Bars and pubs, Izakaya Koenji

While they can be a fun, if gimmicky, night out, Tokyo's theme restaurants aren't generally known for their culinary creations, and, unless you choose wisely, you could end up sacrificing flavour for entertainment – and paying a handsome sum for it too. It's a relief, then, to find that Haikyo in Koenji is doing its best to break that mould. As the name suggests, it takes its inspiration from haikyo (abandoned places), and attracts urban explorers by serving decent food at wallet-friendly prices. Booths are furnished with mismatched chairs, and are separated by graffiti-covered metal sheeting and haphazardly nailed planks, giving it the feel of a zombie apocalypse. Thankfully, the menu is in no way post-apocalyptic, although efforts have been made to alter some classic Japanese dishes to fit the theme. The Haikyo Pizza – comprising toppings of bacon, cheese and tomato on a mochi and egg base – is well worth sampling. The blend of egg and pounded rice makes for a stringy, puffy creation that balances the subtle taste of mochi with the stronger eggy flavour, and supports the toppings well. Healthy eaters will appreciate the fresh spring rolls, but if you're not watching your waist go for the decidedly more fattening fried option, stuffed with rich, juicy pieces of roast pork and tangy plum, complemented perfectly by the bitterness of the accompanying perilla. Wash it all down with the Haikyo lager, an altbier brewed exclusively for the restaurant by Suntory.


Venue name: Haikyo
Address: 4-45-7 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku

Opening hours: 5pm-5am daily
Transport: Koenji Station (Chuo, Sobu lines)
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