Tag Archives: ピカデリー・サーカス

Tonic Coffee Bar @ Sherwood Street, Piccadilly Circus

Tonic Coffee Barは、ピカデリー・サーカスの裏道に最近出来た、ちっちゃなカフェ。でも規模は小さくても、SpeakeasyDepartment of Coffee and Social Affairs等と同じく、コーヒーにこだわりを持つロンドンのコーヒー店のネットワークであるCoffee Collectiveの一員だ。


Tonic Coffee Bar is a tiny, tiny café, appeared recently on a back street of Piccadilly Circus. It is really small, but it is a proud member of Coffee Collective, a network of quality coffee shops in London, together with Speakeasy and Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.

They serve artisan coffee as well as small tableful of cakes and pastries. Tonic has only 3 counter stools for eat-in, so it is not the perfect place for chit-chat with your friends. Just pop in and have a quick shot, as Italians do at their favourite ‘bar‘ (=equivalent to a café in Italy).


Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent StreetShoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

今、ロンドンではラーメンがトレンディ、中でも豚骨ラーメンが人気のようだ。以前書いたTonkotsuに続き、最近オープンした2店・Shoryu(昇龍)Bone Daddiesはメディアから高い評価を得、また回転寿司チェーン・Yo! Sushiヨー!スシ)でもラーメンがメニューに加わった。寿司屋がラーメンとは何事かとは思うが、まあそこはイギリス。で、昇龍とBone Daddiesの2店で2回ずつラーメンを食べてみた。今日は昇龍、明日はBone Daddiesについて、私なりの感想を書きます。

11月24日にピカデリー・サーカスの少し南にオープンした博多ラーメンの店・昇龍は、向かいにある日本食スーパー・Japan Centre(通称ジャパセン)の系列。むき出しのレンガ壁やユニークな形のランプシェードなど、従来のラーメン屋のイメージを覆すモダンな内装で、店のロゴもなかなか洒落ている。正式開店の前にしばらく半額セールをやっていたので、FacebookなどのSNSや口コミで、かなり美味しいらしいとオープン前から在英日本人の間ではかなり話題になっていた。

メニューには、通常の博多風とんこつだけでなく、味噌を加えた昇龍とんこつや、わさび、高菜、ゆず胡椒を加えたもの、またPiri Piriとんこつというかなり辛い一品と色々なレパートリーがあり、東京風醤油や札幌味噌ラーメン、また餃子や枝豆等のサイドディッシュもある。博多出身のシェフが作る豚骨ラーメンは、ちょっともやしが多すぎるのがもやし嫌いの私には難点だけれど、スープは旨味があり、見た目よりさっぱりしていて、お腹にもたれず美味しい。ただPiri Piriは私には辛過ぎて、お水をいくら飲んでも口の中から辛さが取れず、汗だくになってしまったので、辛いものが苦手な方はご注意を。



Japanese street food, “ramen” noodle soup now has become a new big thing in London, especially ‘tonkotsu (it means pork bones in Japanese)’ ramen, among other kinds such as miso, shoyu (soy sauce base), or shio (salt in Japanese). After Tonkotsu, which I wrote in the past, two new places, Shoryu (rising dragon in Japanese) and Bone Daddies, have opened recently and received good reviews from UK media. Even the sushi chain YO! Sushi using the Japanese style ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt, has included ramen on their menu lately. I tried Shoryu and Bone Daddies twice each and would like to compare them – today Shoryu, and tomorrow Bone Daddies.

Shoryu ramen, specialising in Hakata ramen or Tonkotsu ramen, is opened on Nov 24th by Japan Centre, a Japanese food store across the street near Picadilly Circus. They had half price campaign for a while before its grand-opening, and good comments about their ramen has been spread among Japanese in London via Facebook or by word of mouth. Shoryu’s modern interior such as bare brick walls and stylish lamp shades, doesn’t look like a typical ramen restaurant in Japan, which is often plain and shabby. In fact, ramen in Japan is sort of a fast food and cheap, costing normally not more than £7.

Their menu lists not only normal Hakata Tonkotsu but also a variation of Tonkotsu such as Shoryu Tonkotsu with a bit of miso, spicy Piri Piri, Wasabi, Takana (spicy pickled mustard greens), Yuzu citrus, as well as regional variations of Tokyo Shoyu (soy sauce base) and Sapporo Miso. They have also some side dishes such as Gyoza dumplings and Edamame soy beans.

Their Tonkotsu ramen, created by Hakata-born chef, was quite tasty and it was not heavy as it looked (Tonkotsu tend to be a bit thick and heavy), though there was a bit too much Moyashi bean sprouts on a top. However, if you don’t fancy spicy food, be careful with Piri Piri – it was very hot, at least to me, and I sweat so much while eating and had to drink a pint of water together to sooth my mouth.

I overheard the conversation between chef and someone, and he seems to be very enthusiastic about making a good ramen. He replaced previous noodles because he thought it was not good enough, and now uses noodles of his choice, imported from Japan. He was also dissatisfied with the machine to boil noodles and replaced this with new one that cost two thousand pounds.

I wouldn’t say that Shoryu is as excellent as the most popular ramen restaurants in Japan where people are willing to queue for hours to eat a bowl, but I’ve never thought that one day I would be able to eat decent ramen in UK, when I came to London 10 years ago. Bravo!

Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent StreetShoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

“Trash” Britannia Souvenir Shop @ Piccadilly Circus

クール・ブリタニアCool Britannia)は、20世紀の半ばから後半にかけて、イギリスの現代文化を描写するために使われたメディア用語で、イギリスの愛国歌「ルール・ブリタニア」(”Rule, Britannia”: ブリタニアよ世界を治めよ)をもじったもの。1967年に、ボンゾ・ドッグ・バンド(the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band)の曲のタイトルとして、初めてこの言葉が使われたが、1990年代に再び使われるようになり大流行。トニー・ブレア首相(当時)率いる労働党政権が打ち出した、「第三の道/ニュー・レイバー」路線の初期の頃と密接に関連づけられている。90年代は経済も好調、社会が勢いづいていた時代で、ブラーオアシス等のブリット・ポップはヒットチャートを賑わし、ダミアン・ハーストやトレイシー・エミン等のヤング・ブリティッシュ・アーティスト(YBA)はアート界に新風を吹き込んだ。ジョン・ガリアーノアレキサンダー・マックイーン(今日のニュースで、自殺による死が報道された)等の若手ファッションデザイナーも、世界のメジャーなファッションショーで注目を浴びていた。かくいう私たちも、シンプルだけれど洗練されたイギリスのグラフィック・デザイン、そしてこの「クール・ブリタニア」のエネルギーにつられて、1997年にイギリスに引っ越してきたのだ。1997年に総選挙に勝利して、44歳で首相となったブレアは、このトレンドを政策にも取り込み、国家戦略として、「クールでかっこいい」イギリスを世界に売り込もうとした。

しかし!今日、ピカデリー・サーカスで、この言葉を冒涜する輩を発見した。それが、この「Cool Britannia」という土産物店。店の真ん中には、ルーフにイギリス国旗がルーフに描かれたミニ・クーパーが置かれ、ビーフィーターの格好をさせられたおじさんが、観光客と記念撮影している。店名から、イギリス・ブランドやスタイリッシュな商品を扱っていると思いきや、中は「クール」とはほど遠い、安物の中国製品で溢れ返っている。結構旅行者で賑わっていたのが悲しい。以前から思っていたのだが、ロンドンには、素敵な土産物屋さんが少なく、南アジア系の人たちが経営しているチープで粗悪品を売る土産物屋が氾濫している。それで、「Cool Britannia」を初めて見た時に、やっとまともな土産物屋ができたのかと思ったら、このざま。。。


Cool Britannia is a media term that was used during the mid-to-late 20th century to describe the contemporary British culture.  It is a pun on the title of the British patriotic song Rule, Britannia!, and the phrase “Cool Britannia” was first used in 1967 as a song title by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. The term was commonly used during the 1990s, when the country was enjoying growing economy and good vibes. Britpop groups such as Blur and Oasis hit the world’s charts, and Young British Artists (YBAs) like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin created a new wave of unconventional contemporary art (although personally I don’t fancy them). Young fashion designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen (whose sudden death, possibly suicide was reported today) grabbed the spectator’s attention on catwalks around the world. M and I also attracted to the simple but stylish British Graphic Design and the energy of “Cool Britannia”, and decided to move to London. Cool Britannia was closely associated with the early years of “New Labour” under Tony Blair, who won the election in 1997 and became a prime minister. Blair tried to incorporate the trend in his policy and launched  the Creative Industries Task Force, intending to sell ‘Cool’ Britain to the world.

But!! Today I found a shop which completely misuse the concept of “Cool Britannia” in the center of Piccadilly Circus. In the middle of the shop, you see a Mini with British flag on its rooftop and a sad-looking man in Beefeater costume, being photographed by some tourists. You may get an impression that the shop carries full of cool British brands and hip products, but in fact there is full of cheap trash made in China. It is sad to see some tourists were shopping around quite happily. There are not many decent souvenir shops in London, but lots of South Asian (look like) owned shops selling cheap, bad quality and terrible designed goods. So when I saw the “Cool Britannia” shop at first, I thought finally I found a nice place to buy a souvenir….

When you want to buy a souvenir in London, ignore these trashy shops, and go to department stores, specialty stores, or museum shops – more costly, but much better quality and design. If you only have a small budget, go to supermarkets and drugstores. You can find products in nice packages with small price tags.


Is this “Cool Britannia” fashion??? Impossible!!

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Napket | Snob food @ Regent Street


Napket(ナプケット)は、キャッチフレーズ「Snob Food(スノッブ・フード)」の通り、高級感を売り物にしたサンドイッチ/カフェ・チェーン。チェルシーキングス・ロードにある第一号店に、オープンしたての頃行ったことがあるんだけれど、うちから遠いのでその存在をすっかり忘れていた。最近、リージェント・ストリートからVigo Streetを少し入ったところにもできたのを、偶然発見。黒を基調とした家具類、アンティーク調の椅子、シャンデリアと少し暗めの店内、書斎風に古い本を並べた本棚(本は単なる飾りで、まっすぐに並ぶように裏側が裁断されている)と、優雅なインテリアが高級エリアのメイフェアにマッチしている。オーダーメードの高級紳士服店が並ぶサヴィル・ロウや、ショッピングエリアのリージェント・ストリートに近いという場所柄、スーツ姿の紳士やショッピングバッグをさげた買い物客が多い。値段は少々高めだけれど、見た目より良心的。イート・インの場合、厳選された材料を使って作られた、美味しくてボリュームあるサンドイッチ、パスタ、サラダ等が6ポンド以下でいただける。入口近くにあるベーカリー・カウンターでは、パンやクロワッサン、マフィン、クッキー等も売られている。ピカデリー・サーカスやリージェント・ストリートあたりには、ちょっと気が利いた手軽なカフェが意外とないので、重宝しそう。

Napket, as its catchphrase “Snob Food”, is a posh cafe/sandwich chain in London. We went to their first cafe on King’s Road in Chelsea just after it was opened, but it is kind of far from us and we haven’t come back since then. We found its Regent branch the other day by chance, on Vigo Street, just off Regent Street. The chic black interior with black wooden tables, antique (style?) chairs and sofas, chandeliers and bookshelves filled with old books (cut on the back to make them all fit & straight – therefore not for reading), matches the upscale Mayfair area where the cafe is located. With its location, the customers at Napket are mainly ‘gentlemen’ in well-tailored suits from nearby Saville Row – famous for its traditional men’s bespoke tailoring – and people with shopping bags from a shoppers’ mecca Regent Street. The price is a bit higher than other cafes, but it’s not as bad as it looks. For eat-in, you can have fairly large sandwiches, pasta and salads made of high quality ingredients for less than £6.00. The bakery counter near the entrance sells bread, croissants, muffins and cookies etc. Surprisingly there are not many cool & casual cafes around Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street – Napket will be great when you want to have a break while shopping.

Napket Sandwiches

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Croatian Supporters in Hight Spirits @ Piccadilly Circus

Croatian Supporters @ Piccadilly Circus



When we were walking down on Regent street, we heard screaming and shouting from somewhere. We looked around, and saw that a large group of people in white and red cross stripes shirts gathering around the fountain in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Then I realized that there were a World Cup 2010 qualifying match England versus Croatia tonight. Red-faced Croats supporters were singing or shouting in high spirits with beer cans on their hands. There were supermarket plastic bags and beer cans all over the place.

Croatia is the team that ended England’s hopes of reaching Euro 2008, and hurt the pride of England as the birthplace of soccer. Therefore the England team must feel an enormous pressure to go to World Cup 2010. So far England team has been doing great under the Italian coach Fabio Capello. England beat Croatia by 5-1 tonight  and made a record of an eighth successive win of a qualifying campaign. England got their pride back and secured qualification for next summer’s World Cup in South Africa. The Croats supporters we saw today probably get drunk again in disappointment now.

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