The Bellwood Lab
Time Out says
Shibuya’s kissaten-inspired cocktail bar The Bellwood has opened up its mysterious back room for a series of special events. To get to The Bellwood Lab, you walk through the cosy dark wood panelled bar to a smaller, more intimate space. Behind sliding glass doors, Bellwood manager and Chivas Masters World Champion bartender Atsushi Suzuki conducts tasting experiments involving up to four willing participants at a time (currently two people maximum, due to Covid-19 restrictions).
Suzuki’s current experiment is all about the visual component of eating and drinking. From behind his one-person bar, backed by magical-looking jars of dry ingredients, Suzuki leads you through a blind tasting featuring four cocktails, each paired with a different dish. Everything here is bespoke, even down to the eye masks featuring illustrations of different Japanese proverbs.
Before you’re blindfolded, Suzuki takes you through the process, showing you the menu and how to find your food and drink on the table. The menu, however, is more like a list of jumbled ingredients and that’s the only clue you’ll get on what’s to come.
You’re encouraged to guess what you’re tasting – was that shiso in the dish, or the cocktail? Between this and his playful narration, Suzuki turns the process of eating and drinking into a free-flowing conversation. There are no mysterious brand names or arcane recipes to choose from – just the interplay of some incredibly well-matched flavours.
Although The Bellwood is a bar first and foremost, just as much care and attention goes into the food. We don’t want to give anything away, but at the moment, the decadent menu includes meat, so herbivores beware. And remember: this is a tasting, not a four-course meal. The food and cocktails are small samples, so you don’t have to worry about downing four drinks in a little over half an hour.
The Bellwood Lab sessions are available in English or Japanese, between 6pm and 11pm from Wednesday to Saturday. The cost is ¥6,000 per person and to keep things casual, there are no bookings – it’s walk-ins only. The current tasting experiment is set to change at the end of November.