A combination of wine bar, bottle shop and comfortable place to drop by for a bite to eat, Jip offers about 20 rotating wines by the glass and some 100 labels in the shop to take home or drink on the premises—but for an astonishing ¥1,500 corkage fee.
With its warm, timber tones, sprawling counter, red awning and parquetry, Jip screams “wine bistro.” Located just off Shinjuku-dori, Jip’s best seats—in summer, anyway—are by the entrance window.
Service is attentive but not overbearing, and the enthusiastic staff are happy to guide you through the menu. That said, there are disparities between staff members in terms of wine knowledge. Nevertheless, Jip takes its wine seriously, and there is little doubt that any hiccups will be ironed out as the enterprise finds its feet.
Some Japanese dishes are thrown in for good measure—kimpira, niku jaga, niku miso pasta—and typical bar snacks (olives, blue cheese canapés, mixed nuts, all circa ¥350-¥700) abound.
Much lighter than Western whites, the wine would certainly complement the restraint and austerity of Japanese food. But nevertheless, it also paired well with the garlic toast (¥350), and, surprisingly, with the marinated mushrooms (¥500), a verdant salad-like dish featuring slippery shimeji and other fungi.
Of the reds on offer, the oak-matured 2nd Chanter Wine Muscat Bailey A Plus (¥600) was the star of the evening. Produced with Burgundy vinification, the well-balanced and elegant drop hinted at Beaujolais and nicely set off the rustic ratatouille (¥700). It also partnered well with an amply-sized plate of grilled tuna and swordfish (¥1,100).
Jip is a welcome addition to the city’s drinking scene.