A DAY of skiing or riding Niseko’s powder is a surefire recipe for a huge appetite. And sometimes, small plates of delicate Japanese food just aren’t the answer to a table full of famished stomachs, aching muscles and festive moods.
So, where do the locals go for hefty portions that can satisfy any level of hunger and taste? Wild Bill’s – the local Tex-Mex restaurant and bar where burritos are served with a spicy side of good times, and where the cocktails are accompanied by unofficial disclaimers.
Nestled in the heart of Hirafu in the Upper Village, Wild Bill’s is a warm, friendly establishment, lovingly operated by equally warm locals, Brett and Takayo. Together they have created a place where everybody knows your name – or will by the end of the night – and a place to rest your legs and refuel by the fire.
Upon entering Wild Bill’s, you’ll instantly feel at home. You can sit by the bar, pool table, dart boards, or up on the mezzanine level. The drinks menu is extensive, and the range of strong to extra-strong spirits and cocktails or draft beer are the perfect accompaniment to the tasty selection of Tex-Mex fare. Or you can just come in for a drink and enjoy the antics that play out around you. Note: Just one drink doesn’t exist at Bill’s – you’re bound to stay for at least five. Oh, and make sure you order at least one ‘Hachi Special’.
On this occasion, we decided to sit upstairs and watch the atmosphere below. We whet our appetites with two of Hirafu’s tastiest margaritas and tucked into a Burrito, Fajita and Taco Salad. These dishes were chosen over the Quesadilla, Philly Steak Sandwich and the Nachos Grandola, which we have all had before and can attest to their hunger-breaking ability. Most meals on the menu come with your choice of meat (chicken, beef, pork and shrimp) and a side of rice, fries and/or salad.
If not for the tasty food, you should test out Wild Bill’s for the unrivalled atmosphere of a beautiful log cabin with a fireplace, which was once, ironically, a doctor’s surgery. Brett, the owner, is a doctor of sorts; he specialises in mending broken hearts, aching limbs, hangovers and life in general with his specialist concoctions. Both Brett and Takayo welcome anyone into their ‘home’, and offer unconditional love, great Tex-Mex fare and drinks every night.
Each visit to Wild Bill’s results in a story – you might remember it, or you will more than likely be reminded of it in the morning by friends and their ‘colourful’ photos. Either way, you’ll recall a great time where you mixed with the Niseko locals and experienced where they go for a satisfying meal and a generously poured beverage.