Great sake at great prices is the simple rallying cry at Plat Stand Moto, which has become an essential destination for nihonshu fans in Kichijoji since opening in spring 2013. An offshoot of Shinjuku’s famed Moto, a well-known shrine to Japan’s best-known native beverage, it has undergone quite a few changes during the past four years. The initial self-service, cash on delivery concept was ditched first, and a recent renovation saw the stand bar abolished entirely – despite its name, this spot is now an all-seater with space for just under 20 drinkers. That’s not to say any of its charm has been lost, as evidenced by the steady stream of sake enthusiasts stopping by throughout the day, every day.
You’ll find a plentiful but closely curated selection of nihonshu from all over the country on offer, alongside a few fruitier drinks such as umeshu and sweet liqueurs. If you're not sure what to order, ask for the day's special and tell the staff whether you prefer dry or sweet – they'll select a sake for you. Highlights on our most recent visit included a pleasantly crisp Kamo Kinshu junmai daiginjo from Hiroshima and several excellent varieties from the Igarashi brewery in Saitama’s Hanno. As for edibles, you’re best off choosing from the daily specials on the blackboard; we liked the french fries with snow crab in tomato sauce, the homemade menchikatsu with a creamy coriander sauce, and the superb raw oysters. Whether you’re a rice brew beginner or a seasoned boozehound makes no difference: a good time at Moto is pretty much guaranteed. Just make sure to pace yourself, as you’ll want to try everything as the evening ticks along.