Japan's Dragon Quest fever

An investigation of the RPG phenomenon, straight from Tokyo

Last year Japanese bar chain Pasela opened a themed Dragon Quest restaurant in Roppongi. Luida’s Bar isn’t massive – we spent most of the evening negotiating our elbow out of other people’s noodles – but it packs in a whole lotta fan love. Greeted by Luida (decked out in a Quest smock) and a wall of replica swords, it becomes clear we’ve entered the Bizarro World version of Planet Hollywood. Sly Stallone would implode if he discovered this place even existed, let alone visited it.

DQIX’s bar theme is played non-stop, a happy, clappy, thigh-slapping number with a particularly infectious line in accordions. Infectious like Ebola. Koichi Sugiyama’s tunes were designed to work in minute-long bursts, not be piped directly into the skull for two solid hours. Now we understand why the players in Dragon Quest bars stare endlessly into the abyss repeating the same line of dialogue. They’re not stupid; they’ve just suffered a full-on Questgasm.

Although music may be the food of love (or irritation in this case), luckily some real food turned up and chomping sounds soon drowned out the psychosis-inducing loop. Eating was punctuated with chances to download DQ treats to your DS, which explained the shifty dude hanging around outside, waiting to drink in the wireless goods.

As for the food itself? Every dish is themed around Dragon Quest, and it’s probably best to let the pictures below do the talking. Needless to say, two hours later we were rocking a +10 belly.


Above: Spaghetti with tomato sauce, garnished with diced Funghouls – or mushrooms to normal people. Thankfully, a whole lot less toxic than the real thing


Above: This meat lump is meant to be Cyclops’ club. Debate raged over what meat the lump was constructed from. Although looking like a turkey drumstick it tasted of ham. Either way: +5 meat sweats all round, with a bonus +5 if you were already packing the Mystical Flab of Lion Bar


Above: Quest’s grinning incendiary boulder, Rockbomb, is brought to life as a potato/nut croquette. The flaming butter fuse was nice, but the waitress misinterpreted our impressed coos as an invitation to serve an endless flow of the things


Above: Language barrier prevented full comprehension of this spaghetti carbonara. The sauce lump is meant to be a bunny tail – as worn by saucier warriors. As for the horn? Our waiter suggested ‘unicorn’, but there are no unicorns in Quest. The purple powder is just as mysterious and made our insides itch


Above: Fried crab claws from giant crabs. That is all


Above: A Healslime salad. The stand-in for our mystical tendriled friend? Jellyfish. A contradictory meat, for sure. Gooey and yet somehow gritty, it has the texture of Stretch Armstrong. Stretch Armstrong with a distinct briny tang


Above: Hefty tankards provide beery elixir – ideal for washing the taste of the Cyclops’ mystery meat from the palate


Above: Official Dragon Quest wine. Temporarily boosting funniness, the party suffers depleted stats the next day. Too much may also lead to +11 pulling your pants down in a public place


Above: Adorable Slime-shaped curry buns slowly perspire in a glass case. Can’t say if they were any good or not – we’d entered a meat-induced food coma by that point in the evening

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