Mokichi Foods Garden The Bottom Line
Mokichi Foods Garden is a great, noisy, family-friendly (and smoke-free) place to go and have a load of lovely Shonan beer and pizzas. It’s not for the softly-spoken or people who want to be able to hear the yeast farting in the back room, but it is a fun dining and boozing experience in a unique building that is a curious mix of old Showa style and postmodern hipstery Portland aesthetic (but without the irony or pretension). This place is a definite recommendation from BeerTengoku, and can be formed up Voltron-style with Gold’n Bub and Beer Cafe Hopman for a Chigasaki beer crawl.
Mokichi Foods Garden Full Review
Mokichi Foods Garden (not to be confused with Mokichi Trattoria in Kagawa, or Mokichi Craft Beer in Fujisawa- though if you did it wouldn’t be the end of the world) can be found in Chigasaki, Kanagawa- just one stop on the train if you’re me, or 30 minutes from Yokohama on the Tokaido line if you’re not me (and most of you aren’t).
Get off the train, and resist the draw of Gold’n Bub to the south and Hopman to the west- we’ll go there later, young apprentice- and look at your map. Deceptively close, isn’t it? Just over there. Erm… behind this car park… down this road… how could you get a car down here?
Yes, this almost turned into another Joe Gets Lost story. Almost, but not quite. Why does this massive building have such poor access? I’ll tell you. Mokichi Foods Garden is located in a former barley mill, which started operation before the Second World War. As most buildings in Japan either aren’t built to last, or end up getting destroyed by natural disaster or the war, there are very few buildings standing that are more than fifty or sixty years old in this area. Most of the area around the restaurant building has been alternatively concreted, car parked or apartmented. As a result, what once was probably a direct road from station to mill has been jigsawed into a jumble of backroads and houses. I also think the barley mill might be the oldest building in the area (Mokichi Trattoria is similarly located in a 450-year old former residence- I love that Kumazawa Brewing has an aesthetic that they’re adhering to).
So. When you finally make your way here, the first thing you’ll notice is a big rusty milling machine outside. Get ready for a lot more bric-a-brac along these lines. Like I say, Kumazawa have a theme that they’re sticking to.
The barley mill Mokichi Foods Garden lives in is a long, one-storey building with a high, vaulted wooden ceiling and a concrete floor blackened and polished by the decades of use (now concealed under brand new wood decking). Wrench open the slab-like doors and you’ll see the small bakery on the left (we didn’t go in because we were absolutely gasping for a beer), even more reclaimed industrial equipment, and – I’m having to rewrite this, as they’ve undergone some major renovations since we visited in December- the wide-open dining area, all wood-decked to the eyeballs. On my second visit they were still adding final touches to the wooden terrace area, which looks like it will play host to some awesome summertime beer gardens.
Despite not having a reservation we were seated straight away, near the kitchens at the end of the main restaurant area. We could see the wood-fired pizza oven and didn’t have to bellow too loud to get the staff’s attention. Great! Since the renovation the restaurant is all on one level, which mightily confused me the second time round. Ever been gaslighted by a restaurant?! – if you take a look at the video we made below, you can see that the tables are on a mezzanine to our left. All gone now, which is a shame to lose the original flooring, but to be honest the pale wood really brightened up the place more than the blackened concrete did.
I really like the look of Mokichi Foods Garden. It’s unusual to find this kind of space in Japan- large, open, high-ceilinged. I enjoyed the atmosphere. I’ll say this though, it was pretty loud. There was a family of eight next to us, and a wedding reception in a private room behind us, and both were getting rowdy. Noise doesn’t bother me when I’m drinking imperial stouts, but I can imagine some people want a bit of quiet and, well, Saturday at Mokichi is not exactly a library (though there are a lot of books).
Shonan Beer is a funny one: you can only usually buy three of their beers in the shops (pilsner, alt and schwarz), and they’re quite expensive. So unless you’d been to one of their locations or had them at a festival, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they weren’t very imaginative and/or only have a handful of beers. But these assumptions are WRONG and INCORRECT. Actually I take back my previous comment: you are NOT forgiven for assuming Shonan are not a good brewery.
I’ve had a lot of coffee today.
Look at the menu you get when you sit down at Mokichi Foods (that extra “s” is starting to annoy me) Garden. Shonan Beer make basically every single one of the most popular styles of beer. And because the beers are in-house, the prices are great. You can get- and we did- a huge glass of imperial stout for under a thousand yen. Delicious. Then we had a double IPA and Rob was well-behaved enough to not confuse the staff by calling it a “Whipper”. We also ordered the American IPA and they arrived at the same time. Uh oh- our palates dulled by the imperial stout, we couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Oh! The humanity!
Rob ordered chips- check that square off if you’re playing BeerTengoku Bingo- and I ordered the fried onions. Both were great, especially the onions- not onion rings, they were thick chunks of onion coated in batter and went very well with the IPA. We didn’t neglect to order a pizza, of course. The thin-crust margherita was devoured with terrifying rapacity. If you know Mokichi or S-46 Beer Market, you’ll know what kind of stuff they have on the menu. Pizza, pasta, the like. It’s all good. Slightly on the pricey side, but you’ll be absolutely stuffed.
Mokichi Foods Garden Details
Open: Weekdays 11:30 – 22:00 (L.O 21:00) Weekends 11:30 – 23:00 (L.O. 22:00)
Closed: Every third Tuesday
Happy Hour: None
Homepage (in Japanese): http://www.kumazawa.jp/
How to Get to Mokichi Foods Garden
The closest station to Mokichi Foods Garden is JR Chigasaki that is located on the Tokaido Line and also the Sagami line, though that is a local country line through the countryside with one or two trains an hour. It’s about a ten minute walk from the north exit.