Eat, Drink, and Be Merry At The Sapporo Beer Garden
In a Nutshell:
- Where: Kessel Hall at the Sapporo Beer Garden, Sapporo, Hokkaido
- When: October 5, 2013
- *Notes: Website (English), the specialty of the house is Genghis Khan (barbequed mutton), Viking meals are at 2720 Yen for All-You-Can-Eat and 3770 for All-You-Can-Eat-And-Drink, the closest subway station is Hiyashi-kuyakusho-mae which is on the Toho Line.
Long before we ever set foot in Sapporo for the first time, I had known what I wanted our first meal there to be: Genghis Khan! This barbequed mutton dish is a local specialty and a must-have when visiting the city. And there was no need to ask the concierge for a restaurant recommendation. Multiple websites and blogs all said the same thing…..for great Genghis Khan, Sapporo Beer Garden is the place to go.
While there are a number of restaurants at Sapporo Beer Garden, we decided upon Kessel Hall which is on the second floor of the Genghis Khan Hall building. Interior shots of the restaurant made it look impressive with high ceilings, a huge dining area, and an enormous beer cauldron taking up a whole corner all by itself. The exterior of the building turned out to be equally handsome: a red brick structure covered in ivy. And the best part was the wonderful smell of cooking meat as we got closer and closer! We’d eaten nothing since breakfast in Osaka, so once we entered Genghis Khan Hall we were practically sprinting up the steps.
I was thrilled when the hostess seated us close to the beer cauldron. It was very large and shiny and I wondered how many bottles worth of beer could fit into it. All the other diners looked to be having a wonderful time and I couldn’t wait to order and start stuffing my face with Genghis Khan and Sapporo Beer!
The first thing our server did was to give us plastic bags to put our jackets and my purse in. This was to protect them from the mutton smoke that seemed to fill ever square inch of the restaurant. We scanned through the menu and very quickly made up our minds to both get the All-You-Can-Eat-And-Drink Viking Meal (3770 Yen each, 100 minute limit). This meal included two kinds of mutton cuts, fresh vegetables, and a small selection of drinks (some alcoholic, some not). There were a number of other items on the menu but they weren’t included in the Viking plan and we’d have to order those separately if we wanted them.
Once the food arrived, we started cooking the meat and vegetables on a grill that was set up in the middle of the table. We were given a diagram showing us how to arrange the food on the grill: veggies all around the circumference and meat in the middle. Then came our beers, Sapporo Draft for M and Yebisu Black for me. In truth, I am not that much of a beer drinker but it tasted SO good with the mutton! It didn’t take long before our faces were as red as everyone else’s in the room…..yes, the Japanese are notorious for the alcohol flush reaction. But we were having a wonderful time and somewhere along the way we lost count of how many plates of mutton and mugs of beer had been consumed.
And then, before we knew it, our 100 minutes were up, and it was time to pay our bill and stumble out in to the cold Sapporo night to catch a subway back to our hotel.