Nishi Azabu

Food & Drink - May 1st, 2009

by Ben Meehan

You cannot mention Nishi Azabu without talking about the institution that is Gonpachi, the restaurant famous for being the place where former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi took George W. Bush during a state visit. If you have never been, it’s basically a themed restaurant that looks like an old Japanese izakaya-strewn street…except indoors. The food is izakaya style tapas, the prices are reasonable, and it is the pace to take your out-of-town visitors.

Notting Hill Cakes is located just off Roppongi Dori (up the hill toward Shibuya and left at first traffic light). Owned and operated by the Petersons from England, it is pretty much the only place in Tokyo where you can get truly authentic British cakes, muffins, scones, and, yes, even a decent cup of tea! They have great gift sets and you can even place orders online. Watch out for their upcoming baking classes later this spring/summer.

Just down the street from Notting Hill is little-known Scottish bar Helmsdale. The owner, Masa, is also proprietor of the sister (Irish) pub Inishmore in Ebisu. Helmsdale boasts the most extensive Scotch Whiskey selection in Tokyo, and it has a great local feel. It is also the place to go to watch soccer—particularly English premier league games. The food is hearty and the fish and chips is even served on newspaper!