Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Tokyo with BrandWorks

Hey guys! If you've been following my Instagram account, you might have noticed I've landed in the land of the rising sun, in fabulous Tokyo. 

This trip was planned with work back in April for 'Research and Development' to keep the studio inspired, but of course have some fun incorporated in as well (cough, cough, or just have fun all the time, cough).

So the regular programming of the blog is going to be interrupted briefly (or so I hope), while we are mesmerised by vending machines which dispense hot drinks (and more importantly beer) and cute little cafe's in Harajuku's Cat Street which use beans from Melbourne (Campos and Seven Seeds!) that make a mean coffee. The cafe above is Cafe Luigi, and honestly, the coolness of the barista put's Melbourne's hipsters to shame. I couldn't stop gaping at how cool his hair was and he was incredibly kind and patient as we attempted to negotiate the menu and find equivalents for flat whites (caffe lattes) and long blacks (Americanos).

Last night, with only vague plans for dinner (let's go in that direction), we stumbled around the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku where we are staying (which coincidentally is also where the red light district is) and after going down the narrowest of narrow laneways and passing by a Chinese shop, we came across ハートビートor Heart Beat (I'm trying to find the Facebook page so I can link it!). The space was tiny, with a little bar area of 4 seats and two bigger tables that the 8 of us took up.

Ichirou, a regular of 5 years, who spoke amazingly good English ended up helping us navigate through the menu, giving us some history of the bar and also his recommendations and glowing approval of sake with everything. 

We could not have been happier campers that evening, as dish after dish came out. Nakanishi-san the chef, working from the tiniest kitchen I've ever seen, but kept the food spinning out, each impeccably seasoned and cooked to perfection. Maezo-san, the owner, and sake sommelier, made sure the Sapporo and sake flowed comfortably. We had delectably sweet sake, hot and hearty sake and a dry one as well.

I can't wait to tell you more about the meal at a later date, but some of the highlights included immensely fresh sashimi with octopus that was so sweet, mild and delicate, horse mackerel (or aji) that was a stunning blush, and a 'white fish' (I forgot to get the name down in Japanese) that was beautifully smooth and light. 

The tempura squid (tempura ika) also caught us by surprise, as the squid is actually shredded first before it is battered and fried. We couldn't get enough of these, amazingly sweet, but with a shattering crisp batter seasoned in herbs that just counterbalanced the sweetness of the squid so well. Perfect beer food? I think so. Although Ichirou insisted everything was better with sake. Especially warm sake in the autumn winter season! 

Did I also mention that after 2 hours of non stop eating and drinking our bill only came to approximately $30 a person? Totally floored.

Today we're off to hang out with the Cat Bus and Totoro at Ghibli Museum (somewhere I've been dying to go to for years). Expect instagram pictures of plushies. All of them.


  1. Oh dear, I didn't need to know there was such a thing as Ghibli Museum ... yet another reason for Japan to stay on the 'to visit' list. Look forward to seeing photos :)