Gone are the days when it used to be practically impossible to get a decent pizza in Tokyo, but one persistent quibble remains: do they have to be so bloody expensive? There's a simple answer to that question, and we found it at this ultra-basic eatery in Koenji. First-time visitors might do a double take when they see the menu at Sempre Pizza: yes, the pizzas start at ¥380, and no, that isn't just by the slice.
The owners of this back-to-basics eatery seem to have gone out of their way to emphasize how rudimentary the whole enterprise is. While they've clearly spent some money on the oven itself, the rest of the shop is almost laughably cheapskate: if you want to eat in, you'll have to do it off plastic plates, sat at tables fashioned from industrial chipboard; opt for takeaway, and you'll be billed an extra ¥100 for the box. Even without that sneaky surcharge, the takeaway option might be best skipped – these are the kind of pizzas you want to eat straight out of the oven, or not at all.
And are they any good? Well, we've had better, but we probably paid upwards of ¥1,500 for the privilege. The pizzas at Sempre are about 18cm in diameter, making them just large enough for a light dinner or post-drinking snack. A touch too much salt in the (seriously chewy) crusts, perhaps, and the Margherita skimps a little on the cheese – but, hell, at these prices you'd be a churl to complain. The Siciliana is even better, while our Japanese companion seems happy with the Tonno, though we really have to draw the line at any pizza involving mayonnaise. Rock-bottom prices or no, a food buff has to have some standards.
|Venue name:||Sempre Pizza||Contact:|
3-25-25 Koenji-Kita, Suginami-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm; Sat, Sun & hols 11.30am-10pm|
|Transport:||Koenji Station (Chuo, Sobu lines), north exit|