Monday 8 October 2018

2018 Shimokitazawa curry fes the first visit (下北沢カレーフェス).

Yesterday I jumped on the train with an empty stomach and headed off to Shimokitazawa to sample some of the curries on offer.  When you get to Shimokitazawa exit the station and start walking.  Pretty soon you'll see plenty of participating places.  Just pick up a map from out in front or\f whichever participating restaurant / bar / cafe and start enjoying!

I met up with good friend and long time resident of Shimokitazawa (in fact, some refer to him as the Mayor of Shimokitazawa. Honestly, you walk into nearly any restaurant or bar in the area with Charlie and the staff look up and say "Oh, hi Charlie!").  The first place we visited was not one that I had planned on.  It is a craft beer bar that we entered just for a beer and we found out that they were participating in the curry festival.  The name of the place is Kazenori Merry, number 56 on the map.

Here is their Facebook page.  The staff are very friendly and speak good English.  They have 20 beers on tap, mostly Japanese and American.

I ordered myself a beer, a very hoppy IPA, in fact you could smell the aroma of the hops coming out of the glass before even picking the glass up!

Pretty soon the curry arrived.

The staff explained that it was a mutton curry and they had used thyme to flavour it,  Sitting on top there is some coriander and Indian pickled cabbage. It had a nice slightly bitter taste to it and I would rate it as medium spicy.  The staff mentioned that the curry will change every couple of days as they make a new batch.  A very nice way to start Curry Fes!

Charlie then left me and headed of to a nearby wine bar called Hagare.  Here is a link to their facebook page.  This place is recommended too as glasses of wine are only 300 yen!  

The good thing about a lot of the participating restaurants is that they offer full and mini servings of their curries so you can sample a few different curries.  I went off in search of my next choice, 他力本願寺カレー 瀬口家 (Tari Khon Gangi Curry Segutique).  There was a line so I had to wait a little.  In all of my excitement I forgot to take a photo, but it is number 36 on the map, near the koban (police box) and the friendly police officers here will help you find it.

The interior of the store is pretty funky!

They even provide instructions on how they recommend you eat the curry!

I hate to admit it, but in my haste to get the first few spoonfuls into my mouth, I forgot to take a photo again but here is one from the curry fes website.


One half was a red keema and the other was a black keema with cashew nuts on top.  The red keema had a nice tomatoey taste to it and the black had no standout flavour, but was no less tastey again, not too spicy.  Finishing up I went and joined Charlie for a couple of glasses of red wine.

Then I headed off to my final curry of the night at my friend Kazu's bar, Bar Loaded, number 1 on the map.

Kazu's curry is a chicken nanban curry and he has a number of options.

I got the curry with the spicy salsa topping.

Now Kazu cooks his chicken curry for 6 hours so it has a deep, rich flavour!  Definitely comfort food!

Fully satisfied I jumped back on the train and headed home.  I am certainly planning to go to some more places next weekend!

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See you next time!

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