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Friday, Jan. 20, 2012
TOKYO FOOD FILE
Restaurant full? Head to code kurkku's bar instead
Given the considerable media buzz that accompanied the opening of Yoyogi Village — and the involvement of Il Ghiottone's chef Yasuhiro Sasajima — tables are still at a premium at code kurkku. But even if you can't snare a reservation, don't fancy a full multi-course meal or just turn up on spec, that doesn't mean you can't get to eat.
In the evening (from 6 p.m.), the bar on the other side of the lobby from the restaurant serves a range of Italian-esque snacks and pasta dishes. Whether you just want to nibble on fries dusted with Parmesan as you sip your beer or cocktail, or go for something slightly more substantial — perhaps a penne or risotto — these all come from the main restaurant kitchen and are constructed with the same lightness of touch.
It's a very comfortable space, with a soaring ceiling (as in the restaurant) but lit for intimacy. You can tell musicians were involved in the design: The sound system is superb. And instead of the usual tinkly, canned light jazz — anyone else sick of hearing Norah Jones every time? — there are shelves stacked with LPs (from lounge to club jazz, rock to reggae) played through massive speakers by the bar's in-house DJ.
The only downside is that the air can get pretty smoky. But you can always retire to one of the easy chairs in the lobby; these are also an option at midday if you're ordering a simple one-plate lunch. With that living wall of leafy shrubs on one side, and views of the garden on the other — and outside tables ready for the warmer weather — this is one of the tastiest dining spots in the city.