Charles Spreckley

Charles Spreckley

Co-founder, Bespoke Tokyo


Originally published on on February 2010

Photo by Kohji Shiiki

Charles Spreckley is the perfect guy to ask for advice about eating and drinking in Tokyo. During his two stints as the editor of Metropolis (1998-1999 and 2005-2007), the 33-year-old West Sussex native was responsible for expanding and enriching our coverage of the local dining scene.These days, as co-founder of personal concierge company Bespoke Tokyo, Spreckley guides his elite guests on “Urban Safaris” of Tokyo’s top bars and restaurants. We asked him to share some of his insider’s tips…

Favorite places to eat in Tokyo

Bespoke Tokyo clients always want to have top-notch sushi, and one place that I can recommend without hesitation is Taku in Nishi-Azabu. There’s none of that snooty sushi master nonsense here. The chefs are polite and professional and aren’t afraid to try something new. When our clients demand something more casual, we sometimes go to Unosato, an understated and alluringly hard-to-find izakaya in Shibuya with a great sake selection and simple food to go with it. Katsuyoshi on Meiji Dori in Shibuya is my favorite for tonkatsu, especially in autumn when they serve kaki-furai (deep-fried oysters) the size of my fist. I never used to like Chinese food much, but have recently discovered that I do at five-star hotels. Sense at the Mandarin Oriental in Nihombashi is out of this world. At the other end of the spectrum, I’m never happier than scoffing gyoza and cold beer at Gyoza Lou in Harajuku.

Sense - Courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Favorite places to drink

Night Safaris exploring the Tokyo nightlife are among our most popular services. Q is a very cool, very discreet standing bar in Ebisu that customers always love. A little further down the alphabet, S in Shibuya is currently one of my favorite hangouts. For wine, the selection of bottles from New Zealand at Aotea Rangi is superb, especially with a serving of mussels. And some friends’ regular Bloody Mary & Burger nights at Beacon in Aoyama are always suitably debauched. I’m a sucker for a martini with a view, and for that Two Rooms down the street is hard to beat, especially sitting outside on the terrace in spring, preferably with an order of scallops.


Favorite places to shop

The supermarket in the basement of Meguro station is excellent value for produce, fish and meat; and the Plates Italian bakery next door practically gives away bags of unsold ciabatta and focaccia rolls after 8pm—perfect for making sandwiches for lunch the next day. I cook a lot of Thai food, and the Asian Road supermarket in Takadanobaba is the most convenient place to buy good ingredients for that.

Favorite restaurant in the world

This probably wouldn’t rate on most critics’ radars, but for me it’s a truly special place. It’s the Duke of Cumberland pub located in a tiny hamlet on a hill in West Sussex in the south of England. As a child, I used to walk there with my family for Stilton and ham toasted sandwiches. In the last year or so they also got themselves (at last!) a chef who really knows how to cook. In summer, you can select your trout from one of the ponds in the garden and enjoy a perfect warm summer evening with a pint of local ale in hand.

Address Book

Bespoke Tokyo

  • Taku 2-11-5 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5774-4372. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am, closed Sun and hols. Nearest stn: Roppongi.
  • Unosato 36-11 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3496-2087. Open Mon-Fri 5:30-11:30pm, Sat and hols 5-11:30pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Shibuya.
  • Katsuyoshi B1F, 3-9-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5485-1123. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun and hols 11:30am-10pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya.
  • Sense 37F Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, 2-1-1 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3270-8188. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-10pm. Nearest stn: Nihombashi.
  • Gyoza Lou 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3406-4743. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-4:30am, Sun and hols 11:30am-10:30pm. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.
  • Q 4-4-2 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5793-5591. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-4am, closed Sun and hols. Nearest stn: Ebisu, east exit.
  • S 1F, 37-16 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5452-0277. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-midnight, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Shibuya.
  • Aotea Rangi 1-21-18 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3447-1496. Open Wed-Mon 6pm-midnight, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Ebisu, east exit.
  • Beacon 1-2-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6418-0077. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-5pm and 6-10pm (bar open until 11pm), Sun 11:30am-3pm (brunch) and 6-9pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya.
  • Two Rooms 5F AO Bldg, 3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3498-0002. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2am, Sun 11:30am-10pm. Nearest stn: Omotesando.
  • Meguro station supermarket B1 Atre A-Kan, 2-16-9 Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-ku. Tel: 03-6408-8400. Open daily 10am-9pm. Nearest stn: Meguro.
  • Plates Delicatessen B1 Atre B-Kan, 2-16-9 Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-ku. Tel: 03-6408-8453. Open daily 10am-9pm. Nearest stn: Meguro.
  • Asian Road 1-17-9 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-5155-6528. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sun and hols. Nearest stn: Takadanobaba.
  • Duke of Cumberland Henley Nr. Midhurst, W. Sussex, UK. Tel: +44 1428-652-280.