Located on a quiet corner in Shibuya, Utsura Utsura has that type of enticing nighttime glow that just beckons you in. Through the wooden door you’ll find a bar counter that seats eight, running along the narrow open kitchen where you can watch the chef and sake sommelier at work. The latter is, uniquely, a hot sake specialist, and watching him warm up the drinks to their precise temperature can be rather hypnotic. There are tables for four at the back of the room, and the vibe is professional but warm.
The concept of this gastrobar is to find the right sake to match the dish you’d like to eat, or vice versa. Sake comes by the glass, starting around ¥500, or 180ml carafes ranging from ¥700 to ¥1,500, with about 40 varieties of regularly changing labels on offer. The elaborate otoshi (quick bites, much like an appetiser) platter is a standout, with around six tiny seasonal dishes like strawberry with tofu and sesame cream, and duck steamed in soy sauce with poached kumquats.