Kaneko Hannosuke Honten 金子半之助 @ Mitsukoshimae 

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.  

oooooooo eggporn   

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! 🙂 

天丼 金子半之助

03-3243-0707

東京都中央区日本橋室町1-11-15 1F・2F

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1302/A130202/13118694/

Other chains (with less queue) can be found here 

Http://www.hannosuke.com 

ゆうじ Yuuji @ Shibuya 

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.

 Yumm         

We also had Harami (tender cut from the diaphragm area)     

  

And here’s the Oxtail     

and Kalbi!

 

  sizzle sizzle

 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.

woooaaaahhh

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

Yuuji 

Address: 東京都渋谷区宇田川町11-1 松沼ビル 1F

Phone : 03-3464-6448

Web: http://yakiniku-yuji.com

    

Mikasa @ Miyazakidai 

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! 

Mikasa 美かさ

Address: 神奈川県川崎市宮前区宮崎2-9-15 

Phone: 044-853-1819

Web:http://tabelog.com/kanagawa/A1405/A140507/14000813/

神保町 傳 Jimbocho Den @ Jimbocho

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!! IMG_5429 IMG_5431 IMG_5434 Den’s signature MONAKA!! With foie gras + seasonal goodies inside (always changing but always brilliant) IMG_5437 IMG_5442 IMG_5435 IMG_5443 IMG_5445 another signature – dentucky fried chicken 😀 just like the monaka, the stuffing is always different! IMG_5451  IMG_5452  IMG_5458 IMG_5460 IMG_5461 IMG_5463 IMG_5465 IMG_5468 IMG_5470 IMG_5471 IMG_5473 IMG_5475 IMG_5780 IMG_5783 IMG_5784 IMG_5790 IMG_5794 IMG_5797  IMG_5804IMG_5456 IMG_5809 IMG_5810 IMG_5814 another signature is the salad – always playful with a happy carrot + a variety of some of the best vegetables i’ve ever had. IMG_5818 IMG_5815 IMG_5823 IMG_5825 IMG_5827 IMG_5832 IMG_5834 IMG_5837 IMG_5841 IMG_5838 IMG_5836 IMG_6187 IMG_6189 IMG_6191 IMG_6192 IMG_6193 IMG_6200 IMG_6203 IMG_6205 IMG_6207 IMG_6208 IMG_6214  IMG_6258 IMG_6257 IMG_6252 IMG_6250 IMG_6248 IMG_6243 IMG_6239 IMG_6234 IMG_6231 IMG_6230 IMG_6229 IMG_6228

Buri! oh so fine.IMG_6223

Ronitucky fried chicken on this particular visit 😛

IMG_6210IMG_6215  IMG_0757IMG_3181 IMG_0740 IMG_0735 IMG_0727 IMG_0716 IMG_0713 IMG_6264 IMG_6262 IMG_3215-0 IMG_3217 This was my favourite fried chicken of all time – with truffles and sweet potato ❤ IMG_7384 IMG_3219 IMG_3194 IMG_3192 IMG_3210 IMG_3215 IMG_0736 IMG_7463 IMG_7453 IMG_7407 IMG_7420 IMG_7393 buri ! IMG_7385 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:

Shirohige’s Cream Puff @ Shimokitazawa

Who didn’t love watching Hayao Miyazaki’s most famous, most kawaii masterpiece Tonari no Totoro? OK, for the heartless folk who don’t melt inside when they see Totoro or want to give it a big hug, you should at least enjoy this – eating it 😀

So after a nice afternoon stroll in Shimokitazawa (Tokyo’s hipster district), I found my way to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Shop, slightly isolated from the rest of the vintage stores being part of the more residential side of Shimokita. IMG_5795.JPG Cuteness Overload.IMG_5797.JPG Totoro decorations abound, this is 100% a destination for Miyazaki fans.IMG_5792.JPG I started off with a berry drink.IMG_5798.JPG As a savory > sweet person I had to get this Naporitan pasta (NOT to be mixed up with Neapolitan! the Naporitan is a Japanese specialty). I’m normally not a fan of Napolitan but this turned out to be a homey, hearty dish, without green peppers that overpower the flavours of tomato and cheese (my main reason of disliking Napolitan in many cases). IMG_5811.JPG Finally … my SHIROHIGE CREAM PUFF!! This darling was not only cute but very delicious too. IMG_5801.JPG The custard cream inside was only subtly sweet – just the way I liked it and the puff itself was incredibly light – a fabulous afternoon treat! : ) IMG_5808.JPG Address: Setagaya-ku, Daita 5-3-1 東京都世田谷区代田5-3-1 1F・2F Phone: 03-5787-6221 Website : http://www.shiro-hige.com/

Ohtanawanoren 太田なわのれん @ Hinodecho

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). IMG_6085

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. IMG_6131

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. IMG_6127Ohtanawanoren 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.IMG_6086

And then this little beef & lettuce appetizer.IMG_6092

Also a sashimi salad with varied fish & black caviar from the a-la-carte menu for starters.IMG_6093

A clear soup with shrimp paste and mochi under a blanket of sliced daikon also came with the lunch course. This was pretty standard. IMG_6097

Not to forget some sake to go with whats to come…!  yuki no maboroshi IMG_6091

Our 2 servers began bringing in the bits and bobs required to set up our sukiyaki meal. First the tea and eggs…IMG_6099

Then the veggies….IMG_6100

Then ta-da! Here’s the shimofuri yamagata-gyu nabe.IMG_6101

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!IMG_6102

That concentration.IMG_6103

Sizzle sizzleIMG_6105

Glass noodles were also put in to soak up all the miso goodness.IMG_6112

And topped with some shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves) … one signature element of gyu-nabe that is still prevalent in modern sukiyaki.IMG_6114

Bubbles!IMG_6117

Finally, served in a bowl of raw egg. Absolutely addictive with rice.IMG_6116 IMG_6119

After a while the beef was transferred onto another pan to avoid being overcooked. IMG_6120 IMG_6125

Towards the end of the meal, a lot of miso is left in the egg, creating an awesome mixture for pouring over hot rice 😀 IMG_6124

Aaand dessert was melon sorbet. IMG_6126

Goodbye Ohtanawanoren! IMG_6128

And here’s a small exhibition of their fuku-chan mascot goods.IMG_6130

Ohtanawanoren 

Address :  Sueyoshicho 1-15, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi Kanagawa-ken

〒231-0055 神奈川県横浜市中区末吉町1-15

Phone: 045-261-0636

Website: http://www.ohtanawanoren.jp 

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