The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tapeo Bar de Espana, Tokyo

The latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight is finally showing at the cinemas in Japan, so we made plans last weekend to watch this movie. To tell you the truth, I'm not a fan of the Batman comic, cartoon series nor the older movies because the theme is always so dark and depressing, but I quite enjoyed watching Batman Begins when it came out three years ago. The Dark Knight received such high ratings on IMDb that it was on the #1 spot for a few weeks on the website's Top 250 Movies. With that in mind, I'd expected this latest installment of Batman to be at least as good as the first one, but to my surprise, I found myself thinking that it certainly didn't deserve the high ratings on IMDb (which we believe to be the work of fanboys). It was a good movie, entertaining and well made, but it was a bit too long and at times hard to follow. I also wonder if the high ratings has to do with the fact that this is Heath Ledger's final acting role before his untimely death earlier this year. Don't get me wrong - Heath played his role well, but so did Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Anyway, since we were in Roppongi Hills to watch the movie with some friends, we decided to also grab some lunch at a Spanish bar/pub called Tapeo Bar de Espana. I think this was the first time I wasn't terribly impressed with the food at the Hills. So far I'd regarded Roppongi Hills as a reliable (albeit pricey) place to go to when I want to eat authentic foreign food (we've had pretty good dimsum, xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), French and even Hawaiian 'fusion' in this area). I guess since this is more of a pub/bar/izakaya than a restaurant, food is not the primary draw to the place but the alcohol and 'tapas'. I wouldn't say that this is 'authentic' Spanish food, but at least the decor was European-style. The food was quite affordable, especially with an all-you-can-eat salad bar, dessert and coffee and tea that comes with your lunch order.

The plates containing some of the food from the salad bar:

The lunch menu was quite limited, with only about 6 choices to choose from, and prices range from 1200yen to 1700yen (~AU$12 to AU$17). I ordered the Seafood Paella and Rob got the Tapas Plate, both of which were the most pricey items on the menu. The food from the salad bar was surprisingly good, which included salad, Japanese-style vegetables, pasta salad and a dish called Steamed Chicken Cobb Salad which was our favourite. We probably ate more from the salad bar than what was on our orders. The paella was nice, with fresh seafood and saffron rice (although the rice could do with a little more saffron) cooked and served in a small paella pan. The tapas were only mediocre, and included a couple of thin slices of jamon (ham), Spanish omelette, fried chicken, croquette, olives, marinated sardines, sundried tomatoes and potato salad. It's not even worth mentioning dessert (perhaps because I'd forgotten to take a photo of it) which included a type of youkan-style jelly, chocolate cake and lychees. The lychees were perhaps the best part of dessert!

Seafood Paella and Tapas Plate:

Ah anyway, even though the food was quite forgettable, our friends' company more than made up for that :)

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