Publisher’s Pick

by Simon Farrell
Swagat Tapas BarOf all foreign restaurants in Tokyo, perhaps Indian is most familiar. So I was delighted to find Swagat Tapas Bar serving dishes new to me. Ice-cold Kingfisher beer and Indian Cabernet Sauvignon arrived in seconds, followed by a light and bright-yellow lentil soup with a thick slice of fresh lemon and papadoms. Imagine a half potato stuffed with spicy minced vegetables and you have Tandoori bara aloo. After the crispy Tandoori prawns with sweet and spicy sauces came fresh goat cheese with coriander and mint, followed by peserattu — a crepe-like snack from Hyderabad created from a thin fried batter made of green beans and rice, stuffed with lightly fried onions, plus creamy coconut chutney. “We experiment with variety,” said ever-smiling owner Sunil, from Pune. Slightly sweet Kulcha is innovative inside-out bread with garlic, capsicum and onion. There’s also the bhel chat and pani puri for you to discover, while dessert was a delicious, hard and home made kulfi — condensed milk ice cream stirred for hours, with a sprinkling of cashew powder and almonds.

Swagat has two places, near Roppongi and Tameike-Sanno stations. Both Swagats also do bento deliveries, and cater for corporate events, weddings and office or home parties. While one is more casual and quick, the other is slick, with a fancy bar stocked with huge wine glasses, but both kitchens experiment creatively. I won’t say which is which, because I recommend you try both.