Its baby sitting swap night so we decided to go for Sushi/Japanese food. I’m slightly relieved to be honest to have the break from cooking and I feeling dejected as I’m convinced I’m developing a paunch of some description. I would like to blame the remnants of monthly water retention but I think I’m beyond being able to apportion blame to that, and fear all this food is adding to my waistline.

 Anyway – my feelings of porkiness are washed aside when I looked at the menu in our local Japanese restaurant. I maintain my “new taste per day” resolution by ordering Takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls) as a starter and Unagi Donburi (Eel over rice) with a selection of Japanese pickles followed by Dorayaki (Japanese pancake with a soya bean filling).

 In all honesty I have been to Japan and hence had tried the Octopus balls in their birthplace – Osaka. I aldo was fortunate enough to stay at a Japaense Buddhist temple and had tried a massive selection of Japanese pickles so the first two dishes could not be regarded as new.

The Eel over rice and the dessert were new dishes.

Takoyaki is quite a heavy starter/side dish. Its basically a Japanese dumpling which comes in the form of a semi cooked flavoured batter in the shape of a small golf ball with a piece of octopus in the middle. Its deep fried and the outer shell has a slightly crust like texture to it (but softer). It is drizzled with okonmiyaki sauce -a typical Japanese sauce that taste similar to Worcestershire sauce but is thicker and sweeter. It also comes with a lighter mayonnaise drizzled over the top and Bonito flaxes ( Katsuobushi) sprinkled over the top Bonito flakes are dried fish flakes used to add flavour to some Japanese dishes. I Love Love Love these and I am extremely excited to be able to find them in the small town where I live.

 Donburi means food “arranged on steamed rice”. The Unagi was coated in a sweet thick soy based sauce and had a roasted taste. The texture is similar to an oiler fish like mackerel or perhaps very very moist tuna. It does not taste like fish but like the darker turkey meat with a very marinated flavour. Its delicious. The rice they served it with was a plain sushi type rice with a bland lettuce salad served with it that added crunch and texture/moisture but that’s about all.

The Dorayaki was an unusual dish which on first taste left me unsure as to whether I liked it or not. I expected a crepe style pancake and I expected it to be warm. But the two “pancakes” looked a bit like those pancakes you buy in multi packs from the super market – thick and spongy and about 3 inches wide and were served at room temperature. In honesty they tasted similar to sponge cake but perhaps had an oiler finish on the palate, they were nothing amazing. They were sandwiched together with a red bean paste which had a mild sweet taste with the texture and shade of mashed kidney beans . They have a a mild almost almond taste. There was a raspberry coulis drizzled over the dish which adding acidity and “lifted” the slightly cloying combination of the pancake and bean combination.

 This was a good meal and I would order every single dish again.


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