If you're after sushi, tempura or yakitori, you head for a specialist restaurant. The same goes for eel, tonkatsu pork or wagyū beef. But what if you'd rather mix it up at dinnertime with a more eclectic selection of foods? No problem. Just head to a good izakaya.

Even a nondescript local tavern is likely to offer a fair range of dishes. But find one that prides itself on its kitchen and you will eat both well and widely. Nor does it need to be pricey: Nakamura Shokudo is testament to that.

Not that it looks much like an izakaya. Hidden away in a dead-end alley on the outer edge of Akasaka (almost as close to Nogizaka Station), it has no red lantern hanging by the door and no wafting smoke or raucous sounds of inebriation inside. Instead it is simple, modern, spacious, well lit, welcoming and eminently affordable.