life, as well as a great way to explore new areas around the city. From spacious parks to high-rise rooftops, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite places for sunset-chasing – most are free, and some will even grant you a majestic view of Mt Fuji on a good day. Wherever you choose to go, make sure you head there at least half an hour before the sun sets to make the most of the dusk.RECOMMENDED: The best rooftop gardens in Tokyo

8 best patisseries and dessert cafés in Tokyo

8 best patisseries and dessert cafés in Tokyo

Tokyo may be renowned for its lively yokocho alleys, excellent ramen and high-end sushi, but desserts are not to be missed. Local pastry chefs have a knack for executing traditional French sweets with masterly precision, as well as infusing them with a local twist: matcha croissants, shiso mousse cakes, roast soybean gelato.  The desserts of these accomplished pastry chefs are a showcase of different textures, temperatures and seasonal ingredients, and also tend to tone down the sweetness to allow their natural ingredients to shine. You’ll find the stores all over town, from upmarket Ginza salons to uber-modern neighbourhood haunts. RECOMMENDED: Get more than just great bread at these Tokyo bakeries

築地市場で訪れるべきレストラン14選

築地市場で訪れるべきレストラン14選

タイムアウト東京 > レストラン&カフェ > 築地市場で訪れるべきレストラン14選 1923年の関東大震災をへて発展してきた築地市場。創設以来、にぎやかで活気ある市場として、多くの人々が足を運ぶ観光スポットとしても人気の場所だ。 2018年11月に中央卸売市場(場内市場)は豊洲に移転したが、一般向けに解放されている場外市場は今も変わらず営業している。場外には食事や買い物ができる300を超える、魅力的な店が軒を連ねている。 ここでは、タイムアウト東京英語チームが選んだ、定番の寿司や海鮮丼などの魚介類を楽しめる店のほか、蕎麦やバーガー、カレーなど、築地場外のおすすめレストランを紹介する。 関連記事『築地で食べるべき朝食11選』『東京、食べ歩きガイド』

Listings and reviews (4)

Bricolage Bread & Co

Bricolage Bread & Co

Bricolage is an oasis in the fast-paced streets of Roppongi, and one filled with incredible bread and pastries and the heady aroma of baking. The bakery-café is a collaboration between a chef, baker and coffee roaster: Shinobu Namae, owner-chef of decorated Tokyo restaurant L’Effervescence; Paris-trained baker, Ayumu Iwanaga, of reputed Osaka bakery Le Sucre Coeur; and Kenji Kojima of Fuglen Coffee Roasters. Ingredients are sourced locally and directly from farmers in Hokkaido, Shiga, Ehime, Chiba and beyond. The breads, however, are traditional French-boulangerie style but with a Japanese spin. Our favourites include the flaky, coiled pistachio ‘escargot’, pastry cream-filled tropezienne, anko-filled Viennese, and the signature Bricolage Bread, with its deep caramelised crust whose dough is made of ancient variety grains. It’s chewy, with deep umami flavours. The interior is stylish without being stuffy, and the atmosphere is smart but casual. It’s very modern European in fact, with its high ceiling, grey concrete finishes, glass panels and timber trims; the scatter of dried flower arrangements and cookbooks gives the space a homely vibe. There’s an outdoor deck with seating should you wish to devour the baked goods on the spot, but for a more substantial meal, take a seat in the restaurant behind the bakery, whose design is inspired by Namae’s maternal home. The flooring is over a century old, and it was salvaged from a house in Fukui prefecture, an area that lies above Kyo

Faro

Faro

The 10th-floor of the iconic Shiseido building in Ginza is home to some of Tokyo’s most creative and elegant plant-forward dining. Faro re-opened at the end of 2018 with executive chef Kotaro Noda at its helm, bringing to the table 20 years of experience cooking in Italy along with his Michelin-level accolades. His dishes combine the delicacy and precision of Japanese kaiseki multi-course dining with the soulfulness of Italian cuisine. For desserts, you can look forward to the inspired creations of Mineko Kato, who also trained in Italy. The dining room of Faro is a cool-coloured interior of blues, greys and whites, flooded with soft natural light. It’s upmarket but relaxed – Noda wants you to enjoy your time at the table, which he views as precious, inspired by the slow food culture of Italy. Both lunch and dinner are set menus, which can be vegan and vegetarian – or not, depending on your preference. Ingredients are handpicked by Noda and Kato, who visit farmers and producers who share their passion and vision for natural farming. The chefs’ appreciation for ingredients, combined with their understanding of umami and fermentation, ensures each dish is full of flavour – regardless of whether they contain meat and dairy or not. Noda’s signature dish is his award-winning jagaimo (Japanese potato) spaghetti, which is a textural extravaganza: tendrils of crisp blanched and crunchy fried potato in a dashi broth (non-vegan) or a koji-enhanced soy milk broth (vegan). Another stunne

Lanterne Ikejiri-Ohashi

Lanterne Ikejiri-Ohashi

Despite its highway-hugging position, the neighbourhood of Ikejiri-Ohashi has a relaxed yet cool set of winding backstreets, boasting an excellent array of dining options. The ‘modern izakaya’ Lanterne, which opened in May 2019, is one of them. Izakaya are often described as Japanese ‘gastropub’, which serves an assortment of drinking food. Mostly they’re rowdy, fun, smoky, dingy and relatively cheap. Lanterne, however, delivers on the convivial atmosphere and reasonable pricing, but does it in the hip, modern way signature of owner Chihiro Maruyama’s other venues (Aelu, Maison Cinquante Cinq Bistro and Lanterne Yoyogi-Uehara). Lanterne Ikejiri-Ohashi is set in a lofty space with grand arched windows, offering a view to the bustling street outside. There’s a cool, youthful vibe to the decor, the atmosphere is welcoming, and you can choose to sit either at the counter by the window or the communal table in the centre. The open kitchen serves a lively backdrop, where the young, friendly and energetic staff prepare the restaurant’s signature karaage (fried) chicken, as well as other beautifully plated izakaya-inspired dishes such as bonito tataki, fried noodles, marinated chicken liver and flavored french fries. Let’s talk about the kaarage for a minute. Just like its sister outlet in Yoyogi-Uehara, the karaage at Ikejiri-Ohashi are perfectly cooked large and succulent wedges, tender and juicy inside, crisp and golden on the outside. They’re served with a mountain of minced daik

ブリコラージュ ブレッド アンド カンパニー

ブリコラージュ ブレッド アンド カンパニー

六本木にあるオアシス「ブリコラージュ」は、シェフとパン職人、コーヒー焙煎(ばいせん)士のコラボレーションによるベーカリーカフェ。 東京のレストラン「レフェルヴェソンス」のオーナーシェフである生江史伸、大阪の有名ベーカリー「ル・シュクレ・クール」の岩永歩、「フグレン コーヒー ロースターズ」の小島健二の3人で経営している。 食材は北海道、滋賀、愛媛、千葉などの農家から直接仕入れたものを使用。 パンは、伝統的なフランスのブーランジェリースタイルに日本風のアレンジを加えたもの。クラシックな製法で作ったバタークリームを挟んだ「ヴィエノワ クレーム オ ブール」、上品な粒あんとザクザクのクルミがごろっと入った「くるみあんバター」などが並ぶ。 看板商品「ブリコラージュ ブレッド」は、粉と水、酵母と塩というシンプルな素材のパンだが、粉のうま味や香りが口いっぱいに広がるだろう。

News (52)

You can now camp right outside Baird Beer’s brewery in Shuzenji

You can now camp right outside Baird Beer’s brewery in Shuzenji

As much as we love the city, the outdoors are calling louder than ever, especially as we head into summer. Camping is obviously a good way to enjoy nature, but what makes it better is a campsite with access to fresh craft beer on tap. And that’s what you’ll get at Camp Baird in Shuzenji, a private campsite operated by Baird Beer right outside its brewery. Photo: Baird Beer Baird Brewery relocated to Shuzenji from its original site in Numazu in 2014. Four years after that, in 2018, it opened a campsite right on the brewery premises, along the banks of the pristine Kano River. The site was – by no coincidence, when you see the idyllic surroundings – also formerly a camping ground. Shuzenji in Shizuoka prefecture is part of the Izu Peninsula, one of Japan’s most beautiful rural areas, and it's just over two hours by train from Tokyo. Photo: Baird Beer Surrounded by a lush oak forest, Camp Baird offers soothing views of the mountains beyond. You’ll wake up to the babbling Kano River and spend your day hiking, cycling, birdwatching, barbecuing – or you could just kick back and relax with a book. However you choose to spend your time, a pint of craft beer will never be far away – just walk across the field to the Brewery Gardens Taproom.  Photo: Baird Beer Camp Baird has plenty of open space, making it perfect for kids to run around, and it’s pet-friendly, too. There are 20 camping plots catering to both campervans and tents. You’ll also find enough space to set up your own l

K5 transforms a 1920s bank in Nihonbashi into a trendy hangout with café, restaurant and bars

K5 transforms a 1920s bank in Nihonbashi into a trendy hangout with café, restaurant and bars

Flashback to Tokyo 1923: the Dai-ichi Bank opens in Nihonbashi, in a grand building with lofty ceilings and a decorative stone exterior. Fast-forward to Tokyo 2020: the building reopens as K5, renovated in a stunning blend of Japanese and Scandinavian designs by architecture firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. It now offers two floors of exciting dining and drinking options and 20 boutique hotel rooms. K5 is located in the former ‘Wall Street of Japan’, Kabutocho, which was once buzzing with salarymen in their power suits and generous corporate expense accounts. After the bubble burst in the 1990s, the area went into a drab decline as banks downsized or moved away, but the team behind K5 (a collaboration of local creative firms called Ferment Inc) is determined to reverse the trend. And what better way to revitalise an old building – and neighbourhood – than to fill it with some of the best eateries and watering holes in Tokyo? Photo: ©K5Switch Coffee Switch Coffee Switch Coffee’s third location (after Meguro and Yoyogi-Hachiman) feels like you’ve stepped into a small nursery that conveniently has a handful of small tables, free wi-fi and excellent coffee. Grab an espresso, a latte or, try something different and opt for a surprisingly refreshing iced coffee with tonic water. Photo: ©K5 Caveman Produced by the crew behind popular Meguro restaurant Kabi, Caveman cheekily calls its food ‘progressive Japanese’. Dinner is ¥9,900 for nine courses, with the menu changing based on wh

Five cool restaurants to check out at Eat Play Works in Hiroo, Shibuya

Five cool restaurants to check out at Eat Play Works in Hiroo, Shibuya

It feels like a modern take on Tokyo's famously bustling dining scene, but instead of the cheek-by-jowl street stalls of the 1600s or the cosy ramen shops of the 20th century, this new dining hall in Hiroo boasts 16 (17 come September) small-scale restaurants side-by-side. Called Eat Play Works, the complex offers a novel dining experience, with restaurants spread over two floors and a courtyard. The tall, slender building is fairly inconspicuous along Hiroo’s main shopping street, around the corner from Hiroo Station. Look for the street-facing Blue Bottle Coffee shop – the newest location for the hip coffee institution, which offers an exclusive range of coffee-based cocktails and Coffee Pale Ale beer on tap. To access the dining enclave at Eat Play Works, called The Restaurant, head down the foliage-lined path to the right of Blue Bottle and through the entrance. After a mandatory temperature check and a spritz of hand sanitiser, you’ll find the individual restaurant counters lined up along an alleyway. Each is uniquely designed to match the food offering, with a handful of seats overlooking the chefs at work, making for an entertaining dining experience.   The list of venues runs the gamut of national cuisines from Japan and Mexico to Spain, Italy, France and the Middle East. The Japanese food covers all the traditional bases of sushi, soba, tempura, yakitori, gyoza and more. Here are just a handful of our favourites.   Photo: Eat Play Works   Oxomoco On the first floor

Mos Burger is releasing a Dassai sake shake on December 28

Mos Burger is releasing a Dassai sake shake on December 28

Fast food chain Mos Burger is bringing back its highly requested drink with a distinctly Japanese spin, collaborating with Yamaguchi-based sake brewery Asahi Shuzo, makers of the highly regarded Dassai sake. View this post on Instagram A post shared by KO-Z (@koji_komatsu) Called Mazeru Shake Dassai, the drink comes with a layer of non-alcoholic amazake (sweet sake) at the bottom, topped up with Mos Burger’s creamy vanilla shake. Amazake is a fermented brew of rice, koji and water that’s often served at shrines around New Year’s Eve. It has a distinctively funky smell and taste, which goes very nicely with a vanilla shake. The Mazeru Shake Dassai will be on sale at Mos Burger stores from December 28 until supplies last. The shakes start at ¥380 for a small and ¥450 for a medium. If you can’t wait that long, there’s plenty of other amazake-infused food and drinks in Tokyo, like the amazake iced coffee at Engawa Cafe. More from Time Out The Michelin-starred Torishiki in Meguro is one of Tokyo’s best yakitori restaurants Japan, McDonald’s is running short on French fries over the holidays Shibuya New Year’s Eve countdown for 2021/2022 is cancelled At-Home Cafe is opening its largest ever maid café in Akihabara There’s a Snoopy-themed Japanese teahouse and chocolate shop in Oita prefecture Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.

サントリーが響と山崎の新ウイスキーを数量限定発売

サントリーが響と山崎の新ウイスキーを数量限定発売

ウイスキー愛好家に朗報だ。サントリーが『響』と『山崎』の新ウイスキーを2021年5月に数量限定発売することを発表した。昨年、飲酒店向けに限定販売された『山崎2020 EDITION エディションシリーズ』をまだ手に入れていないという人は今から注目してほしい。 Photo: Suntory 5月25日(火)に販売されるのは、『響 BLOSSOM HARMONY 2021』と『山崎 LIMITED EDITION 2021』の限定品だ。『響』は、言わずと知れたサントリーウイスキー最高峰のプレミアムブレンデッドウイスキー。『ワールドウイスキーアワード』では、ワールドベストブレンデッドウイスキー賞を6回受賞するなど、同部門では過去最多の受賞歴を持つ銘品中の銘品として知られる。 新酒は主な構成原酒をベースに、サクラを使用した樽(たる)で後熟させた「桜樽フィニッシュ原酒」をブレンド。華やかな香りとまろやかで調和のとれた味わいを特徴とした、桜の季節にぴったりの仕上がりだ。 パッケージはエレガントな桜をモチーフにしており、大切な人への贈り物や自分へのご褒美にも最適。希望小売価格は700ミリリットルで8,800円。 Photo: Suntory 同じく、25日に発売される『山崎 LIMITED EDITION 2021』は、2017年以来3年ぶりとなる山崎の限定ボトル。このシングルモルトウイスキーは、山崎ブランドとしては初めてミズナラ新樽熟成のモルト原酒を使用し、12年以上熟成した。フルーティーな香味とスモーキーかつ滑らかな飲み口が特徴の一本だ。 700ミリリットルの希望小売価格は8,800円。『山崎リミテッドエディション2017』のボトルがオークションなどで10万円まで跳ね上がっていることを考えると、早めに手に入れておきたい。 5月まで待てないという人は、今すぐ購入できるジャパニーズウイスキーのリスト(英語)をチェックしてみてほしい。   関連記事 『イチローズモルトとサントリー山崎が新ウイスキーを発売』 『ビールの楽しさに目覚めるブルワリーパブが五反田の高架下に登場』 『広尾のニューレトロスポット、スナック すいかで乾杯』 『コロナ禍だからこそ生まれたコラボレーション、芸者バーが大森に』 『東京、ベストバー100選』  

Suntory is releasing new limited edition Hibiki and single malt Yamazaki whiskies

Suntory is releasing new limited edition Hibiki and single malt Yamazaki whiskies

Whisky lovers – especially those still searching for last year’s special releases – have a new date to look forward to: May 25. It’s the day that two new limited edition Suntory whiskies are set for worldwide release, Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021 and Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021.  Photo: Suntory For the unacquainted, Hibiki is Suntory’s premium blended whisky range, which includes the illustrious Hibiki 21 Year Old, six-time winner of the World’s Best Blended Whisky Award at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards. To create Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021, the classic Hibiki blend is mixed with whisky aged in sakura cherry wood barrels. It’s the first limited edition Hibiki release, and perfectly timed around cherry blossom season.  Suntory says the flavour is reminiscent of sakura flowers, mellow on the palate, with a rich lingering finish. The bottle comes packed in a box adorned with an elegant sakura motif, making it the perfect gift – even if it’s just for yourself. Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021 is priced at ¥8,000 for a 700ml bottle. Photo: Suntory The Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021 is the first limited edition Yamazaki bottle since 2017, and it looks like it’s been worth the wait. This single malt whisky is aged for at least 12 years in Japanese mizunara oak casks, known for imparting complex notes of coconut, spice and incense to the drink. Suntory also says to expect a smooth dram with a slightly smoky finish.  The suggested retail price of ¥8,000 for a 700ml bottle mean

東京を代表する料理はラーメン、タイムアウトインデックスが発表

東京を代表する料理はラーメン、タイムアウトインデックスが発表

東京に存在するレストランの数は膨大で、気になるものを全てチェックするのは至難の技だ。しかし外食に困ることのない東京で最も、人気のある料理とは何だろうか。タイムアウトインデックスは、世界中の読者3万8000人にそれぞれの街の定番料理を決めるアンケート投票を実施。 その結果をもとに、都市を代表するアイコニックな料理の決定版が完成した。また、日本のタイムアウト読者からの投票も行われ、東京を代表する料理にラーメン、大阪を代表する料理にたこ焼きがそれぞれ選ばれた。 Kisa Toyoshima   東京に初めてラーメンが登場したのは1910年代のこと。東京ラーメンの代名詞、しょうゆラーメンの発祥は浅草だという。ラーメンは、日本の食文化史上比較的新しい存在かもしれないが、現在では推定6500店ものラーメン店が東京に点在するといわれている。安くてすぐに食べられるラーメンは庶民の定番メニュー。最近ではミシュランの星を獲得する店が現れるなどラーメンの奥深さが世界にも認められ、高級料理店と肩を並べるほどになった。 風味豊かなスープに弾力のある麺、新鮮なトッピングが一体となって完成するラーメンだが、味を構成する重要な要素と言えば、だしとたれ、そして油だろう。一般的なのはしょうゆ、みそ、豚骨、塩だが、どのラーメンも濃厚な塩味をベースにして作られている。しかし、上記のジャンルに当てはまらないものも多くバラエティー豊かであることも特徴だ。 Photo: Ubonwan Utachkul/Dreamstime   一方、大阪の代表料理にはたこ焼きが選出された。たこ焼きは、1930年代に大阪の西成にある会津屋で誕生した郷土料理。街を歩くと香ばしい匂いが漂い、ピックを巧みに操りながら調理する屋台を見かける。たこ焼きのベースとなるのは卵、だし、しょうゆを混ぜ合わせた生地。 具材はタコや天かす、紅ショウガが王道で、外はカリカリ、中はとろとろに仕上げるのがコツだ。最後にマヨネーズとかつお節、青のりをかけて熱々のまま食べる。今でもたこ焼きは大阪のソウルフードとして地元で愛されており、今回の投票でも大阪の食文化の代表格だという意見で一致している。  関連記事 『東京、味噌ラーメン20選』 『日高屋、冬の風物詩「チゲ味噌ラーメン」が解禁に』 『らあめん花月嵐がビーガンラーメンをレギュラー販売へ』 『あの味をもう一度? 日本初のラーメン屋「來々軒」が博物館で復活』 『ミシュランガイド東京2021が発表、三つ星は12軒』

Kabutocho in Nihonbashi is reinventing itself with hip new restaurants and bars

Kabutocho in Nihonbashi is reinventing itself with hip new restaurants and bars

The former Wall Street of Tokyo might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a hip new food and drink destination, but that’s exactly what is taking shape in Kabutocho.  Right by Nihonbashi Station, Kabutocho flourished in the 1920s as Tokyo’s centre of commerce and was home to the country’s first modern bank. Last October, the long-retired Dai-ichi Bank building reopened as the stylish K5 Hotel complex, housing two bars, a coffee shop and a restaurant.  That was just the first step in a three-stage revitalisation project led by Heiwa Real Estate. And now, the second phase of the plan is complete, with five new venues opening just a short walk from the K5 Hotel. There’s a vibrant mix of dining and drinking options from Japan and abroad.   Photo: Stirling ElmendorfEase Ease Ease is a dream for dessert-lovers: a patisserie and bakery with counter seats where you can dine in and watch sweets being made by owner-chef, Keisuke Oyama. He combines traditional treats with a modern twist, and you'll love his mango-shiso mousse cake and matcha-cassis financiers.  Photo: Stirling Elmendorf Neki Neki is chef Kyohei Nishi’s first sole venture after training in France as well as at Michelin-starred French restaurants in Japan. His casual bistro is a showcase of these influences, with a menu that blends Japanese and French flavours and techniques while showcasing local seasonal produce. Photo: Kisa Toyoshima Human Nature and Stockholm Roast This two-in-one collabor

Ramen is Tokyo's most iconic dish as voted by you

Ramen is Tokyo's most iconic dish as voted by you

Every day in Tokyo, it feels like there are too many restaurants and not enough time. But what is the city’s single unmissable dish? The Time Out Index survey asked our readers around the world to vote on the classic dishes of their cities – and 38,000 of you responded. The results are in and we now have a definitive list of the world’s most iconic dishes. Time Out readers in Japan chose ramen and takoyaki to represent the country’s two biggest cities, Tokyo and Osaka (respectively). Photo: Kisa Toyoshima Ramen may be a relative newcomer to Tokyo’s food scene, first appearing in Asakusa in 1910, but it has swiftly become the definitive dish of the city, which now boasts an estimated 6,500 ramen shops. Compared with Tokyo’s high-end kaiseki or sushi, ramen is quick and cheap (around USD$10), but neither the pace nor price are proportional to the complexity of the dish, which even attracts Michelin stars.  The holy trinity of a bowl of noodles – a flavourful broth, springy noodles, fresh toppings – is extended by ramen’s two essential extras: tare and aromatic oil. Tare is the concentrated salty base (aka umami flavour bomb) that defines each of the four basic ramen types: shoyu (soy sauce), miso, tonkotsu (pork) or shio (salt). The aromatic oil adds the irresistible aroma that hits you in the face as you walk past your neighbourhood noodle joint. Photo: Ubonwan Utachkul/Dreamstime Meanwhile, in Osaka, readers agreed that takoyaki epitomises the local street food culture.

Tokyo still has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world

Tokyo still has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world

For restaurants in Tokyo and around the world, 2020 will go down as one of the hardest years ever for the industry. But, despite the difficulties, December 7 was a time to celebrate the resilience, excellence and future of restaurants, with the release of the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2021. Announced via the live-stream below, a total of 212 venues received stars – 18 of them brand new entries on the list. This year’s guide came with a significant change in programming: the awarding of Michelin green stars. This new distinction recognises sustainable gastronomy, such as the protection of biodiversity and reduced consumption of non-renewable energy.  Back in June, we bet on Narisawa and L'Effervescence – long recognised for their sustainability efforts – being Tokyo’s first green star recipients, and we were spot on. Both restaurants received the accolade, alongside four others: Quintessence, Florilège, Sincere and Lature.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by L'Effervescence (レフェルヴェソンス) (@leffervescence) L'Effervescence clearly impressed the judges, netting three Michelin stars to go along with that shiny new green star. Led by passionate, skilled and environmentally conscious chef Shinobu Namae, the restaurant received its first star in 2012, then two stars in 2015, and continues to evolve its exceptional blend of French and Japanese cuisine.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by 茶禅華 sazenka (@sazenka)

These three Tokyo bars made it into the World's 50 Best Bars list for 2020

These three Tokyo bars made it into the World's 50 Best Bars list for 2020

It’s the city that elevated ice carving to an art, so it’s hardly surprising that Tokyo is home to a superb selection of bars. And it looks like we’re on a roll this year – after five Tokyo bars appeared on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list, three have gone on to make the cut in the World’s 50 Best Bars ranking.   Photo: The SG Club   At No. 10, a big jump up from last year’s place of No. 24 – was The SG Club, becoming only the second Japanese bar to reach the top ten. The SG Club is clearly having a bumper year, being crowned Japan’s best bar in Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year, too. One of our favourite hangouts, the venue actually boasts two distinct bars: Sip, a sophisticated den with the vibes of a speakeasy and Guzzle, a more casual watering hole with a delicious daytime curry deal. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hiroyasu Kayama (@benfiddich_tokyo) on Nov 5, 2020 at 11:33pm PST Bar Benfiddich, which appeared on the World’s 50 Best lists in 2017 and 2018, dropped off in 2019 only to reappear at No. 40 in 2020. The venue is guided by the talent and direction of Hiroyasu Kayama, who has developed his signature apothecary-style libations over the past seven years behind the bar. His heady blends include housemade infusions and ingredients like anise, fennel and wormwood, many grown on his family's plot in Saitama prefecture. Although Bar High Five dropped significantly from No. 18 in 2019 to No. 48 in 2020, the respected bar was awarded th

世界のベストバー50に東京から3店舗がランクイン

世界のベストバー50に東京から3店舗がランクイン

東京にはオリジナリティーあふれるバーと素晴らしいバーテンダーが多く存在する。数百人にも及ぶ専門家による投票で毎年発表される「世界のベストバー50」に、2020年は東京から3店舗が選ばれた。 Photo: The SG ClubThe SG Club まず10位には、昨年の24位から飛躍してエスジー クラブがランクイン。また、今年のアジアのベストバー50でも日本のベストバーに選ばれるなど、明らかに好調な年となった。エスジー クラブは、店内に二つの異なるバーがあることが特徴の一つ。「シップ」と名付けられた酒場のような雰囲気の洗練された空間と、「ガズル」という昼間においしいカレーも楽しめるカジュアルなバーがある。 2017年と2018年に、ベスト50入りしていたベンフィディックは、2019年には順位を落とし、2020年には40位に再登場という結果に。バーテンダーの鹿山博康(かやま・ひろやす)は薬草を使ったカクテルを得意とし、アニスやフェンネル、ヨモギなどの植物を埼玉県で自家栽培している。 バー ハイファイブは、2019年の18位から2020年には48位に大きく順位を落としたが、「レジェンド・オブ・ザ・リスト」を受賞。ハイファイブは、上野秀嗣(うえの・ひでつぐ)のエレガントなバーで、ここ10年で銀座で最も尊敬されるバーの一つになった。 50位以内とはならなかったが、95位にはゲン ヤマモト、100位にはバートレンチがランクインしている。 「世界のベストバー50」の公式ウェブサイトはこちら 関連記事 『東京、ベストバー100選』 『激戦だがまだ間に合う、都民限定のもっとTokyoを賢く使う方法』 『ワーケーション促進を後押し、国立公園や温泉街にWi-Fi導入』 『Go To トラベルキャンペーン について知っておくべき情報』 『東京近郊、日帰り旅行ベスト10選』