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Local old-timers often lament how so little remains of the Roppongi of old, but we much prefer the post-Hills, post-‘High Touch Town’ era – if only for its relative lack of aggressive hustlers, overt sex trade and sleaze-holes like the infamous Gas Panic. Be that as it may, there are some features of that bygone era that have deservedly survived encroaching redevelopment, police crackdowns and the ongoing tourist influx. Among these is the funky Bangkok, an ultra-casual Thai diner that’s been a fixture of the neighbourhood since 1983. Even now, this unassuming joint, housed on the second floor of a dilapidated building a quick walk east from the station, is quite likely the most competent Thai restaurant in Roppongi.
The entrance is scruffy, the décor may have seen better days and the view (if you can call it that) features bundles of electricity wires that wouldn’t seem out of place in, well, Bangkok, but the street food cooked up by the veteran chef – without fuss or delay – remains excellent. At lunchtime, you’ll get to choose from six different set options, all priced fairly at ¥1,000 (pay ¥100 extra for a large portion); our pad ga-prao was succulently spicy and blew our developing cold right out of the water. Come evening, the menu expands to include a whopping 80 items: among the highlights are tom yam kai soup in traditional clay pots, and the minced-meat larb ’salads’, generously spiked with chillies, lemongrass, mint and onion. You can eat your fill and then some for under ¥4,000, which is nothing short of a bargain – especially in modern-day Roppongi.
Woo Bldg 2F, 3-8-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku
|Transport:||Roppongi Station (Hibiya, Oedo lines), exit 1|
|Opening hours:||11.30am-3pm (last orders 2pm), 5pm-11pm (10pm) / closed Sun|