Home to numerous embassies, Hiroo counts among Tokyo's best neighbourhoods for dining out. In addition to an international range of restaurants, the area boasts some of the city's finest purveyors of old-school, down-to-earth Japanese home cooking. One of these standouts is the humble Asano, hidden away from the action just off the main shopping arcade. From the outside, it looks like any old house – Time Out staff have been known to walk right past it without even noticing – but what happens behind the heavy door is something out of the ordinary.
Chef Asano is a veteran of the exclusive Nadaman group of restaurants, but has brought none of said establishment's high society style with him here. Serving up homely Kyoto-style obanzai and oden, he prepares eight to ten varieties for you to choose from, including tamagoyaki omelette and vegetables boiled in a flavourful broth. Unlike the usual Tokyo-style fare with its brown katsuobushi-based soup, Asano's oden swims in a clear, sardine- and chicken-based broth. One dish not to be missed is rice with dried young sardines and sansho pepper, served with a starchy egg soup. It's simple, healthy and delicious.