British Food in Tokyo
While Italian pizza and pasta restaurants can be found around most Tokyo stations, you might have to look a little harder to find food from northern Europe.
British food might not have the best reputation overseas, (potato served six different ways, anyone?) but for those craving a taste of home comforts, or for the curious, there are several spots in the city worth visiting:
The Meguro Tavern, a short walk from Meguro Station, is the most authentically decorated British pub I’ve come across in Tokyo. Run by a British-Japanese family, it has a friendly atmosphere and the food has a home cooked feel. Popular dishes include Shepherd’s Pie (minced meat and potato) and pastry pies including steak and kidney and Guinness beef. Roast lamb, bangers and mash (sausages and potato), and fish and chips (battered fish and potato) all make a welcome appearance too. And for desserts apple pie and seasonal specials will keep those with a sweet tooth happy.
But the jewel in its crown are its Sunday roasts, served in the cooler months from October to May. It serves its roasts, complete with Yorkshire Pudding, carvery style with a choice of meats. Diners then help themselves to various types of potato (naturally!), vegetables and the all important sauces. Gravy, cranberry sauce and the apple sauce were all in abundant supply when I visited. The roast is available from noon on Sundays, and once it’s gone it’s gone. It’s worth noting that diners wishing to order food must also buy a drink.
The Meguro Tavern is also a popular choice for Christmas Lunch, complete with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding.
The Footnik chain has pubs in Ebisu (a cosy venue), Osaki (a larger space inside commercial complex)and Nakano.
Photo: kengo on Flickr
The Footnik scores well on its snack menu, with scotch eggs a crowd pleaser. There’s also fish and chips, pies and other British favourites.
The Osaki and Nakano branches serve lunch and food is offered from 3pm in Ebisu. Happy Hour is from 3pm – 7pm weekdays.
Footnik is a popular choice to view live football in Tokyo. Game schedules are shown on their website. The Ebisu branch also holds a monthly pub quiz to raise money for Oxfam.
What the Dickens!
What the Dickens! is an Ebisu institution both for fans for British expats and fans of live music. With bands performing almost every night, there is always someone new discover. The venue, which is run by a Scottish couple, is also home to a monthly bilingual comedy night. The pub itself is deceptively large, with the the upstairs including a balcony view of the stage and cosy corners.
Photo: scion_cho on Flickr
Its menu is pie-focused, with chicken and steak pies (served with chips, veg and gravy) recommended, as well as apple pie for dessert. They also serve vegetarian options, pizza, chicken and chips and specials. It can be hard to find a good British-style meat pie in Tokyo, but What the Dickens’s home-cooking delivers some of the best I’ve come across.
If you would like a British or an Irish beer with your pie, there’s plenty to choose from, with Bass Pale Ale, London Pride and Guinness available.
This chain has three branches in Tokyo, Akasaka, Roppongi and Shibuya. Even though the Akasaka and Roppongi branches are more spacious, they still maintain the authentic air of a more traditional British pub. Hobgoblins offer regular discounted food nights, for example every Tuesday is 999 yen steak night. The Hobgoblin serves its own Hobgoblin beers, as well as guest ales and ciders. The pubs also screen sport, including cricket, regularly.