The waitresses are dressed in traditional garb, there’s Tokyo ‘J-Pop’ on the stereo, and handwritten specials such as grilled ox tongue supplement the menu – so you know that Ribon is the real oriental deal. ‘Big Ben’ bento boxes are tailored to the lunchtime crowd, while legions of Japanese businessmen are often ensconced here late into the evening, eating sushi and sashimi, knocking back shots of booze or diligently working their way through the phone book-sized selection of karaoke classics in the private rooms downstairs. The decor might be shabby, but you come here for the food, including grilled salted salmon belly, light-as-a-feather prawn tempura, sukiyaki prepared tableside or hotpots packed with wafer-thin pork leg in a fiery broth. Depending on the weather, round off with a shot of hot, cold or frozen saké.
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