Walking into Gonpachi aka the Kill Bill Restaurant in Tokyo, the first thing that came into my head, as a big grin enveloped my face was Da Da Da! from Tomoyasu Hotei’s song, “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”.
Kill Bill Vol.1 is one of my favourite movies and I wasn’t going to visit Tokyo without visiting Gonpachi, the restaurant that inspired the House of Blue Leaves, the setting for “that” fight scene – the Bride v the Crazy 88s.
The House of Blue Leaves might have been a movie stage in Shanghai but from the moment you step inside Gonpachi, the inspiration is evident throughout. It really does fell like you’ve just “stepped into Kill Bill”.
The food here is modern Izakaya that’s geared towards a Western palette with a price premium to match – not surprising given it’s status as a destination restaurant for tourists. The ratio of tourists to locals was considerably higher than anywhere else I’d eaten at in Japan.
I had performed my research before hand and, as suspected, the food at Gonpachi isn’t the high point. A few highs, many more lows, and a lot of middling options seemed to be the general consensus. I had a long list of places that I wanted to eat at and in any case, my wife and I had just eaten a great meal at the brilliant Sake haven Maishin so we decided to stick to a cocktail (ok 2 cocktails) each. The cocktails were, to our surprise, quite reasonably priced (between ¥480 – ¥680) given that Gonpachi is a tourist spot and they were quite nice too.
Kill Bill awesomeness aside, Gonpachi can stand on its own two feet when it comes to the design side of things. Two levels of tables and booths and a large open kitchen with counter seating. It’s all very rustic with a heavy use of wood and bamboo.
Here’s the fight scene just in case you were inspired to watch it again. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’re a fan of Kill Bill Vol.1 but on the off chance that you haven’t seen the film be warned – there’s lots of violence and blood in the clip below.
I left Gonpachi with the same big grin that appeared on my face when I first walked in and have no hesitation in recommending a visit if you’re a fan of Kill Bill Vol.1, or even if you’re just looking for a place that’s full of atmosphere in which to have a drink or two. Given the amazing quality and relative affordability of food elsewhere in Tokyo however, I’d recommend eating elsewhere – my Tokyo Food Guide is full of tips and suggestions.
1 Chome-13-11 Nishiazabu