Dominica’s soup curry is a fine example of the genre - spicy and hearty, generously portioned with meat and vegetables in equal measure. It’s no wonder this Kyobashi restaurant is so popular with local office workers!
Special Chicken & Vegetable Soup Curry with Crispy Grilled Cheese. - image © Florentyna Leow
The area around Tokyo Station, Kyobashi included, is a salaryperson hotspot. Every day around half past eleven, without fail, scores of white-shirted office workers file out of hundreds of buildings in little groups in search of lunch. Queues outside otherwise innocuous-looking restaurants grow longer and longer as noon approaches. If you want to have lunch at a good restaurant in this area without queuing, arriving within 15 minutes of opening time is mandatory. This is exactly the case at Sapporo Dominica Soup Curry.
Free small salad with an onion-heavy dressing served at lunch. - image © Florentyna Leow
Soup curry is exactly what the name suggests - an eminently drinkable curry. While most reasonably-priced Japanese dishes are heavy on the carbs and light on the vegetables, soup curry one of the rare one-dish Japanese meals containing what I like to call a fuckton of vegetables. A veritable rainbow of roasted vegetables go into the broth, along with a central meat of some kind - usually bone-in chicken, pork belly, or a minced beef patty (a ‘hamburger,’ as it’s known here.)
A bilingual menu. - image © Florentyna Leow
I love soup curry for many reasons - the abundance of vegetables, the hot spicy soup that’s perfect for any weather, but most of all being able to customize the variables to my liking. At most soup curry restaurants, you’ll have a choice of base soups, spice levels, amount of rice, and additional toppings.
Halfway through. - image © Florentyna Leow
Dominica’s soup curry perfectly respectable example of the genre. The soup is on the thinner side rather than thick with onions; the vegetables have been grilled or sautéed separately, retaining their natural sweetness; the chicken is a drumstick-and-thigh piece on the bone (crucial for flavour) and meets little resistance from my fork. The vegetables change from season to season; here we have baby corn, onion, mizuna leaves, broccoli, okra, bell peppers, pumpkin, daikon radish, potato, aubergine, and more.
The yolk of the soft-boiled egg is beautifully soft and gooey. - image © Florentyna Leow
Not all soup curry places offer very spicy options. This place does - you can choose your poison from levels 1-10. If you are fairly accustomed to spicy food, Level 7 will have you sniffling. (I teared up while eating this.) Level 5 and below are safer bets if you’re not used to spicy food.
Crispy grilled cheese - like a lace cutout - image © Florentyna Leow
There are any number of toppings to choose from. The one you need to order is ‘crispy grilled cheese,' which is not a broiled covering of molten cheese on the soup, but more like a lacy, paper-thin cheese wafer. Think of the crusty edges of the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve had. The crispy edges of a corner slice of of lasagna. The top side of chicken Parmesan. You could order a curry without the grilled cheese topping. But why would you?
Half-soggy crispy grilled cheese. - image © Florentyna Leow
I like fishing it out as soon as it arrives - leave it in there too long and it soaks up too much soup, collapsing in a gooey, spicy, cheesy mess. Much better to break it off bit by bit throughout your meal, soaking it in the soup as needed for that perfect balance between rice, crispy cheese and spicy, meaty soup. This way, each mouthful is different. As I write this, I’m still thinking about the contrasting textures of crispy cheese, rice, gooey egg, broth…
The restaurant facade. - image © Florentyna Leow
Dominica is in salaryman central, which means that workers start filtering in around half past 11, only becoming busier as the hour ticks on. Service is efficient and pleasant, and turnover is reasonably fast. If you’re by yourself, you’ll likely be seated at the counter before other groups.
Inside Dominica. - image © Florentyna Leow
Another bonus: if you have a late lunch between 3pm - 6pm on weekdays, they’ll give you a free extra topping (obviously, you should have the grilled cheese), a free drink, and a JPY200 discount when you pay. If that isn’t a bargain in this part of town, I don’t know what is.
The stone plaque you walk past. - image © Florentyna Leow
Directions: Take exit 3 of Kyobashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. Go up the escalators and you’ll see a mont bell shop in front of you. Walk past it. Cross the road and take the second right before the large overpass. You should see a large stone plaque on your left as you’re turning in. The restaurant is on the second floor of the building at the end of the block.
Name in Japanese:
3-8-11 Nihonbashi, Chūō, Tokyo 103-0027
東京都中央区京橋3-4-1 ＴＭ銀座ビル ２Ｆ
Mon - Fri: 11:00am - 10:00pm (L.O. 9:30pm)
Weekends and public holidays: 11:00am - 9:00pm (L.O. 8:30pm)
Subway: 4-minute walk from Exit 3 of Kyobashi Station on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, or 3-minute walk from Exit 6 of Ginza-Itchome Station on Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line.
Train: 7-minute walk from Kyobashi Exit of Yurakucho Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
:: Read customer reviews of DOMINICA on TripAdvisor
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