Tokyo Food Diary
7th of July 2018, Wednesday.
Today, we’re staying at the Toyoko Inn Express in Haneda for two nights. Since it’s the monsoon season it’s a gloomy rainy morning.
Juri’s Tearoom in the Mitsukoshi flagship store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.
First, we head to the Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi. We get to the store 4 minutes before opening, and there’s already people waiting around for the store to open.
We head to the 1st basement floor, where you can find Juri’s tearoom. This tearoom was run by the person who ran a tearoom in the Cotswolds of the same name. I always used to eat the delicious scones made by Juri in Winchcombe before she moved to Tokyo, so whenever I’m in the city I can’t help myself and come here.
The interior has a calm atmosphere, with wallpaper from Laura Ashley.
The menu has a picture of the original Cotswolds tearoom on the cover.
There were some people ordering an afternoon tea set in the morning!
There was a rose decorating the dining table, which went well with the British food being served here.
I ordered some tea and a pair of scones. They were good scones; crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I spread jam and clotted cream generously and enjoyed. Satisfied, I can move on.
The only tram line in Tokyo
After tea, I rode the Yamanote line from Otsuka station. I wanted to ride the Toden Arakawa Line, which is the last remaining publicly-run tram line in Tokyo; it runs from Minowabashi to Waseda, which is about 12km. I didn’t expect a tram line in a city as modern as Tokyo. The sounds of the bell, wheels and motor of the tram are good to listen to as you travel.
You can ride these trams as you would with any other public transport in Tokyo, I used a Suika contact-less payment card. My journey was only about 10 minutes long, but it was fun riding this piece of history.
Back at Otsuka station, I stopped by Hinoya curry, which is a small curry restaurant near the station that has space for 8. Hinoya curry is apparently a restaurant chain that’s usually located near train stations in Tokyo. Traditional Japanese curry is served in these restaurants, which is a lot richer than typical Indian-style curry. It’s been a while since I’ve had Japanese curry so I tucked in.
The most popular dish here is the Mince-katsu curry; which is basically a thick deep-fired mince patty, with curry and rice. The meat patty was big and the curry was good, I’m fully satisfied.
Long Standing Sukiyaki store:
The next day, I went to Tokyo station for some business. On my way back, I decided to have dinner before going back to the hotel. While window-shopping in the Granroof area of Tokyo Station, I found a branch of the famous sukiyaki restaurant ‘Imahan’. I decided to go in, as you don’t see that many restaurants which specialise in sukiyaki.
The restaurant has been in business since 1895. That’s 123 years in business.
I ordered a 4500JPY sukiyaki set menu. This set menu starts with two small appetisers, which is followed with meat and vegetables for the sukiyaki.
Next, raw egg, hot water, and broth is bought to the table.
A steel pan on top of a portable induction hob is also placed on the table.
Vegetables consist of: Chinese cabbage, green onion, Japanese chrysanthemum, grilled tofu, shiitake mushrooms, shirataki noodles, and wheat gluten blocks branded with the store logo.
The meat was beautifully marbled Wagyu beef from Japanese Black-haired wagyu cows.
One of the waiters starts with putting the broth into the hot pan, and lightly searing both sides of the beef. The extra fatty part of the beef melts exquisitely in my mouth, and I’m left speechless. The meat is very soft but not greasy, and quickly slips into my stomach. As you would expect from world famous Japanese Wagyu.
In the broth which has now absorbed some of the stock from the meat, the waiter adds the remaining ingredients. After adding about half the ingredients, the waiter tells me to add the remaining ingredients and broth to taste, and to add the hot water afterwards.
I’m originally from the Kansai region, so I expected sugar and soy sauce added to the sukiyaki directly, but when sukiyaki is prepared in this way, I can taste the ingredients better. Back when I was younger sukiyaki was definitely a treat, and it seems this has not changed in the modern day. I want to enjoy this food again, is what I thought as I left the restaurant.