Sunday, 13 March 2016

Gachimaya Okinawan Craft Beer Restaurant

Post by Iain

According to the blurb on the menu, “gachimaya” means the same as kuishimbo (big eater/gutsy pig) in Okinawan dialect and given the quality of the food in this restaurant it’s tempting to take that as a challenge and try to live up to the name. Although handily placed for Jimbocho Disk Union, a major plus in my book, most of the customers when we visited late on a Sunday afternoon seemed to be rather more bookish types, so I’d recommend getting there before the bookstores close for the day.

Once off the street and down the stairs the first thing I noticed was how brightly lit it seemed to be. Coupled with the fact that there hardly seemed to be anyone there I wasn’t filled with confidence, but once the beer and food arrived and more customers came in there was a pretty good atmosphere. There is seating for at least 30 with two tables on the left as you come in the door, then a larger table for six and another for four to your right. Upstairs on a kind of mezzanine level are two more tables for six and four respectively and a bar/counter that seats eight. I spotted some more chairs stacked off to the side so I would guess it would seat 40 at a push.

The food is of course Okinawan, but knocks what's on offer at the Kichijoji Craft Beer Market into the proverbial cocked boushi. The menu is divided into Sausage/ Hot & Cold Tapas/ Salads/ Meat/ Stirfries/ Ajillo/ Meals/ Dessert. We had umibudo, the fu champuru, deep-fried goya, and a plate of home made sausages served on a bed of mashed hiyoko and eda mame. Although the portions looked small they turned out to be just right, not to mention damn tasty.

Other than the food, plus points are that it is non smoking, although there is a place to smoke outside by the front door, and there was no cover charge. The menu is also printed in English as well as Japanese, which is handy if you’re not familiar with Okinawan food. The BGM was Jazz versions of Okinawan tunes and was fairly unobtrusive, however as mentioned the place was very brightly lit.

The beer sizes seemed a little on the small side, with the Regular size disappearing in about three swallows (yes, I know … nonstandard drinking measure), and everything on tap was 5% so not much variety in the strength stakes. Prices were ¥490 Regular/ ¥790 Large with one exception, Miyakojima Coral Ale at ¥590/ ¥890

So, all in all worth going for the food alone, and some of the Okinawan beers are certainly not that easy to track down on draft. I’ll certainly be paying it a return visit.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat 11:00-23:00
Sun & Holidays 11:00-21:00
(I've seen on some sites that they close between 14:00-17:00, and although there was no indication of this inside I’d say it’s quite possible given that we got there just after 17:00)

神保町サンビルディング B1, 神田神保町1-6, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


Seems that they have pretty much no web presence. Sorry!

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