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Best of a Bad Lot

Posted on 2006/07/18 07:11:07 (July 2006).

[Sunday 16th July]
Today was probably the least crap day of the rather disappointing three day weekend (Monday was a national holiday). We didn't really plan anything, but wandered out somewhat purposelessly around lunchtime, and ended up in the Pizza Express in Harajuku. Before you start turning your collective noses up (Lorenzo, this is not Pizza Hut, OK?), whilst these are two a penny in London, in Tokyo there is just the one, and it is a little corner of England which makes me very happy. If nothing else it is just about the only restaurant I've found in Tokyo with little "V" signs on the menu - they even seem to understand the difference between animal rennet and non-animal rennet cheeses. So, scoff though you may, none of you are interred in Tokyo like I am, so you cannot possibly understand the joy a simple thing like a visit to Pizza Express brings.

The rest of the afternoon seemed to be occupied with a whole lot of shopping, which wasn't really all that necessary, but did seem to take our minds off the general crapness of being in Tokyo. We bought an electric fan and I also got some clothes.

In the evening, back at home, we had Japanese food for a change. "Izakaya style" - a number of small dishes (tofu, kimchi, avocado, sora mame etc) plus some gyoza. I've never really made gyoza all by myself - Chie is the undisputed expert here - but I thought I'd have a go for a change. They weren't bad I suppose, but definitely Chie does a better job of it.

Sunday nights are notable more pleasant without the looming prospect of having to go to work the next morning!

Comment 1

As you know I quite like the American style pizzas. even though they are completely different recipies from the Italian style counterparts. Have you thought about asking THEM to sell you some cheddar? I am sure that they must buy some standard ingredients as they probably are a franchise, so they might have that english cheddar (V) that you need! :)

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/18 08:00:27.

Comment 2

It's not Pizza Hut!

It's not America style pizza!

You have probably never been there!

No they don't have cheddar!

You don't use cheddar on pizza!

Posted by John at 2006/07/18 08:15:27.

Comment 3

Pizza EXPRESS. See how the spelling of the second word deviates subtly from "hut".

Posted by John at 2006/07/18 08:16:26.

Comment 4

I see... Nope I have never been there (me thinks), I'll have a look around the net to see what they are like, I am sure I have heard of it somewhere... As for not using cheddar on pizza, I am afraid that I have seen that done too.. :(

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/18 08:48:30.

Comment 5

I have visited the mainsite, I thought it was an american brand to be honest, but it's clearly British. And I think I have gone there with Chris when he was living in Sheffield or whereever he was living after uni working for Gremlin... And yes they don't put cheddar on pizza! :)

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/18 08:54:42.

Comment 6

Blimey their website stinks doesn't it?

Probably doesn't give you such a great impression, but they're actually fairly upmarket (for a chain restaurant). A completely different clientele to what you'd get in Pizza Hut. Not many kids in there generally (and if they are, they're kids of upper middle class families), and the even have live jazz in some branches. There were two in Hampstead if I recall correctly, and they seemed to be able to hold their head up high among the more expensive/exclusive restaurants in that area.

Posted by John at 2006/07/18 09:10:55.

Comment 7

John: I see... The menu is much more refined than Pizza Hut, and it is quite expensive as you said. If there aren't any kids around then it's a dream restaurant. I hate that feature in Pizza Hut where you eat with a gazzillion screamers at your feet. Next time I am in Tokyo you WILL take me there, deal? Ah on the messageboard I wrote a couple of things for you let me know if you are itnerested...

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/18 09:28:10.

Comment 8

There's one in Hampstead (heath street), and one in Belsize Park (Haverstock Hill). The problem with food in the UK is that the overall standard is so low, you have to pay over the odds to get anything halfway decent - and who wants to do that on a regular basis? Not that I have anything against Pizza Express - I was in the Belsize Park one myself just this last Sunday - coincidence eh?

Posted by i-cee at 2006/07/18 24:54:11.

Comment 9

i-cee: now that is a coincidence! I used to live on the main road between Hampstead and Belsize Park tube stations (Rosslyn Hill - same road as Haverstock Hill, but for some reason it changes its name part way up). That Pizza Express in Belsize Park was a regular haunt of mine (partly because it was one of the cheapest places to eat round there!), and I also went to the one up on Heath Street a couple of times.

Ahhhh, a wave of nostalgia there - Hampstead was such a great place to live.

Out of interest, did you ever find anywhere in Tokyo like that?

Whenever I've been to "posh" parts of Tokyo I've been distinctly unimpressed - to me they've looked just the same as any other bit of the city.

I remember talking to my former Japanese teacher once, who said in some "posh" part of Tokyo, you knew it was posh because the Starbucks cost a bit more the usual. She didn't seem to quite get the concept that in England, posh people just wouldn't go to Starbucks in the first place.

Ho, hum.

Posted by John at 2006/07/18 15:10:56.

Comment 10

I am hoping you mean a place like Pizza Hut - because a place like Hampstead could never exist in the concrete jungle that is Tokyo!

To be honest I didnt even know there was a Pizza Express there - maybe built after my time?

It seems that the egalitarian nature of Japanese society is partially brought about at the cost of reducing the quality of the so-called upmarket areas. I've lost times of the number of times I went into places which were marked up as high class - but with food and surroundings that were no better than the local family res or izakaya!

Fortunately most of the time it went on the banks expense account!:)

Posted by i-cee at 2006/07/18 21:36:30.

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