T.Y Harbour Brewery and Big Food in Tokyo

T.Y Harbour Brewery is like stepping in to a small hub of the US in Tokyo; complete with English speaking waiters, classic American menu (with a twist), micro-brewed beers and a bay view.
When I visited on a mid-week public holiday by 12pm the terrace was full, and by 1pm also the large restaurant inside, which is testament to the quality of food and service here.

The menu is packed full of classic sandwiches, burgers, sides and salads. We ordered the caesar salad, which was nothing new, except that the half portion was huge, and not slathered in half raw egg (as is often the case for caesar salads in Japan). This was followed by the tangy and crispy crab cakes, definitely a highlight, and wedges with sour cream and mango chutney. Despite already being full, we got the burger topped with blue cheese (on top of the cheddar cheese which is standard), and the banh mi hot dog. You can choose various sizes for the burger, but even the medium seemed huge! The banh mi hotdog, despite an interesting flavour combination of sausage, shaved carrots, pickles and jalapeno, was spicy and delicious.

And of course, I cannot forget the beer. To figure out which brew you like, get the beer tasting menu, for a gulp of each of the brewery's classics. For me, I'm boring and stuck with the 'easy to drink' version, and yes I gulped it down quickly and happily whilst looking over the slightly murky waters of Tokyo Bay.

T.Y Harbour is situated on Tennozu Isle, just a 10-15 minute walk from Shinagawa Station.
Website with menu can be found here.

Caesar Salad - Add the chicken and avocado please
Wedges to the right, Crab Cakes to the left
Jalapeno-laden hot-dog 
Burger with blue cheese

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Shimokitazawa- Tea, Cake and Eggs

Shimokitazawa, a trendy neighbourhood west of Shibuya, is home to many university students, somewhat over-priced vintage stores, and some of the cutest tea, cake and eggs shops I've ever seen. Although I am more generally a fan of the weekend brunch, I decided it was time to branch out and try afternoon tea in Shimokitazawa instead.

My friend, a local of Shimokita, took me to Second House cake shop, hidden away behind the maze of streets from the station. Originally from Kyoto, I ummm'd and ahhhh'd as I tried to decide which cake to choose. I ended up going for the simple apple cake with cream cheese icing which was a treat, and nicely complimented by the freshly brewed jasmine tea.

Months earlier, my friend had told me of a shop in Shimokitazawa which sells nothing but eggs, intrigued, I was dying to go take a look. Toyonchi no Tamago is for the egg connoisseur,  and like a fine wine, chocolate or square shaped melon, why not pick someone up a gift box of mixed eggs for their next birthday! Although it's in Japanese, you can get an idea from their website about this shops appreciation for all things egg. Personally, I love the idea of bringing a friend a few gourmet eggs and whipping them up a quick omelet, or whichever eggy delight you choose.

Shimokitazawa is only one stop from Shibuya on the Keio Inokashira line and is also easily accessed from the Odakyu line; so if you have a free Saturday or Sunday, pop over for some fun exploring, and no doubt you will find something a little bit different to the Tokyo you know.


Bills (Again): Yokohama

What better way to celebrate Culture Day in Japan than to visit one of my most loved Sydney chef's restaurant, Bills. This time in Yokohama. Surprisingly, many other people in Yokohama seemed to have the same idea! After a 45 minute wait we were taken to our seat amongst the young couples, puppies, and families on the terrace of the Red Brick Warehouse.

This is now my third visit to Bills in Japan (the first two were to his original restaurant in Shichirigahama) and whilst the food was still delicious, the surroundings lacked some of the charm of sitting on the balcony above the Japanese sea side. I resisted ordering the same things as before, and opted for the potato and feta fritters with cucumber and dill which was crunchy, fresh and delicious. The wagyu burger, although on the small side (I swear this was bigger two years ago?), was juicy and nicely finished with home-made zucchini pickles. And of course, I couldn't leave without the classic Bills ricotta hotcakes. Caramel, banana, ricotta, yum.   

A definite positive of Bills in Yokohama is it's easy access from Tokyo. You can take the Tokyu Toyoko line directly from Shibuya to Minato Mirai, which is a five minute walk form the Red Brick Warehouse (Akarenga). Whilst in Minato Mirai, why not check out the art gallery and take a stroll along the water. It's without doubt a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

What's in a French Name? Hong Kong Dim Sum: Le Parc Ebisu

Whilst the French name and kitsch French decor may remind you of a bad bistro, don't be fooled by this restaurant's exterior. Le Parc does some of the best dim sum (or yum cha for my Australian friends) in Tokyo. Personally, I am a huge fan of Din Tai Fung but have been disappointed by it's offerings here in Shinjuku, thus I continue on my hunt for weekend dim sum.

Le Parc isn't anything to scream about, but the prawn dumplings, crispy spring rolls, xaio long bao and spinach with garlic were all very satisfying, and being an easy five minute walk from Ebisu station, there is nothing to stop you enjoying some dim sum delights.

Next stop is the Grand Hyatt's all you can eat China Room dumplings. Will report back shortly.