OMO – Oh My Okonomiyaki!
I wasn’t super hungry this evening because of my late and generous ‘Menya Musashi‘ lunch but still felt like a little something to close the day. I randomly went into the Shinagawa Front Building and when I realized that there is a ‘Okonomiyaki Kiji’ branch located on the second floor I decided to have a slightly bigger dinner than anticipated as in Singapore this seems to be impossible to get.
I decided to go less traditional and ordered a ‘Kimchi & Pickle Starter‘ and the ‘Pork & Kimchi Okonomiyaki‘. As I was sitting at the bar I could follow the action as the chefs were entertainingly preparing mine and other dishes which was particularly important because a good and thick Okonomiyaki can take around 15-20 minutes.
It looked beautiful and tasted fantastic. The big chunks of kimchi cabbage had a nice bite and heat to them and were balanced just right with the Oko-dough. Best about this though was the thick slices of pork belly on top. Whilst preparing, I was a bit worried as the pork often doesn’t get enough time on the flame but here they took their time and waited until the fat melted away and the meat transformed into crispy salty goodness. All finished with salty butter and freshly chopped green onions on top. Simple food tweaked to greatness.
The ‘Kimchi & Pickle‘ starter upfront helped me through the waiting time with it’s great tastes and different textures. The pickled radish was crunchy and cooling and the the kimchi style cabbage had a very mild taste with only a little bit of spice to it. My favorite of all was what seemed to be some kind of kimchi cabbage jerky as it was stringy and quite hard to bite and by far the most spiciest of the trio.
‘Okonomiyaki Kiji’ is a famous brand from Osaka and they sure lived up to their name. I am pretty happy to have stumbled into this shop as I didn’t have any decent Okonomiyaki in years as it just seems impossible to get a remotely good one in Singapore. I would do it again and again and again.
Okonomiyaki Kiji お好み焼 きじ
Shinagawa Front Building 2F
Tel: +81 3 6712 0256
Bella Italia in Shinagawa
After a long day at our Tokyo office one of my colleagues and I went to ‘Vento’s’ pretty much only because it was the most convenient and only two minutes from both our hotels. We sat down outside and I felt a bit bad being in Japan and having Western food already on the second day.
My regret only lasted until my beautiful ‘Margarita’ showed up. This was without lie one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life; pure brilliant simplicity. I haven’t had tasted such a fantastic and sweet tomato sugo in a very long time. The pizza was not overloaded with cheese so I was able to really taste all of the few ingredients as well as the thin dough. It was so thin that the area in the middle became juicy tomato-y goodness whilst the outer crust stayed chewy and tasted like very well seasoned pizza bread.
Service was very friendly and fast and the outside seating was just the right thing to do after a day locked inside an air-conditioned meeting room. Most importantly the food was outstanding so I give this place a double thumbs up. Bueno!
Vento Italian Bar & Grill ヴェント高輪
1F Keikyuu Shopping Plaza Wing Takanawa West
4-10-18 Takanawa Minato-ku
Tel: +81 3 3441 7952
Trains, Raw Fish and Sticky Rice
After a beautiful day walking around I felt slightly hungry. My big portion of ‘Tsukemen’ from ‘Menya Musashi’ at lunchtime still made me feel pretty filled but since it was my first day I felt it was my duty to have at least a little something raw and just outside of Shinagawa station there was ‘Ushio’ a small sushi bar that fitted the purpose perfectly. It’s one of these small places you find all around with hardly more than ten seats which unfortunately were all taken when I arrived but after a little wait I finally placed the order for my first round of sushi with the master.
I started up with ‘Kappa Maki’ (cucumber roll), ‘Tako’ (octopus), ‘Ebi’ (cooked shrimp), ‘Hamachi’ (yellow tail) and ‘Maguro’ (tuna). The different types of fish tasted fresh and sweet and had great textures, all soft and firm. I particularly liked the dark red ‘Maguro’ and the ‘Tako’ who I grew to love. Beforehand I had read up some sushi etiquette and not knowing if it was actually true I followed it to the last bit. This meant not asking for extra wasabi, what was not necessary anyway and eating the sushi with my hands. The rice was super sticky so it was a bit of a bother getting it off my fingers after eating each piece.
Time for the second round. I felt a bit more adventurous so I ordered ‘Engawa’ (halibut), ‘Chutoro’ (medium fatty tuna belly) and to see one familiar face I added a second piece of that lovely tuna. I have no complaints at all about the taste the halibut actually didn’t taste like much but the ‘Chutoro’ had a nice distinct aroma, which was much richer than the lean version. I still preferred my old favorite as both others were borderline in regards to enjoyable texture for me and needed much more chewing to bring them down.
I really liked ‘Ushio’ as a small casual place, yet with atmosphere and this typical Japanese feel of special and hidden elegance. Where else than only in Japan to find a ten seater train station restaurant with tasty quality food at 80-300 JPY per sushi. Not socks of rocking but still much better than many proper restaurants in other countries.
Ushio Sushi Bar タイトル
1-30-2 Nishigotanda (Shinagawa Station)
Tel: +81 3 3490 0367