You wouldn’t think that a kissaten-inspired cocktail bar would come to offer some of the best sushi in town, but The Bellwood in Shibuya has always been full of surprises. Served in The Bellwood Lab – the bar’s private backroom reserved for experimental pop-ups – Bellsushi features 12 pieces of nigiri served with three cocktails for ¥10,000.
The experience is an unconventional one, but that’s not just because omakase sushi dinners at cocktail bars are unheard of in Tokyo. For one thing, the menu is devised by The Bellwood’s executive chef Ayaka Terai, who stands out in a male-dominated industry where women are rarely seen behind a sushi counter. Moreover, unlike the traditional pieces of nigiri you’ll find at local sushi joints, Bellsushi features an amalgamation of Japanese and international flavours with ingredients like coffee beans, tahini, olives and even cheese thrown into the mix.
It’s a feat that purists by the likes of Jiro Ono would scoff at, but The Bellwood’s executive chef Ayaka Terai has essentially nailed what thousands of ambitious sushi chefs have failed to do by delivering a perfect balance between classic and innovative, texture and bags of flavour.
Maguro tuna is topped with pickled carrot and crispy tempura batter as a banh mi-inspired nigiri, while shima aji is combined with jalapeno and a tortilla chip for sushi reminiscent of Mexican cuisine. To go with the courses, you’re served a cocktail made with SG Mugi Shochu, fermented tea and sherry – a play on the quintessential green tea offered at sushi restaurants. Alongside this, you’re also given a shot-sized serving of a boozy pink ginger concoction to sip as a palate cleanser between sushi in lieu of gari (pickled ginger).
Terai’s sushi pairing, however, will only be available for a little while longer. In the spirit of perpetually experimenting and trying new things, Bellsushi will soon be replaced with another head-turning pop-up serving a refreshingly new experience, so it’s best to book your reservation now (available only via Instagram DM) before it ends.