It just so happened that we stumbled upon VEGa Café Wine Bar on a recent Monday evening, which is when husband and wife team Paul and Keiko present their Wine Viking Night—all you can drink for two hours for ¥2,000 (Mondays only). Needless to say, we paid up and got on the clock.
The Viking system is simple: anything on the regular wine list with a little green dot is fair game. Green means go eco, so we kicked it off with the organic Era Grillo from Sicily. It was dutifully dry, but with none of the expected citrusy zest, leaving us rather unfulfilled. With more wines to choose from and a two-hour limit, we quickly moved on to some reds.
We opted for two different glasses from the Aussie vineyard Lincoln Estate. One was a robust Cabernet Sauvignon with subtle overtones of blackcurrant and cherry, the other a deep Shiraz hinting at plum and oak. Both were dependable, workman-like reds: easy on the palate and sufficiently fruity to enjoy with or without nibbles.
A variety of foods are available from ¥500 such as gyoza, vegetable sticks and Buffalo wings, plus pizza from ¥800.
Owner Paul has set up iTunes DJ via their Wi-Fi system, so smart-phoners can put in requests and get their personal jukebox on—you can even vote for others’ requests to push them up the list.
The perfect time, perhaps, to try the draft Sapporo Black Label, available for ¥500 with or without head if you are not enamored of the thick foamy cream common around town. They also have a selection of Australian bottled beers (VB, XXXX and Crown Premium) as well as Hoegaarden, Chimay Blue, Guinness and others, all for ¥800. Shochu, daiginjou sake, whisky, tequila and others weigh in from ¥500. Bottled water is free of charge—and it’s best to keep one in front of you.