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36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 26, Raw

DSC01900-01We made it back from Curry just in time to freshen up and head out to meet my host’s buddies at Yabase, an izakaya-style sushi restaurant close to his apartment. A quick meet & greet and then straight into the serious stuff. Starting with drinks I asked for a lemon sour (shoju, lemon, and soda), that a former colleague had introduced me to during my last trip to Japan and with a hint of hesitation and a nondescript smile the lady said it should be possible to organize, and it was. Cheers.

We continued with a medley of dishes including a great quality sashimi moriawase, a tuna and a salmon platter. The latter two consisted of lean to fatty cuts as well as an aburi version each and some fabulous other bits. I truly think every sushi restaurant should have some of those, they’re just the perfect thing for solo eaters.

The next two hours we spend our time ordering random dishes like raw gyu, maki, beautifully made agedashi tofu and sweetly glazed savoury tsukune yakitori. After those were all washed down with cold brews and hot sake, we discovered they even had ice cream mochi dessert and since they were kind of miniature we had a multitude of ’em. The choco mochi were like frozen drops of mousse au chocolate, chewy on the outside and freezy creamy on the inside. A cool finish to an ortherwise delicious meal.

Awesome food, fabulous company and ass kicking service. Great night.

Get Your Grub On!

Yabase
Klosterstraße 70
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 362677
yabase-ddf.com

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36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 25, Curry

DSC01887-01After my delightful afternoon snack, I went on to pick up my friend at work, grabbed a coffee at his shared office space, enjoyed the view and moved on to stroll through Düsseldorf without any particular destination. Somehow we ended up at the urban harbor down at the Rhine river and just hung out at some pedestrian bridge for a bit enjoying the quiet Friday afternoon.

Since he didn’t get anything to eat since lunch he suggested a quick currywurst run to a shop around the corner and not being hungry at all myself I just went with it.  A 10-minute-walk away we sat down outside an obviously popular fast food joint with waiters that cracked me up every time they opened their mouth. I was still a little full from my second lunch so my friend managed the ordering. His choice fell on the spicy currywurst and, after a short dispute about necessary portion sizes, on the large fries with mayo and raw onions to share. The fries were good, crisp and plenty, and worked just great with the thick onion mayonnaise but the sausage lacked a bit of snap and wasn’t really spicy at all, more fruity actually. Since my mate comes here frequently though he confirmed this was not the usual, so it probably just got mixed up in the process. Happens.

There is tasty food here, a definitely entertaining bunch of people and the place comes with a nice little beer selection of local and ‘foreign’ brews like Zäpfle pils from Rothaus. A nice local hangout for pre and post-party grub and beers.

Get Your Grub On!

Curry
Hammer Straße 2
40219 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 3032 857
http://www.curry-deutschland.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 23, Shoyu

 

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen

I was now almost one day in classy Düsseldorf and felt it was already time for seconds at Naniwa, where I had started my foodie safari through this town. It was a few hours past my udon lunch and there was still a bit to go before our big sushi dinner tonight so coming back here just seemed the logical thing to do. Because of the weird mid day timing, the queue, short to begin with, went super fast and before I could think about it too much I was already sitting at the bar counter browsing through that beautiful menu of theirs. I could’ve ordered without even looking at it again as I already knew what I wanted since I had left yesterday. They’ve proven themselves worthy, so now I sat here excited again, waiting for my shoyu ramen.

 

 

 

Oh gosh, it was beautiful. The broth was amazing, clear on the surface though porky and muddy on the ground with a salty, tongue-coating umami. I already had that content smile crawling up on me again. Feeling pretty proud of myself and my brilliant idea to fit in another meal today, I started lifting springy noodles and slurping them down in a machine-like manner, being twice as fast and louder than the guy in the neighbouring seat as if it was some sort of challenge. The chashu came in a few thin slices, soft and melt-in-my-mouth and even the tamago, not perfect, however, had strongly improved on the wax level compared to yesterday. Enough said, I liked this even better than their delicious Tantanmen and because of the less thicker broth I also emptied that bowl down to the last drop. This was awesome, domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya

UdonAbout halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.

Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.

Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.

My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.

I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.

Get Your Grub On!

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
Immermannstraße 38
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 360 935
http://brickny.com/kushitei-de/

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 7, Nightcap

dsc01859-011.jpegNot finished just yet and there was still a little time left for one last drink. This place was cramped packed when he went to D-Weinbar earlier but now only a few patrons sipped on their last drinks for the night. This place was nicely decorated with a welcoming charm and soothing lighting.

The food here sounded good but we only had enough time to have one last cold one for the road. This must have been my first drawn Beck’s from the tap and even though it did have as many bubbles in it as there were hours left in the day I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff was super friendly, the place inviting, I’ll be back for more if I’d get the chance to. Last call, thanks.

Get Your Grub On!

Löffelbar
Oststraße 51
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5447 3877
http://www.loeffelbar.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 4, Reds

DSC01835-01I felt very happy with my belly full of ramen noodles from Naniwa‘s and since the night was still young we headed further into district 1 to Pempelfort for some dessert options and wine. We ended up at this cozily lit wine bistro and I followed my chocolate craving and ordered the tartufo accompanied by a heavy Italian Primitivo.

That ice cream was rich but not too decadent and a thorough balance between sweet and tard, with dark chocolate powder and roasted nuts sprinkled all over. The rustic wine went quite well with it all and seemed like a nice finish to a great start to my Düsseldorf stay. Or so I thought.

Just as we were about to finish our glasses the owner approached us and asked if we would mind one of his suppliers and wine makers to show us a couple of his creations. Oh no we didn’t and so we were introduced to a nice range of reds from Spain and France by Bjoern the friendly wine guy, had a nice conversation and shared our unqualified views about those tasty grape juices. Thanks so much for an unexpected turn of events and an additional hour of laughs and drinks.

Get Your Wine On!

D-Weinbar
Moltkestraße 120
40479 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5150 7979
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36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 1, Tantan

DSC01833-01

Tantanmen

I haven’t been out to Düsseldorf enough and always only heard what insane food paradise in regards to Japanese cuisine it’s supposed to be. Since being so close this week I decided to make a stopover and visit a very fun friend of mine, who just happens to live right in the midst of Little Tokyo, the area neighbouring the Düsseldorf main train station, which is home to many Asian (predominantly Japanese) shops, restaurants and people.

After dropping my stuff at the apartment and throwing in a quick cold one with my friend and his brother we headed around the corner to get some dinner at one of the ramen shops in the area. To my delight, there was a queue out front, which is always a good sign, and luckily it kept on moving quite fast too. Not long and we were sitting down and I started smiling just browsing through the menu.

We had a little selection of appetizers to go around before the mains and we were off to a good start. We had crispy and succulent tori karaage, some juicy gyoza and nutty gomaae with a thick sesame gravy. All washed down with a cool asahi from the tap and I, still smiling, was ready for my first ramen bowl since way too long.

My sin of choice was a spicy Tantanmen with extra f.o.c. tamago and veggies. Oh goodness, this mince infused broth was thick and rich like a gooey katong laksa with a mud-like sediment of the best kind. Strong sesame flavours my taste buds, instantly but gently numbed by the chilli oil and fibres. Loved the noodles, implied curly and the chewy bouncy kind I use to admire. Just the egg didn’t quite make the mark and was lacking that particular waxiness of your usual flavoured ramen tamago. Nevermind that, I’m head over heels crazy about this place and am already planning my next visit.

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Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/