So I’m updating this blog again because I really cannot sleep. I’ve been obsessed with Nippori lately so today I just want to tell you about this Octopus restaurant I randomly found.They’re really obsessed with octopus here.
Upon seeing a photo of the ten-don from Kaneko Hannosuke I already decided that I would hike up mountains and swim through seas just to try it. I know this sounds stupid. But feeling reckless today I went here and did something almost as absurd – wasting 2 hours of life in the cold alone :p Was it worth it?
For those not keen on ebi (prawn) or anago (sea eel), kisu fish (Japanese whiting) was offered as a substitute. Having waited for so long I felt hungry enough to order the Kisu as an extra rather than substitute. Here is my ten-don! (the only thing on the menu)
Guess how much it was? 950 yen. (+150yen for the kisu) That is exceptionally cheap for a ten-don of this quality with so much seafood.
My first bite was the scallop kakiage which was juicy and sweet :p Sauce was nice with a hint of yuzu (they even put a small piece of yuzu peel on the anago to decorate it. that’s quite a lot of attention to detail for a fast food priced ten-don :p )
and THIS is what drew me here! the tempura egg.
Final verdict? This was far from the best ten-don I’ve ever had (which for the record, was done by a place called Shirou years ago but the chef has gone and the ten-don there is no longer good. I’d really appreciate it if anyone can tell me where the chef went because it seems that all the staff there have been replaced!) However, for 950 yen I really have no complaints and would have recommended it to budget travellers had there not been a queue.
There is in fact a sibling store in Akasaka (金子屋) which appears to do the same ten-don minus the queue…….. I’ll have to try that later to see if it is as good as this original store! 🙂
Other chains (with less queue) can be found here
Finally got the chance to try this mega-popular yakiniku/horumonyaki joint last friday – I was so excited 😀 The term horumon (ホルモン) , generally referring to beef or pork Offal, is derived from the word “hormone” , or hormōn in Greek, which means “that which sets in motion” or more literally an “urge” or “impetus”. Indeed in Japan it is believed that eating horumon fuels one’s stamina and I suppose that’s where the “urge” begins! In Kansai however, some argue that horumon comes from the term “放る物” (hōrumono) , which means “discarded thing”. Before this meal I would probably have bought this latter definition, because I have never liked horumon. I would eat motsu-nabe without the motsu, and although I was fine with pork intestines in Chinese soups or Italian trippa alla Fiorentina, I never thought I could one day enjoy eating a ball of fatty animal gut. Anyway, enough writing! Here is a photo report of my dinner at Yuuji 😀
We started off with cow’s heart sashimi (ハツ刺し). This was dressed in a delicious sweet, thick soysauce served with a dab of dijon mustard and some chopped spring onion. So incredibly fresh, the heart sashimi had no strange tastes at all – it was tender with a bouncy bite, we devoured this within seconds!
Ordered a side of Korean namul just to get a portion of veg. I’d say this was nothing special but I did not expect good Korean namul here anyway :p Then we got our grill ready 😀 First up – tongue!
I love charcoal grill marks ❤
Now for the horumon….. when I saw this, I didn’t really want to eat it but … after grilling it for a while, it smelled so good and I had to take a bite :p The oiliness was acceptable level as most of the oil dripped down the grill.
Then we had liver…. And gyuu-kashira – cow’s cheek! Initially felt that the kashira lacked a bit of flavour but realized that it was all about the subtle beefy texture and aftertaste.
We also had Harami (tender cut from the diaphragm area)
And here’s the Oxtail
Kopuchan (from Gopchang in Korean- meaning intestines) was marinated in a yummy tare.
As the intestines were very oily, the fire also got extremely strong.
Here’s the grilled kopuchan!
The bone of the Oxtail we had was also made into a hearty peppery soup.
Then we had lungs.
This was very chewy, almost a little too difficult to bite, but I found it interesting to eat.
Then we had this big slab of sasami grilled with butter.
Just look at that.
And more offal… here’s our plate of kobukuro 子袋 or cow uterus :O
Last but not least Hatsumoto ハツ元 or Beef Aorta (main artery)
Puri-puri texture grilled beef aorta :p
Towards the end of the meal I felt really cruel but having enjoyed the meal , all I can say is thanks to the cows.
Will certainly return for more funky cow parts :p
Address: 東京都渋谷区宇田川町11-1 松沼ビル １Ｆ
Phone : 03-3464-6448
Haven’t had Spanish food for a very long time, so I was thrilled when a friend suggested to have dinner at this underground restaurant called Sal y Amor in Daikanyama.
As we were exhausted from trying to walk off lunch at JG Tokyo that day, we got here very early, when the restaurant was still empty. However, all seats were filled as soon as clock struck 6pm!
So we had some jamon and this gambas al ajillo. I’ve never had a gambas al ajillo that was actually BAD in Tokyo, so this one, despite not being the best, was decent too. If only the shrimps could be a tad fresher and sweeter though … :p
We also had the tortilla de patatas which was flavourful with just the right level of egginess or I should say potato/egg ratio!
The rabbit & chicken paella Valenciana was good, although when it comes to paellas I tend to prefer seafood… Which is why I enjoyed this squid ink arroz negro even more!
The star dish of the night for me though, was this Arroz Caldero, a typical dish from the Murcia region. This came piping hot in a pot and smelled lovely. I have not much to say about the actual shrimps but the briny perfection of this sauce made me want to eat the whole pot.
Ahh so good.
Sal Y Amor
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Daikanyamacho 12-19 B1F
So the other night I came to Mikasa, a tempura restaurant near Miyazakidai station in Kanagawa-ken. (sounds far but if you take the train it’s only 21 mins from Shibuya!)
I’ll admit – despite being highly skeptical about tabelog rankings (Japanese restaurant review site) , I couldn’t help but be curious about this 10-seat establishment which got ranked #1 for tempura in the country, beating Kondo, Fukamachi, Mikawa Zezankyo, Yamanoue, Hayashi, etc + a whole big list that I still want to try.
Called to make a booking one month in advance and finally, here I was!! Everyone ordered an omakase course which we decided to kick off with a little bit of sake…The first thing served was the Otsukuri (sashimi course). Neatly presented with fresh grated wasabi, this consisted of 2 slices of tai and 2 slices of maguro.Now time for the tempura! A deepfried head of kuruma-ebi was served with yurine (edible lily bulb) and soramame (broad beans). I was pleased that not even a drip of oil was observed on the oil paper.
Soon after a piece of kuruma-ebi meat was added onto my plate.
I was more impressed by the light crispy batter of this piece of kuruma-ebi than the meat itself as it wasn’t the type where sweetness explodes in your mouth and you die temporarily of umami goodness. It was good, but I was easily able to imagine something better.
However, the second piece of kuruma-ebi served was AMAZING! This second piece was much richer in flavour as it still had its ebi-miso (prawn brains) attached.
Asparagus was much better than my memory of the shockingly fibrey one at Mikawa Zezankyo (I was probably just unlucky) though not the best I’ve ever had.
Kisu (Japanese whiting) was great, also with no feeling of oiliness at all but still retaining good moisture!
Next up was Shiitake. (This is Doi-san, who has been making tempura for 40 years 😀 He had a poker face whilst cooking throughout the meal but turned out to be a very friendly approachable ojisan when everything was finished!)
Shiitake – juicy and sweet.
Oyster & truffle salt. Although I normally love truffle, I wasn’t sure if this truffle salt touch was necessary for the oyster. It didn’t do much for me- no complaints though.Then we had Ebi-imo- a traditional Kyoto vegetable which is also one of my favourite varieties of taro! It is called Ebi-imo (literally shrimp potato) because it has a stripey skin that looks like the shell of a shrimp. This one, cut into a long thick block, was like thick cut fries on Anadrol 50.
Sumi-ika was soft and sweet. Yum 🙂 I also always get excited to see greens like nanohana – something about its crunchy mild bitterness appeals to me like no other veggie. This was no exception – absolutely delicious! shirauo (whitebait) was light & fluffy. I loved how I was still really hungry at this point because everything here simply felt really light!
Tara shirako (cod milt) I normally prefer fugu shirako but couldn’t really complain about this one. It was rich & creamy inside, yet it did not feel too heavy. good stuff.
then Doi-san began preparing the Anago.Also with hardly any trace of oil, the anago was crunchy and yummilicious!
At last we were given a choice of ten-don (with a kakiage of shrimps and scallops) or ten-don ochazuke (tea rice with kakiage tempura)
And dessert was a simple yet beautiful banana tempura!
Overall, I would say that dinner at Mikasa was a highly enjoyable meal with incredible cost performance. Omakase Dinner with sake came to less than 15k yen per person! although the ingredients used may not have been as high end as some of the Michelin-starred tempura establishments, we are talking about spending only half of what one would often pay at other top tempura places, for tempura that is at least almost as good in terms of execution. Doi-san says he wishes to retire soon. Perhaps I should come back before it is too late!
Well….I’ve accumulated so many photos from numerous dinners at one of my favourite restaurants in the world, DEN, that I think I should at least do a photos-only post from my first few visits 😛 Though to be honest, all the food here has left me SPEECHLESS. Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa is simply one of the best chefs I have ever encountered – NO WORDS. (i swear this is not an excuse to not write lol… I will try to write later about my more recent visits, more photos to come :P) For now…enjoy!! Den’s signature MONAKA!! With foie gras + seasonal goodies inside (always changing but always brilliant) another signature – dentucky fried chicken 😀 just like the monaka, the stuffing is always different! another signature is the salad – always playful with a happy carrot + a variety of some of the best vegetables i’ve ever had.
Ronitucky fried chicken on this particular visit 😛
This was my favourite fried chicken of all time – with truffles and sweet potato ❤ buri ! I decided not to use words to describe these because if you want to know Den YOU HAVE TO VISIT! (also because, like I said, i’ve accumulated too many photos >_< ) lol Website: http://www.jimbochoden.com Phone:
There are days when all I want to do is eat meat.
In Japan, I mostly find myself craving for yakiniku on meat days but sometimes when I am simultaneously craving egg I would go for sukiyaki. I can never resist a TKG (tamago-kake-gohan, or egg on rice) after a beefy meal at i.e. Imahan! After a busy week at work, I felt the need to treat myself a little… so today I decided to get out of the city for a particularly special sukiyaki in Hinodecho (not far from Yokohama).
Now if you are wondering why this sukiyaki restaurant is special, it is not because they use particularly good beef, nor is it particularly expensive, nor is it visited by a lengthy list of V.I.P.s. It is, however, supposedly where the dish “sukiyaki” originated from.
Ohtanawanoren was established in 1868, the first year of the Meiji period when meat eating was still not a common practice in Japan. At that time, the owner of Ohtanawanoren came up with using miso to hide the taste of meat which was in fact unpleasant to common people at the time. As you will see later, the “original” form of sukiyaki was known as “gyu-nabe” (beef pot) , and was completely different from how sukiyaki is generally prepared today.
Before coming here I did not actually expect the interior of the restaurant to resemble a high-end kaiseki ryotei. Was quite happy that there were individual rooms for us to play stupid games that I would rather not talk about on here. Ohtanawanoren opens for lunch only on weekends (and for dinner it is open everyday except monday). There is a special lunch course that also includes their signature butsukirigyu-nabe at a slightly cheaper price. Our group of 5 ordered one of them today and had a-la-carte (with higher quality, shimofuri beef from yamagata) for the rest of the meal. The lunch course first came with a small, cold chawanmushi (steamed egg) with ikura.
And this is the less fatty butsukiri-gyu-nabe with beef from Iwate. Despite being the slightly cheaper option, I personally prefer this after a couple pieces because too much overly fat wagyu can get sickening very fast. So having a mix today was indeed, perfect!
Address : Sueyoshicho 1-15, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi Kanagawa-ken
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).
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!).
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!
Oh just an extra close up shot of the tom yum ramen.
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
One of my favourite pasttimes in Tokyo is wandering around, stumbling into random kakureya (literally, hidden house) restaurants and then feeling like I’ve found another treasure whenever I come across one that can suitably be considered a hidden gem.
Nakafuku is a prime example of a restaurant like this. This little gem is only a steps away from shibuya station but tucked away in Hachiyamacho, it is still a distance from the hustle and bustle of the main area. I love that it is such an intimate, cosy place, not to mention that chef Shingo and hostess Ayako are both lovely people! I’ve included photos from a few different visits (some dishes, like the mochigomatofu have been repeated every single time).
Meals at Nakafuku always begin with two otoushi (basically a Japanese amuse-bouche) that are generally very good appetite whetters. These are always different! Sometimes there’s squid, sometimes scallops… :9
Although I always binged on the yummy food here I notice that a lot of other customers come more for the drinks. There is always a different selection of nihonshu and a humbly sized but awesome variety of otsumami. Such as this aburi mentaiko.
Or this hokkigai sashimi.
A must-have for me is this mochi goma-tofu with hot shoyu. This is a very dense, slightly chewy sesame flavoured tofu with a crispy layer of skin; super aromatic and flavourful inside! Wonderful soaked in the hot shoyu.
Tofu atsu-age – extremely well executed, this tofu has a strong soy bean flavour and is silky smooth and soft, yet retaining a perfect square shape with a very crispy skin.
Donabe gohan with chicken soboro.
Address: Hachiyamacho 2-4 , Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区鉢山町2-4 冨沢ビル 1F
Unlike most restaurants of the same league in town it was relatively easy to get a table here, perhaps due to the fact that it serves up to 50 customers per night which is a big number for a Michelin-starred restaurant. My (awesomely) gluttonous friend decided to pre-book 3 extra courses on top of the standard 11-course tasting menu … We were in for a longg night! Started off with a fresh peach bellini. Before the meal started, we were given 4 olives that were meant to be in 2 different flavours. I wasn’t sure how subtle the difference was supposed to be so I’m not actually sure if I picked 2 of the same flavour or if I had actually tried both flavours… So! We began with seabream, sakura shrimp, spring onion and sea mustard in a moussy foamy concoction accompanied by what seemed like an almost – empty small glass with two pieces of yuzu peel and ice. I am sure it was supposed to compliment the seafood mixture in some way but honestly there was too little in that glass to make any significant difference :p Despite this slightly confusing arrangement the concoction itself was delightful and made a good start for the meal.
Course 2 – signature apple pie – packaging purposely reminiscent of McDonald’s, revealing the chef’s playful side. Athough the “apple pie” is permanently on the menu, the filling changes from time to time. This was apple pie #14, with Burdock, Gizzard, Rosemary.
Course 3 “has just begun~”: firefly squid & udo, salted preserved lemon emulsion, hon-wasabi, kishu-umeboshi foam. Firefly squid (hotaru-ika) incredibly juicy and sweet! These are deep-sea squids that have very short life-spans and emit light in the dark sea like fireflies, hence the name 🙂
Course 4 “A fixed point” – another signature dish : whole cooked turnip and parsley oil emulsion sitting on tiny pieces of Kintoa Basque ham & brioche. Definitely one of the best turnip dishes I’ve ever had!
Course 5 “through the forest 2014” : green asparagus soup and tsubu-gai croquette, bamboo shoots, mountain cheese “quark”, white miso, Japanese mugwort oil. I’ve always felt that asaparagus shines brightest when enjoyed either grilled or in soup form and here I am getting it in both! The condensed sweetness of asparagus was very apparent in every small sip and the croquette added a nice accent to the liquid dish.
Course 6 “from the sea~to the mountain” : A combination of sea and earth; ayu cooked vividly and its clear broth, guts flavored gastric sauce & tapenade, watercress, mountain sansho pepper. We were first presented with a set of small glasses from which we had to pick one to drink the ayu broth with.
The ayu itself was cut up and cooked in 3 different ways (sounds cruel, I know). A deepfried head, one side of the body grilled with mountain sansho pepper, the other side with the gastric sauce & tapenade.
(L00k @ dA wAY it bENdzz)Course 7 “deep green” : char-roast pigeon from Vendée, fuki shoot puree and sweet & sour meat jus, mountain vegetables, black olive. Check that colour out! Still very red yet not at all bloody. Succulent and gamey with a thin, crispy layer of skin.
Course 8 “Imaginary picnic ~ under the loquat tree”. Naturally cooked foie gras & loquat milk, sake jelly, cucumber, salad burnet. This foie gras was silky smooth and extraordinary light – perfect considering that I was getting a little full at this point!
Then came the “Right & left” Taiwanese tea. At first glance this looked like an ordinary cup of tea and I wondered what its name had anything to do with anything. But as soon as I took a sip, my first reaction was “wth?” and then it all made sense. The right side was hot and the left side was COLD! Not even kidding. One liquid, 2 temperatures. #mindblown. I think they probably did this by mixing liquids of 2 different consistencies, putting the hot one (thicker) into the cold one?
We were then presented a tray of funky knives for use in our next course.
Course 10 “Surf & Turf~” : Shinsyu-wagyu leg char-grill roast, geoduck clam puree & saute, sabayon sauce, spring onion, arugula & chrysanthemum leaves.
This was also very well executed although I started feeling very heavy after eating 2 different red meats in a row. However I was dining with someone with a bottomless stomach on this night so it only felt natural to keep eating. (excuse my poor attempt at blaming other people for over-eating :p)
Finally, it was dessert time! Course 12, just as I was thinking about how much I missed the UK, was named “Memory of Borough market in London~” . This was a combination of espresso jelly, goat cheese mousse, chick pea, mango, dill and date thin-crisp. An interesting combination that worked together nicely as the bitter, acidic sharpness of espresso jelly was mellowed out by the creamy cheese mousse and given a nice crunch with the thin-crisp.
I guess it isn’t a French tasting menu if there aren’t multiple desserts. Course 13, “Warm spring sunlight” was made of Rhubarb confit and Tochiotome strawberry, elderflower beer jelly, Earl Grey ice-cream, and molten custard cream disc with shortbread crumbs. Ta-da!
At last, a blue herb tea …
Except perhaps the petit-fours – these were all very sweet, but fun to eat! Note the toothpaste shaped tube, which contains lemon curd you squeeze into the flower-shaped tart to make a mini lemon tart 😀
Address: 2-26-4 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku Tokyo, 106-0031