Tokyo Food Page
šToki no Ma/
Ebisu: Izakaya
₯5722-8600
€Data
If you're in the
mood for some inter-
esting sake - per-
haps you'd like to
try some limited-
edition seasonal
brews from small
breweries - Tokyo
has a fair number of
serious sake pubs to
choose from. If
you'd prefer some-
thing more comfort-
able than the typi-
cal counter seating,
and you want some
first-rate food to
go with your sake,
that narrows the
field considerably,
especially if you
aim to stay within a
reasonable budget.
And if you're the
kind of person who
sometimes gets the
urge for great sake
and food at two in
the morning, well
then, you really
should know about
Toki no Ma.

Don't be scared off
by the entryway,
with its white gran-
ite walls and glass
panels covered with
cascading water -
prices are closer to
ordinary izakaya
levels (Y3-5000 for
ample food and
drink) rather than
the inflated dining
bar levels that the
decor might suggest.
Once you're seated
you should resist
the waiter's attempt
to take your drink
order immediately,
and take a moment to
peruse the drinks
list - some 40 or 50
different sakes, and
three times as many
shochu variations.
The staff are very
knowledgeable and
helpful, ready to
provide suggestions,
advice and even
detailed explana-
tions of the brewing
process if you're
interested.

After you've sorted
out your drinks you
can turn your atten-
tion to the even
bigger food menu,
which includes
dishes suited to
sake as well as
foods better paired
with shochu. In the
latter category is
satsuma-age (Kyushu-
style fish cakes),
which here comes in
eight different
flavors, including
sea urchin, shrimp,
lotus root and
stewed beef tendon.
Our favorite is the
excellent garlic
satsuma-age - dotted
with garlic shoots
and served with
roasted garlic
chips, yuzu salt and
lemon. Chikuzen-ni
(a root-vegetable
stew) is another
Kyushu regional
dish, and the well-
crafted version here
offers a pleasing
bit of crunch in the
lotus root and other
par-boiled vegeta-
bles.

Grilled bamboo
shoots - an early-
spring seasonal item
- are also pleasant-
ly textural, with a
nice smoky tang from
the grilling pro-
cess. Also seasonal
is the fantastic
seri ohitashi, a
very delicate prep-
aration of this
mountain vegetable
balanced perfectly
with tiny bits of
mikan - definitely
well suited to even
the subtlest of sake
flavors. Other sec-
tions of the menu
offer multiple vari-
ations on grilled
chicken and game
birds, horsemeat,
sashimi and steamed
dishes like foie
gras chawan-mushi.

The restaurant is
made up of several
different spaces - a
sushi counter at one
end, private rooms
with hori-kotatsu
seating, and a nice
central dining space
with table areas
separated by
frosted-glass divid-
er panels for a
modicum of privacy.
The presentation of
the food is well-
tuned to the dining-
bar decor - the
sake, for example,
is served in a glass
flask nestled in a
bed of crushed ice
inside a transparent
plexiglass box, a
perfect complement
to the restaurant's
white-on-white color
scheme.

(Note that the menu
is in Japanese only,
but set meals are
available if you
want to simplify the
ordering process.)
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Shibuya-ku, Ebisu-
Minami 2-3-14, Conze
Ebisu 2F.  Open 4:
30pm-5am (to 10:30pm
Sundays). Open every
day.
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