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Happy Winter Feast! : Borracho & Heigoro

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

On the west side of SHIBUYA in the residential area, you come across a small spot where dim light shines through the window. Styrofoam boxes are piled up in front of the door, in which dozens of fresh oysters are stocked.

This is the hard-to-book Italian restaurant "BORRACHO", even more sought-after since it appeared in Netflix blockbuster programme Solitary Gourmet Season 3 where Goro Inokashira sated his appetite and merrily hummed "Borracho, Borracho...".

Opening the front door, warm air wafts out with a garlicky smell and cheerful conversation. In the small hall, tables are cleverly set in order to accommodate as many guests as possible.

On virtually every table is a bowl of garlic mushrooms, which seems to be the origin of the smell. Guests enjoy poking the mushrooms with a fork and dipping a piece of baguette into boiling oil, exactly as Goro did on TV.

For a main dish, oyster is a must-have. Staff busily go in & out of the door to catch live oysters stocked outside. Among many choices such as oyster cocktail, fried oyster, oyster coquille, how about picking oyster gratin, trusting Goro's choice?

From the depth of the gratin bowl, digging out large oysters is so thrilling, and the taste of ocean flavour concentrated in the meat is so heavenly.

Enticing dishes line up on the menu and you can't help ordering them from top to bottom. A bottle of wine is empty before you know it and your heart and stomach are already fully warmed up.

On the corner of a narrow street along TORANOMON station is a Western style "Yoshoku" restaurant called HEIGORO. This is such a small place that it accommodates very few guests, who form a long queue every lunch time, which makes bookings for dinner very competitive.

This restaurant was also featured by Solitary Gourmet on its New Year's Eve special programme in 2020. Goro stopped by here for lunch and ordered fried shrimp and crab cream croquette. He highly praised the croquette, particularly because it matched well with homemade demi-glace sauce.

The sauce originated in an established restaurant, ALASKA, where the owner worked for years. Now it is used in many dishes, even (uniquely) in baked escargot.

His professionalism is notably expressed in a simple dish like plain omelette. Perfectly smooth surface and fluffy filling is well worth trying. Something else like fried oyster, chicken pilaf or spaghetti meat sauce are on its blackboard. All dishes are very classic Yo-shoku and no Japanese can resist them.

As such this restaurant had been supported by many regulars, but I heard it recently closed due to the area redevelopment. I hope this charming restaurant reopens somewhere else soon.

<Jan 2023 ©Larry_Tak>


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