Kakigori in Tokyo

Kakigōri is a Japanese dessert made of shaved ice, traditionally flavoured with syrup, condensed milk or an, a sweet bean paste.

In Japan it is considered a fuubutsushi, a term used to designate items that evoke memories of specific seasons, in this case Summer. Other edible fuubutsushi representing Summer include sōmen (thin noodles made of wheat flour), hiyashi chūka (chilled ramen noodles) and watermelon.

There is an abundance of Kakigori shops in Tokyo so choosing my top 10 was difficult, but here they are, in alphabetical order.

  1. Bum Bun Blau Cafe with Beehive (Hatanodai)
  • A range of relatively light kakigori to match their famous spirolina infused ramen.
image1
Avocado, soy milk & caramel
  1. Cafe Lumiere (Kichijoji)
  • Flaming Kakigori with a baked Alaska exterior! I personally love the one with lots of berries in the centre, served with condensed milk, chocolate and berry sauce on the side.

image1Flaming mixed berries

  1. Gari-Garilège (Gaienmae)
  • Although this shop only operates when owner chef Kawate is out of town, I had to include it in my top 10 because Horio-san puts patisserie level cookies & meringue in the kakigori and the Florilège counter is, without doubt, the most beautiful spot you will ever find for the icy treat.

image1Pumpkin & Caramel sauce 

 

  1. Haimuru Coffee (Musashi-Koyama)
  • Another spot I frequent because I often want some hot, soupy & savoury ramen after consuming kakigori.

image2Strawberry Valentine’s 

 

  1. Kooriya Peace (Kichijoji)
  • The kakigori here are often a little too sweet for my taste but sometimes they do incredible flavours like the Orangette one pictured below, where you get a refreshing, tangy orange sauce with slight bitter tones, sweet light airy cream, orangette like strips of sunshine in chocolate coated candy form – truly a dream come true!

image3Orangette

  1. Kuriyakashi Kurogi (Hongo-Sanchome)
  • Michelin starred Jun Kurogi’s wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop designed by famed architect Kengo Kuma. Beautiful, massive kakigori that never fail to elicit equally massive guilt.

image1Mori-matcha

  1. Mamatoko (Nakanoshimbashi)
  • Run by a young kakigori loving lady. Portions are relatively small, which is great when you want to try a few flavours at once! Love the kinako & miso cream.

image1Kinako Miso Cream, Kuromame 

 

  1. Mayoor (Miyazakidai)                                                                                                                A little far out but if you enjoy milky kakigori, this is the place to go.

image1Sesame & Avocado milk 

  1. Minatoya* (Sasazuka)                                                                                                    Decadent oimont-blanc, portmanteau of Japanese “oimo” meaning (sweet) potato and “mont-blanc” available here alongside a range of fresh fruit kakigori and takoyaki for savoury breaks.

image2Oimont-blanc

  1. Shimokitachaen Ooyama* (Shimokitazawa)                                                              Matcha lovers should visit for the signature matcha espuma kakigori. Sakura is also a seasonal favourite in Spring.

image1

Sakura

Thanks for reading and I hope you get some nice kakigori this summer.

 

Bassanova @ Setagaya-ku

It’s getting colder here in Tokyo lately … ramen cravings strike again! Was just chillin’ in Shimo-kitazawa (eating totoro cream puffs… will show you that in my next post :p) and decided to walk over to Shindaita for ramen at Bassanova because I just saw it on TV in the morning (lol).IMG_5822.JPG

Bassanova is famed for their avant-garde flavours.Today I tried the Ninki #1 tondaku wadashi soba, their signature ramen with a “double broth” of tonkotsu (pork bone) and gyokai (fish). The noodles were Hakata-style – straight and thin, with a nice hard bite. This was topped with some extraordinarily thick pieces of menma and a beautifully grilled piece of chashu (egg was extra!). IMG_5826.JPG

I also tried the rather unique tom yum ramen, a Thai-influenced bowl which I thought tasted a little too lemongrassy at first but eventually got used to it though the broth was still a bit too salty and thick for my liking. I guess I should not have expected a tom yum goong base with lovely hints of prawn when it really only said tom yum. In any case, because the ingredients used were generally good (the wontons were nice and crunchy), I ended up finishing the bowl. I think I’d like to come back to try the green curry ramen that everyone seems to rave about! IMG_5828.JPG

Oh just an extra close up shot of the tom yum ramen.

IMG_5833.JPG

Bassanova 

Address: Hanegi 1-4-18, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

東京都世田谷区羽根木1-4-18 新代田たちばな荘 1F

Phone: 03-3327-4649

Yakiniku Jumbo Shirokane

I have been trying to go on a diet lately.

Purposely failing every single day … because what the heck I live in Tokyo and there are temptations everywhere.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… everyone knows Oscar Wilde speaks truth !

God, I love Yakiniku.

Here’s Yakiniku Jumbo Shirokane, one of my favourites these days.

IMG_5365

 

Started off with the yukhoe (ユッケ).

20140608-130740-47260103.jpg

 

This was well received because unlike at many other places, the sesame oil did not overpower the flavours of the fresh raw beef at all. 20140608-130740-47260432.jpg

Then I had my favourite noharayaki – a signature here at Yakiniku Jumbo. Basically 3 pieces of this thinly sliced sirloin and a bowl of rice is all I need to get a glimpse of heaven. I meant this literally and this means quite a lot for a physically bound human being.20140608-130741-47261451.jpg

 

The noharayaki is grilled and then dipped in egg, eaten like sukiyaki but probably better than most sukiyakis 😛 20140608-130741-47261787.jpg

The harami was also of very good quality – good for those who prefer beef with a bite over buttery beef. This contrasted nicely with the noharayaki which pretty much evaporated as soon as I put it in my mouth. 20140608-130740-47260762.jpg

The Tongue was also one of the best I’ve had in Tokyo so far 😀20140608-130741-47261099.jpg

Also had kalbi, sankaku, etc. etc. My dad ordered some pork knuckle dish which I did not take a photo of because I found it slightly gross. 20140608-130742-47262124.jpg

And the meal ended with a soothing gukbap. I prefer gukbap authentic Korean style but still have a habit of ordering gukbap after all my yakiniku meals. Anyway, I absolutely loved this place and would definitely come back again! IMG_5363

Yakiniku Jumbo 

Address:  Dai-ichi Azabu Bldg. 1F, 3-1-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Telephone: 03-5795-4129

Website: http://www.kuroge-wagyu.com/js/

Ristorante Honda

It has almost been 10 years since we moved into the Gaienmae area and I have always known about Ristorante HONDA. For no reason at all, we never gave it a visit despite the fact that it is literally 2 minutes walk away from home. You know how when a place is so close that you feel like because you can go there anytime, you end up putting it off until you suddenly realize that 10 years has gone by and that life is actually very short?

BAM! So while I was taking a pre-lunch stroll one day I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to walk in, strongly compelled to finally try Ristorante Honda for the first time. Upon contemplating the idea that I can theoretically die anytime, I realized that it would be a shame if I left the world without ever tasting the food at this Michelin starred restaurant just steps away from home. *Unfortunately it was completely full even on a random tuesday so without further delay I made a reservation for the next available date, which was 2 days later!

So finally I made it here and lunch began with grissini in different flavours + a nice blood orange cocktail 😀

20140608-130437-47077737.jpg

For appetizer, I had this beautiful carpaccio – chef Honda incorporates Japanese flavours into his Italian dishes; the sauce used in this dish for example had hints of ume (Japanese plum). A very refreshing way to whet the appetite 🙂 ! 20140608-130438-47078647.jpg

 

My mom had this duck dish which I tried a bit of. Intensely gamey and flavourful, I was hyped up for the other dishes to come!! 20140608-130439-47079420.jpg

Before our pastas arrived we were given this palate of homemade foccacia. Loved the rosemary, dried fruit and pine nuts combo!20140608-130439-47079833.jpg

I had the uni pasta that I’ve been seeing all over articles about Ristorante Honda. I think the photo explains itself – it was divine!! Choosing the uni pasta for part of the lunch course entails paying an extra 2500 yen but this was definitely worth it.

20140608-130440-47080984.jpg

My mom had the ika pasta which despite not incurring any extra charges, might have actually tasted even better than my uni pasta. I don’t know if it is just because the grass is always greener on the other side or whatever crap but I literally inhaled half her plate of pasta. I heard a girl from the next table try to order the same but by that time this pasta had already run out. She got a hotaru-ika pasta instead and … that looked EVEN BETTER! OMG. I decided that I will NEED to come back to get specifically that next time. lol.20140608-130440-47080692.jpg

For our secondo piatto mom had this juicy roast pork belly dish. This sauce was perfect for dipping some of the remaining bread I had.20140608-130441-47081564.jpg

And I had this panfried fish, juxtaposed to a giant clam 😀  Good stuff.

20140608-130442-47082017.jpg

20140608-130442-47082436.jpg

By this time I was quite full but there’s always room for dessert right? Specially after some camomile tea that clears my stomach in my imagination.

20140608-130443-47083958.jpg

My mom had this brulee mango ice bar. Literally a creamy mango ice cream bar with a crispy burnt caramlized later at the top like a creme brulee. This was yummilicious, and although it was creamy it wasn’t too rich combined with a bit of the tangy passionfruit sauce.20140608-130443-47083367.jpg

Aaand finally this was my eclair. I think I preferred the other dessert.20140608-130442-47082926.jpg

Overall outstanding cost-performance and I would definitely come back. I hate to say this but I seriously regret that I did not start coming here years ago. Time to make up for this 😀

Ristorante Honda 

Address: 2-12-35 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

107-0061 東京都港区北青山2-12-35 小島ビル1F

Tel: 03-5414-3723

Website: www.ristorantehonda.jp 

Morikawa もりかわ @ Akasaka

Finally on my food blog again.
To start off, here is a post about a kaiseki dinner I recently had at Morikawa.

Chef Morikawa practiced at the famous Kyo-Aji when he was younger and established this  kaiseki-ya of his own 15 years ago.

I had doubts at first – after looking at some of the photos bloggers have taken from Morikawa on tabelog, it did not strike me that a dinner here would be worth 40000yen+ per head, drinks excluded. I was, however, curious about it because on various occassions I’ve read people rave about how they are no longer impressed by food anywhere else after eating at Morikawa. The folks here, like at many high-end traditional Japanese restaurants, were also famed for rejecting first-time customers -reservations are strictly accepted only from those who have been introduced by regulars.

I supposed I must have been very lucky that despite knowing no one who ever came to this restaurant, I somehow found their # and managed to book seats for both my friend and I. well, I won’t complain 😀

Morikawa

NOTE: Photos are actually NOT ALLOWED. OOPS. I simply went with a friend who happened to be a skilled spy-cameraman. Shh!

20140603-115802-43082208.jpg

From Left to right, Top to bottom

1. Soramame, Uni + Crab Jelly, Kaibashira & Caviar  2. Awabi

3. Otsukuri : Aori Ika + Ise ebi 4. Shirako Chawanmushi 5. Grilled nodoguro

20140603-115802-43082672.jpg

From left to right, top to bottom

1. Just a nice pic 😛 2. Okoze karaage 3. Okoze Ankimo 4. Okoze karaage 5. Somen

6. Chimaki 7. Rice 8. Dessert orange jelly 9. Mochi

There were a couple more dishes inbetween that we did not manage to capture, but all in all my favourite dishes have to be the grilled nodoguro & the okoze karaage. It is difficult to assimilate this from my spy photos but honestly, I don’t think grilled fish can get much better than this! The atmosphere was however a little too intense for me to truly enjoy the meal at the beginning….. no regrets though! 

Morikawa 

Address: 東京都港区赤坂3-21-6

Phone: (private)