Gentle Reader, I crave a benison (I nearly wrote benefice, which I also crave in its second meaning). Actually, a step beyond a benison to a favor, a benignity. I beg of you to support a little restaurant of my acquaintance, in the hope that our collective custom can sustain its presence within a ten minute stroll of your Humble Correspondent's even humbler home.
Azabu Juban is named thus because historically it was the tenth station on an Edo-period canal system and had verdant fields of flax. More recently, it was also the home of Sailor Moon and her friends - creator Naoko Takeuchi lived there for a time as did your Humble Correspondent. It certainly does not mean "home of many tens of good restaurants". There are some, indeed a veritable concentration of Michelin notables, but a palpable lack of "regular" neighbourhood eateries that aim any higher than the milling date-ers or the chilling crowds of fast-fooders.
Enter Che Pacchia - an Italian establishment that takes its name from its desire to create an atmosphere of quiet calm and serenity where a dining couple might relax, and enjoy. An inaccurate translation might be "What a bed of roses!". I journeyed there recently with the Child Bride, henceforth to be known as The Once and Future Blonde. To forestall tedious correspondence, this new nomen arises from the T.H. White (sadly, no relation) novel Once and Future King rather than any reference to the warehouse of hair products and colorings to be found at Chez Hellhole.
What a spiffing little addition to the neighborhood! Awkwardly located on the 4th floor above a horrid soy drink emporium, Che Pacchia opened during Golden Week 2009 and has built a small coterie of supporters attracted to its simplicity, and superb delivery on the Italian food aesthetic. Chef shows a dab hand at both mainstream and regional cuisines, and despite being open only a short time, Che Pacchia is willing to meet the needs and requests of even its most demanding patrons.
We paired the excellent home-made breads that came out on arrival with some Moretti beer (bless his name!), and chose a very reasonably priced Gavi di communa di Gavi to accompany the meal. Attentive and knowledgeable staff made light of my many foibles, and went to great lengths to ensure we were well looked after during the meal and after.
We enjoyed a delightful artichoke and seafood salad for her, and asparagus risotto pour moi ... Your Humble Correspondent actually has a niggling dislike for those like Chef who can prepare risotto well, having failed in the effort himself an extraordinary number of times. This was followed by Saltimbucco Romagna for the lady, and a pretty little breaded veal cutlet with a lovely butter sauce that I asked to be accompanied by a juicy lemon. A small triumph, given that our last Italian excursion in the vicinity had more in common with packaged pasta than flavor or finesse.
Che Pacchia should be enjoyed with friends and boisterous colleagues rather than first-time acquaintances, but it should be enjoyed. So again, I beg those of you within wan mi-ta- (one turn of the taxi meter or Y780) to join me in patronizing this charming addition to Azabu. Its fate is in our hands, I fear. That is a serious responsibility that I feel sure you will see fit to assume. Who knows, I may never have to leave the area again!
Sadly, there is no web site to point you at.
Che Pacchia [Map]: 4th Floor Manivia Bldg, 2-5-1 Azabu Juban, Minato Ward. t: 03-6438-1185 Rating: Food: 7/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Ambience: 7/10; Value: ($) 8/10. Total: 37/50