Summer in Japan means a flourishing of rooftop beer gardens on almost every department store or hotel. But a lot of these beer gardens are simply more about the beer than the garden. Thanks to a renewal last year, Seibu Ikebukuro department store has gone lusciously green on its rooftop, and has even incorporated an impressionist twist, recreating Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”—complete with pond, bridge, and weeping willows.
Add to this backdrop a spacious grass field with lounge chairs by the side and walls, covered with green climbers at the food stalls and bar, as well as a bar counter surrounding a round water body. You have now entered Seibu’s fittingly-named La Terrasse. In line with the upcoming Olympics, there is a huge 56-meter-long, 11-meter-high colorful Brazil-themed wall-art mural right in front of the fountain area that will be on display until the end of June.
There’s also the usual beer garden barbeque menu, as well as a variety of food stalls offering everything from pizza to Shanghai Xiaolongbao. Guests of La Terrasse can choose from square tables or cushy round sheltered tables reserved for guests.
As the menu suggests, La Terrasse’s specialty is “Oysters & International.” The source of its oysters vary according to season, to get the plumpest options. The cuisine for this month is Spanish.
The menu is bistro-style, and the Seasonal Set (¥1,500) consists of a main, salad, and side dish, with three mains to choose from: a pasta, pizza, or gratin. The gratin has oysters and chorizo sausage, while the gratin incorporates potatoes instead of rice, as is the international standard. It was an interesting combination to have oyster in a gratin, and the oysters were decently large. Along with a side of baguette with tomato purée and salad, the set was acceptable for its price in terms of taste and volume.
One can’t have a Spanish meal without tapas, and there are around eight tapas on the menu with the occasional special, which might be Kaki Fry (“oyster fry”) at ¥700 for a plate of two plump and crunchy breaded oysters served with a small pot of tartare sauce. The Ika Frite (“fried squid”), at ¥500, was decently crunchy and the squid not too chewy, great with beer. The Shrimp and Mushroom Ajillo (¥600) is a tad small in terms of serving, shrimp, and mushroom size, so it’s better to stick to oyster-related items such as the grilled oysters (four for ¥1,200). The drinks menu is somewhat limited, offering local craft and regular beers by the bottle.
La Terrasse. 9F Seibu Ikebukuro, 1-28-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Open 10am-10pm; LO 9:30pm. Tel: 03-3981-0111. Nearest station: Ikebukuro.