Latest restaurant reviews
Hot new openings
Press Butter Sand
Those worried about their cholesterol levels should stay away: this layered shortbread cookie (sometimes known as 'butter sand', short for sandwich, in Japanese) shop inside Tokyo Station uses copious amounts of fresh Hokkaido butter in its creations. It's run by the team behind Bake Cheese Tart and deals in luxurious cookies that consist of butter cream and caramel wedged between two layers of sweet, buttery shortbread. They make for a great souvenir, so if you've forgotten to bring something for your friends, relatives, boss or colleagues and are at Tokyo Station, this is a good pick. You can even check out the pressing process with your own eyes, as the cookies are made on site here. Open April 27, 2017
Opened in early April 2017, this trattoria near the Ohashi intersection does a great job baking bread with natural yeast. For lunch, check out their simple panini selection: choose between the mortadella, mozzarella & rucola variety or the mackerel, shredded carrot and rucola one, both of which – in a rather un-Italian twist – are served with french fries. At dinner, their menu expands to include a range of antipasti, cheeses that go nicely with the bread, pasta dishes and more, all of which should of course be accompanied by a few picks from their selection of natural wines.
Singapore Bak Kut Teh
A favourite of many a Singaporean, bak kut teh has made it to Tokyo in the form of this specialist eatery near Akasaka Station. For the uninitiated, bak kut teh is a heavenly mix of pork on the bone simmered in a broth with ample amounts of garlic and a whole host of medicinal herbs and spices, served with a strong cuppa of the same tea that the dish is usually solved with. The owner of this particular joint was rather enamoured with the entire bowl and thus went to Singapore multiple times to uncover the mystery behind creating a fabulous-tasting bak kut teh; after many years, he finally managed to conjure up a version of his own good enough to sell. Free of additives and seasoned with a spice mix made by the owner, it's surely an original version. The usual rice and fried breadsticks are of course available too, so you'll be able to jazz up your meal exactly to your liking.
A revered Kyoto tea shop famed for its use of Uji matcha, Tsujiri now graces Tokyo with a shop-in-shop down in Ginza Six's depachika. Besides their green staples, they sell Ginza Six exclusives such as the Tsujiri double rich matcha soft ice cream and the Tsujiri rich matcha terrine. The soft serve comes in both a regular and 'rich matcha' version – matcha fans are advised to order both and see if they can taste the difference. Their mainstays, including matcha baumkuchen and cake rolls with pretty matcha swivels inside, make for great gifts or luxurious picnic fare. Note that everything is on a takeout-only basis, although there are some benches close by for you to plonk down and savour your tea-flavoured treats.
Upcoming food events
Savour a vast variety of sweet, melon-shaped bread at this festival held at 3331 Arts Chiyoda, where bakeries from both Tokyo and further afield team up to show off their 'melon pan'. Formerly a one-day affair, the Melonpan Festival now takes place over an entire weekend and invites you to taste dozens of bread varieties – some of which even have actual melon cream inside. The funds raised will be donated to a charity working to improve working conditions for and employ women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, so you can munch away without feeling too guilty.
Cinco de Mayo
Held annually in the US to commemorate Mexico's historic victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, the Cinco de Mayo Festival will be heading to Tokyo again this year – and unusually enough, it's arriving right on schedule. Returning to Odaiba for 2017, the three-day festival will again feature the familiar mariachi bands, salsa dancers, tequila bars and Tex-Mex food stands, complemented by non-Mexican gourmet and music contributions from Central and South American countries – a wonderfully wacky mix of influences, in other words.
Hop & Eats
Two pints of domestic craft beer and all the barbecue grub you can handle over four hours will be available for ¥5,000 at this one-day gourmet extravaganza. Joining hosts TY Harbor on the brew side of things will be Kansai representatives Ise Kadoya and Minoh, as well as Niigata's Swan Lake Brewery, while the American-style grilled eats will come courtesy of TY Harbor's very capable chefs. Burgers, steaks and suds under the May sun – we could think of far worse ways to spend a Sunday. Best get your tickets well in advance for this one.
Meat Gourmet Fair
An ingredient you can never go wrong with, top-grade meat is in focus at Shibuya Tokyu's Golden Week gourmet extravaganza, which sees coveted restaurants from all over the city set up stalls on the Toyoko department store's eighth floor. Sample carnivorous delights from the likes of Asagaya's Sato Briand and Meguro yakitori masters Torishiki, go for some sukiyaki, hot dogs or meat sushi, and wash it all down with craft brews from Hitachino Nest, Sankt Gallen, Fujizakura and company.
Taiwan Festival Tokyo Beer Garden
Ueno Park's central plaza gets turned into a Taiwan-style beer garden for four June days, with the ice cold brews complemented by edibles from street stall grub to fresh mango, lychee, pineapple and banana. Don't forget to try your luck in the lychee seed-throwing contest – the winner gets a return flight to Taiwan, while runners-up receive more spiky fruit than they can carry.