Tokyo standing peperoncino restaurant turns our writer into a master risotto chef

Restaurant that specialises in one type of pasta also offers a surprising (and genius) side dish.

Our writer Seiji Nakazawa is a big fan of three things — he loves music, he loves anime, and he loves peperoncino. Italian speakers will know peperoncino as the catch-all term for chili peppers, but here in Japan, peperoncino is more associated with a kind of pasta dish, like napolitan or carbonara.

Japanese peperoncino doesn’t stray too far from its Italian roots, though, and is a simple pasta dish typically made using garlic and red pepper flakes.

Peperoncino is usually a staple at any restaurant selling pasta in Japan, but as Seiji wandered the streets of Tokyo, with his stomach starting to get those familiar pangs of hunger, he started to daydream about a restaurant that sold exclusively peperoncino. That sure would be awesome, he thought.

It didn’t take long for his dream to manifest into reality, as right before Seiji’s eyes was a restaurant that sold just what he was after — exclusively peperoncino pasta! Not only that, but it was a standing peperoncino pasta restaurant.

Seiji was used to seeing standing sushi bars, or standing soup bars even, but this was the first time he’d ever seen a standing pasta bar — and not just that, one that specialised in his beloved peperoncino. Without a second thought, he entered the restaurant.

There were seventeen different types of peperoncino dish on the menu, which was a little intimidating for a first-timer like Seiji. The waiter recommended going for a basic, no-frills peperoncino (which was a steal at just 600 yen [US$4.49]), but Seiji decided to go for the most popular dish on the menu, the Genovese-style Shrimp Peperoncino (900 yen), which was advertised as having a “classic taste”.

Seiji wasn’t sure if the pesto-y taste of a Genovese sauce would go well with the spicy kick of a peperoncino, but his mouth immediately started watering as the waiter placed the dish on the table.

The spaghetti was slightly thicker than the ones Seiji was used to, and the sauce was tasty and filling. The genovese sauce was less pesto-like and had a salty basil flavour that went well with the peperoncino flavour.

Seiji could also add his own toppings and seasonings, like powdered cheese, garlic, pepper, and shiso (perilla leaf). Seiji added some garlic and cheese. This peperoncino was simple yet comforting, and he loved it!

But even as he slurped up his last noodle and looked down at his empty bowl, he knew that the best was yet to come…

… as each dish at Tokyo Peperoncino comes with a free side of rice. So now he could enjoy his meal all over again, just with rice instead of pasta!

He added the rice to the leftover sauce, making sure to get it nice and covered…

… and voila. Makeshift risotto! Delicious!

This extra bowl of rice would surely go well with some of the other flavours of peperoncino on offer, like carbonara and curry, and Seiji was excited to come back and try more combinations.

Anyone wanting to try out their pasta/risotto dream combination should head down to Tokyo Peperoncino, but be aware that the restaurant is only open for a limited time during the day; specifically, during lunch time.

After that, you’ll have to get your pasta fix from somewhere else.

Restaurant Information

Tokyo Peperoncino / 東京ペペロンチーノ
Address: Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Hongo 2-39-2
Open: 11:00a.m. – 210:00p.m.
Closed weekends

Images © SoraNews24
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