Fine Dining on a Budget at Bistro Kirakutei
By Lisa Hong
The best deals in Japan come in the form of lunch specials. The sets usually include everything you need – salad, drink, entree, and even a small dessert. I know I’ve found a good deal if I find a place that offers all four.
Bistro Kirakutei is located on the 246 – the main road between Sangenjaya and Shibuya. When I first moved to Sangenjaya, a few residents I met suggested this restaruant. I would often pass this place, but my strict 1000 yen rule (for lunch) prevented me from going in, for their set meals started at 1260 yen.
But the more people talked about it, the more I was inclined to loosen my purse strings and see what all the fuss was about. To my delight, I realized that Bistro Kirakutei was a Japanese-Indian fusion restaurant!
Bistro offers their lunch specials from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday – Friday. While the restaurant does have a regular menu in English, the lunch special menu is only in Japanese. There are three categories on the lunch menu: daily special, set A, and set B. The daily special will have a photo of the main dish.
Set A features saffron rice and a braised beef or pork belly curry. Set B features saffron rice, naan, and a choice of vegetarian curry. (changes seasonally). All of the curries are rich and buttery, and you may choose the spiciness level. The lunch meals come with a drink (including a deliciously thick lassi), salad, and cream pudding for dessert. The portions are generous, the quality of the food is amazing, and the tastes are unique.
As for the interior, this place, which only seats about 20, has a homey “french bistro” feel with an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs preparing meals. True to Japanese hospitality, the servers are friendly and helpful. At Bistro, I basically feel like I’m “fine dining” without paying for it.
Dining in Japan can be pricey, but my strategy is to plan my meals around lunch. Usually, restaurants that you thought were “too fancy” or out of your price range become accessible through their lunch specials. The best part is, you still get to enjoy the amazing quality of the food and the nice ambiance. What’s your favorite lunch special at a “fancy place”?
3-30-5 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0001
*Located on the 246, between Sangenjaya and Shibuya. Look for the green sign.
Hours: 11:00 – 26:00, Lunch Special offered from 11:00 – 14:00, Monday – Friday
Website (Japanese only): www.bistro-kirakutei.co.jp