Kirin City : All About The Beer
By Davide Vincenzi
On August 15, 2015
With this blazing heat you might find yourself craving a a cold beverage, a delicious snack and a comfortable seat. As today unfolded, these three variables combined, and not being in the mood for the usual congested coffee shop experience I found myself down at one of the “kirin city” pubs.
Kirin, one of the main brand names in the beverage industry in Japan, started the first store in 1983 in Roppongi. Since then several shops were opened in Tokyo’s main point of attraction and activities, targeting a broad audiences of both Japanese and non Japanese costumers.
Pretty much a “japanized” American bar, it is notable because of the favorable locations , store settings and for an extended menu at accessible prices. Also available in the drink menu are a variety of both draft beers and novelty drinks such as “Kirin Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft beer”, served as plain beer or as a juice/syrups flavored beer cocktail, both capped with frosted foam.
I settled into their Shinjuku locations and grabbed a seat on the boardwalk, right where cool air conditioning met with the outside summer heat. I first order a premium small kirin beer, some mix cured meat, and some potatoes fries. The beer wasn’t as cold as I expected, so I mentioned that to the waitress and she recommended the Heineken -2ºC or Heineken extra cold. Considering the place is a Kirin shop,I would have expected a more “local” alternative, leaving other brands to be the last option.
Then the mixed cured meats platter arrived at the table, served with toasted bread and olives, neat and well presented but a bit staled to the taste. Fries were better, not the usual skinny fries from the local burger place, these were thick cut salted potatoes fries served with mayonnaise and spicy tomato sauce on the side, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As I moved to a -2ºC heineken beer I also ordered an entree as it was getting closer to dinner. I asked the waitress what would have been her recommendation for something which wasn’t a pasta or pizza or a seafood dish and she quickly suggested “GYU ROSU” beef loin from the grand menu. Beef loin is a low fat meat dish usually grilled, rare to medium rare, sliced and served with some kind of sauce, in this case with soy-sauce and wasabi and a side of fried potato.
Having already ordered “fries” I was able, upon request, to switch to a bacon and cabbage salad instead, worth a mention because upon the main dish arrival as I was getting rather hungry I didn’t mind the overall “less than impactful” presentation. On a positive note I personally enjoy Japanese style steaks, being so simply prepared, and loved the soy-sauce/wasabi combination.
For dessert I indulged in a cream brûlée’ and decided to order a final drink. I opted for a “frozen draft Kirin Ichiban Shibori”. By far a better drink than the premium kirin beer, in the summer it’s a no contest, “frozen draft Kirin Ichiban Shibori”, goddess of beers, hands down.
The restaurant offers smoking and no smoking areas and English menus are available, making it a comfortable stay for a tourists or locals. Service was plain and robotic, so no mistakes or delays as expected from a Japanese restaurant but a bit boring.
I would grade Kirin City a 2.75 out of 5 and add one recommendation:
bring good company and everything will step up a notch or two.