Yoyogi Uehara is a neighborhood rather known for its residential and upscale surroundings than for its culinary scene. Apart from the usual izakayas (bars) and local fast food chains—home to any Tokyo neighborhood—Yoyogi Uehara station however also houses a restaurant and lounge, which serves as an end destination in itself. Not only is it a favorite with the neighborhood residents, it is also a well-known dining spot for many not living in the area.
The Fireking Café, located on a street corner on the southern side of the station, is one of the area’s permanent gems and known for its selection of tasty Southeast Asian fusion dishes that are served in an elegant setting. All dishes are presented beautifully and are literally mouthwatering. The shrimp tossed in avocado and tartar sauce, with a hint of garlic, is one of my favorite starters, as well as the scallop Carpaccio. They also have a selection of skewers on the menu (or ‘satay’) that are offered in chicken, beef or shrimp. The starters are priced between 850 - 1,300 yen.
The main dishes include a wide selection of noodle and rice dishes as well as curries. The spicy fried flat noodle dish is very tasty although a tat spicy for my taste, while the Balinese noodle soup is milder and reminds me more of a Vietnamese Pho soup. The Indonesian fried mee goreng is one of my favorites. Rice dishes include Indonesian fried rice and the flavor boasting curry fried rice—for those that want to treat their taste buds to all kinds of wonderful spices at the same time. The curries they serve taste like they have been simmered for hours (the taste is not to be confused with the Japanese curries) and I would definitely recommend the coconut stewed chicken and the green curry. You will find yourself finishing all of these dishes, and may even be caught using a spoon to scrape out the remains of the delicious sauces! Prices of the mains are affordable and hover between 1,050 and 1,500 yen.
The Fireking Café is always bustling, with the monthly changing art exhibitions contributing to a slightly edgy and hip feel to the place. You can certainly also just drop by and enjoy a relaxed drink—take a seat in the comfortable black sofas in the dining area, the lounge chairs behind the window, or jump on one of the ruby-red bar stools at the bar counter. The bar, with an extensive array of jade green cups and tableware stalled out against the wall, and the stylishly lit counter are eye catching and ‘urge’ passersby to drop in. The drinks are the pricier items on the menu, with beer and cocktails starting at 840 yen, while teas and coffees are offered in the 500 – 900 yen range.
Although it may be a little ride to the Fireking Café for some of you on the Chiyoda line, it will certainly be well worth the trip!