Saturday, November 26, 2005


Restaurant review: Pizza Patio, Motomachi, Kobe

Pizza Patio interior Pizza Patio is a nice wee Italian in Motomachi shopping street - find it by entering the big arcade that starts across the road from the west side of Daimaru, then walk less than a minute down there until you see a sign on the right for the restaurant on the second floor. Opposite is a small independent record shop, a massage parlour and Familiar children's clothing store. If you can, be sure to pick up a copy of Hot Pepper before you go as there are usually discount tickets to be found there, although it's usually for their cheese fondue. It claims some sort of Canadian heritage according to signs inside the shop, but exactly why, I just do not know!

The main selling point for this place is the cheap sets - weekday lunchtimes they have pasta sets for 800 yen to catch the office crowd, and weekends their lunch is a starter, main pasta, pizza or risotto, and a drink (including beer or wine!) for 1,150 yen, served until a very generous 5pm, after which the same menu goes up a mere 100 yen. Adding an extra 200 yen gives you a choice of three desserts.

I chose the tomato mozzarella starter, which featured some still slightly green and suspiciously crunchy tomato and what I suspect was Hokkaido mozzarella, thickly cut. It was closer to a cheddar in texture although the taste was mostly mozzarella. The oil, though, was good quality olive and delicately flavoured. If I'd not been expecting authentic mozzarella, I'd have not been as disappointed. My wife had the octopus starter, which she enjoyed, although there was just half a dozen rather thin-sliced pieces on the plate. The main course for me was a margarita pizza; they bake quite a deep-pan pizza with lots of juicy tomato to seep though into the base. Excellent stuff, although from their a la carte menu their ratatouille pizza is even better! Dessert was supposed to be cheesecake, but they were sold out, so I chose ice cream instead; my wife selected the panacota. Last time we had had a dessert set from them the pannacotta turned out to be a single bite-sized blob, so we didn't hold out much hope, but this time it was full-sized, extremely creamy serving. The ice cream, too, was not just a couple of scoops but a wee parfait topped with cream and pistachios, bottomed with cornflakes, and even a couple of small cubes of fruit thrown in for good measure.

The shop itself usually plays a lot of 80s US and UK pop (there must be a huge marketplace for supplying piped music to restaurants in Japan!) and taking a seat by the window gives a nice view onto the arcade for people watching. However, smoking and non-smoking is not segregated at all, and there is little effective ventilation, so it can get very smoky, though fortunately not this time. Also, be sure to pick up a stamp card when you pay - one stamp per 500 yen spent, and 10 stamps for a 500 yen discount, making it roughly 10% off. Service is efficient and flawless, but missing any extra effort, either sincere or fake, that most other places manage.

Value for money★★★★★

dangit! You are in Japan - I was licking my chops thinking of finding this place ... not that I would consume other reptilian like creatures!
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