In the last few years, game meats have become quite popular in Japan. With winter approaching, Shinjuku san-chome restaurant Pan to Sākasu (パンとサーカス Bread and Circus) is offering 12 kinds of carefully selected natural game and rare meats. Among them are Yezo deer, Sika deer, wild boar, badger and brown bear.

Every year between November 15th and February 15th, the authorities in Japan lift the ban on hunting and permit hunters to shoot certain wild animals. They justify the cull by pointing out that the animals caused damage to agricultural products amounting to ¥15.8 billion in 2018.

Although wild animals are killed in significant numbers every winter, most of them are not eaten, so the meat goes to waste. Bread and Circus is determined to put all that good meat to good use. In the process, they hope the public will become more familiar with the health benefits of eating jibie (the Japanese word for wild game, from the French gibier).

Game meats are healthy and nutritious and give people the extra energy they need to power their way through the winter months. Not only are game meats packed with nutrients, but they’re also high in high-quality animal protein, which is an indispensable ingredient for building muscle.

Game meats are also great at boosting your mucous membranes and immune cells, which produce antibodies that protect you from viruses and bacteria. And they’re low in calories, so they are recommended for those on a diet. Best of all, they taste delicious.

So what’s on the menu at Bread and Circus?

First up is the house grill, an assortment of four types of game: Ezo deer, badger, wild boar and bear. They’re baked to maximize the taste of the meat. The grill is substantial and costs ¥4700.

Bread and Circus also serve venison from Ezo deer from Hokkaido. Rich in iron and low in fat, it has a smooth taste like beef.

Their wild boar meat comes from Kyushu. The balance between rich and lean meat and melting fat is exquisite. Compared to pork, wild boar has 3-4 times more vitamin B2 and iron.

Their warming and nourishing bear meat comes from Hokkaido. Bear is a rare and very popular game with a strong flavour. It contains collagen, which is said to have a beautiful effect on the skin.

Bread and Circus prepares the following dishes in small batches, so you would do well to order in advance.

Their deer boudin noir is a black sausage made from deer’s blood, which has long been used in Chinese medicine. It has a rich, succulent taste, reminiscent of wild boar and costs ¥900.

Next up is Bread and Circus’ wild boar, which is prepared by slowly roasting chunks of boar meat to condense the flavour. It’s a surprisingly moist dish and costs ¥800.

This is badger bacon. The meat is salted and left to smoke overnight. It’s completely different from pork bacon. Due to the small amount of meat that can be obtained from one animal, badger meat is quite rare. It is reputed to be the most delicious of the game meats, being characterized by a strong, greasy taste. It costs ¥850.

You might also like to try Bread and Circus’ brown bear stew. It is gently simmered to give it a soft, melty texture and has a delicious taste that warms your body. Enjoy it with a crispy pie for ¥1800.

Finally, why not try the wild ravioli? Each tiny parcel contains the minced meat of various types of domestic game. It’s flash-fried to give it a crispy texture and has a strong, gamey flavour. It’s served with seasonal vegetables and cheese cream sauce and costs ¥1200.

You’ll find Bread and Circus at Tokyo Sankei Building 4F, 3-3-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. It’s a five-minute walk from JR Shinjuku station and a two-minute walk from Shinjuku San-chome subway station.

The restaurant is open for dinner every day between 1700 and 2330. It is open for lunch between 1200 and 1500 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Rest assured, the management has gone to great lengths to ensure that the risk of transmitting the coronavirus is kept to the absolute minimum.

Takeout and delivery are available until 2200.

For more details, see here or call the restaurant on 03-6457-8532.

By - George Lloyd.