Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eating (in) Japan

There is always that time after an awesome holiday where you find yourself with a mood a little bit on the depressed side. And now, as i finally catch up with my blogging it has hit me again - oh Japan, how we miss you already. Having been able catch up on work, sleep, masterchef australia and my regular living pattern, I now hope to catch up on my backlog of blogging. 
Tokyo was simply a food and fun lovers paradise.We spent 5 nights there, and it was everything we expected and more. Language was not a problem at all - our rumbling tummies did all the talking.We landed at Narita airport at about 5am Tokyo time, and by 9.30 am we were off roaming the streets with out hungry tummies! First stop was Ueno, where we decided to roam the winding streets of the Ameyayokocho Arcade - Once a WWII Black Market, now neverending maze of all things fun and japanese!
It was hard to decide which rabbit hole to venture into - between Patchinko parlours, Pubs, Gaming Rooms and love hotels, restaurants are scattered all around Ueno, tempting you with plastic food displays (handy - if like us, you cannot read japanese) Phrasebook in tow, We were so excited to have our first meal in Tokyo.
I cant tell you the name of the restaurant, or the exact underground address . It looked like a popular place for lunch, businessmen slurping away on their noodles and smoking away indoors - most importantly the food was just awesome. Just stick to the point, smile and onegaishimasu (please) arigato (thanks) system.
We succeeded in ordering a lunch special of some sort. I had some tasty tempura prawns and a side of soba noodles delicately sliced pieces of fish cake. Demos ordered the Oyakodon, which is a rice bowl with chicken and egg cooked through it. Definitely comfort eating after a long flight!
And nothing says we are on holidays then a beer before mid-day! Kampai!

Our next big meal was merely a few hours later, this time in Shibuya.  How did we find this Yakitori restaurant? We followed the tempting and irresistible smell of charcoal and meat out of an exhaust vent!
Food Safety Regulators note, they serve raw chicken! Chicken Sashimi is quite popular in japan - but we were not game enough to order this, citing fear of salmonella for obvious reasons. However, the chicken skewers below were raw in the center. We then proceeded to drink lots more of beer with the belief that beer kills all germs! With the salty flavour of yakitori dishes, and its chargrilled taste - its hard to imagine any other food that goes perfectly with beer.
Sasami - skinless chicken breast 
Garlic Rice and Tebasaki (Chicken Wing)
HaHatsu (Chicken Heart)
Tsukune (Chicken Meatballs) with an egg yolk.
Domo did not fear salmonella, he eats live chickens for fun.

p.s. I havent even finished the eating adventures of day one. Ah, I will get through the backlog of blogs.. Sayonara for tonight!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ginza Shennanigans - Star Bar Tokyo, Japan

Working hard is pretty much the norm in Tokyo town. Locals work real hard but they party even harder. Walking around Ginza around 11pm at night, you wouldn't be hard pressed to see a few of the suits curled over a gutter spilling out the 10 bottles of Sake drunk only half an hour earlier. We thought that it would only be fitting if we tried to do as the Japanese do and find a bar and do the same.

The really cool thing that we found about Japan was that it was really easy to find little bars. Bars are everywhere you could think of. In side streets; up stairs, down stairs, lane-ways and everywhere else they can be squeezed in. Wandering around Ginza one evening we decided to check out a bar that a friend from Aus. had suggested - Star Bar. Having looked it up and plugged in to the Iphone GPS we were on our way. Meandering down a lane and past what was pointed out to be a massage parlour, we eventually found Star Bar which was marked by a plaque on a wall.
Descending down a set of stairs we set foot back in time. Jazz music, mahogany furniture, bartenders with bow ties and suspenders, it was pretty old school. In an old school bar we thought it was fitting to have some classic cocktails so we settled for a martini. Trying to strike up a conversation with the bartender, we ended up discovering that he was a friend of Sydney's Tetsuya. After discovering we were from Australia he produced an issue of Gourmet Traveller magazine where he was featured. (Read the article here) Apparently Hisashi Kishi (the owner of Star Bar) is a world champion bartender and ice cutter who happened to be more than happy to put his skills on display for us on the night.

It was a very exciting experience as it was something we had never seen before. We've never given much thought to ice here when having a drink, however Hisashi explained that cutting and carving ice was a dying skill among bartenders as of late. He grabbed a big block of what he told us was pure Japanese ice, as clear as glass. He grabbed a tool kit from underneath the bar and opened it revealing a series of different sized knifes.
He grabbed the biggest knife and a mallet. Using the mallet on the knife he cut this ice block in half perfectly. With more of the pieces he cut from the block he proceeded to carve a cube and then an ice sphere. We thought that there would be nothing better than to have a drink with what was world championship quality carved ice. I settled on a 25 year old Japanese whisky and Gianna had a Spanish port. It was truly one of the most standout experiences and I would recommend anyone visiting Tokyo to stop past Star Bar and have a drink.

Star Bar, Sankosha Building B1F, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku,Tokyo; 81-3-3535-8005

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And we are back!

I must say, I missed blogging like i missed my own pillow! With a full stomach, its good to be back home!

Our vacation to Japan and Singapore was truly memorable and we cant wait to blog about our fun  food experiences. Because we were in 2 of Asia's best eating places, we wanted to do you guys proud and try absolutely everything. From the beautifully packaged desserts in Japanese department stores, to the hot and not so beautifully packaged surrounds of a Singaporean street hawker market. From having pure japanese ice cut by a master bartender, to having endless plum wine with locals at an underground izakaya.

Here's a peek at what you will read about once we finish unpacking and have a few rounds with the treadmill:

And now for a bit of Singapore...

Oh im hungry again... 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tokyo Time!

Demos and Gianna are leaving rainy Sydney tonight are heading for a bonkers trip to Japan We plan to somehow eat and drink our way through Tokyo in 5 days and it shall be madness.

Yes, DOMO is coming, and coming back home!!

We are in Tokyo from the 5th to the 10th of June and then off to Singapore from the 10th-14th And yes, there will be more eating in Singapore (Possibly more shopping if we survive Tokyo)!

So come along, we will try to update as often as we can – just depending on the amount of sake we have consumed. Peace up J-town!

Formaggi Occello, Surry Hills

After inhaling the Burger at the Beresford Hotel (see previous post..) we stumble upon Formaggi Occello. This day was a fairytale.. behold.. the most amazing cheeseroom this side of town.

Our "customised" cheese plate. Consisting of 3 amazing cheeses - Brie Aux Truffle ; Occello Triple Cream and this italian hard cheese wrapped (and therefore infused) with tobacco leaves.

No words.

My obsession with cheese can only be compared to my obsession with shoes.. its beyond insane.
Simply no words to explain how happy i was to have found this place. 
They have a wine and cheese appreciation night on the 28th of June. See you there!

Formaggi Occello Shop 16, 425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills Phone: (02) 9357 7878

Formaggi Ocello on Urbanspoon

The Beresford Hotel, Surry Hills

Oh The Beresford. We are going to be such good friends.
How I have fallen in love with your "Betty Burger" - a meat patty with on a HUGE bun, with rocket, beetroot, tomato, pancetta, provolone and lashings of olive tapenade.
And your salt and pepper calamari - nothing says romance then garlic breath after smothering your perfectly battered squid in the aoli.

What can be better then spending a brisk saturday afternoon with a mojito and a beer, pretending its summer and ignoring the cold!

So much prettier now that Mr Hemmes is looking after you, like a mini Ivy - except less skeezy. God bless merivale magic! 

Truly, love at first sight. 

The Beresford Hotel - 354 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2000.
The Beresford Hotel on Urbanspoon


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