Food without memory is just digestion

Friday, 14 September 2007

Shopping - Bon Repas

14 September 2007

Try this for a deal - you join a members club for Y10,000, which entitles you to a spoonful of caviar and a glass of champagne every time you visit, and 25% off everything you buy. Wine tastings, imported jambon and smallgoods, fresh Italian olive oils from the barrel, great wine from all around the world, hard-to-find ingredients, etc etc.

You're right - a touch of food-geek heaven. You're thinking New York or Paris, right? Try Azabu-Juban, here in Tokyo.

The Don was the one to introduce me to Bon Repas, and we spend an hour or so here most Saturdays. I was lucky enough to join during a Y5000 campaign, but have already "saved" more than Y12,000 by my reckoning - and I haven't started adding to my Riedel collection or bought wine with more than 4 digits yet.

The store is open and airy, perfect for tasting the latest addition to the Bon Repas cellar or the cold meat from Germany, Spain or Italy. If you've been looking for a whole Jamon Iberico for a party, or just a few slices of Bavarian Hunters Pressed Ham, this is the place for you.

Trying to put together a cheese plate? Bon Repas will let you taste the various cheeses on display to get the balance just right - or will recommend one of the selections it has thoughtfully pre-packaged.

Pasta? Fresh Tuscan olive oil? Sauces and toppings? Sheesh, don't get me started.

Bon Repas specializes in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italian and German wines (although you can also get a 5 liter mini-keg of Czech Pilsener) and the ground floor shows an excellent selection. There are wines from other countries as well, although there's a little up-and-down in the quality. Still, better a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

After something a little more special? Wander upstairs and you're suddenly immersed in an Alladin's Cave of great wines, brilliantly stored and presented, and available at reasonable prices. Life Hint: ignore the final zero and divide by 2 if you're a member. Otherwise some of these wines will need your bank manager's approval.

There are regular tastings for members, and I think I've convinced them to stock fresh olives to round out the offering.

Bon Repas is a life-support system for a food geek, and an innocent pleasure for those of you less mono about it all. Take my advice, and drop by (map; gmap) next Saturday. I'll be the fattie upstairs drinking champagne in the deep leather lounges.

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