Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dinner with the K-man!

What do you drink when you dine with a sake brewer? What about when there are two of them  - each enormously proud of their own brand and wanting you to sample as many as possible? 

You may note that the table becomes very messy and photos a little blurry? well that about sums up the state I was in by the end of the evening. We were also dining with a passionate food importer/exporter so no prizes for guessing that we were also royally stuffed!

Yaoya is a cracking izakaya in Demachi-yanagi run by a very friendly husband and wife team with a great sense of humour - and hospitality of course. Seafood is king here however, Yaoya, meaning vegetable shop is named for the chef's family's history in the veggie trade and as such the greens are also handled with great respect. The bespoke Kozaemon junmai sake below displays a caricature of the chef  - illustrating his quest for good times. The long box in front contains salts from all over the world - although I am not sure when you would need them as every morsel was perfect just as it was. 
The standard izakaya "over-pour" - a generous sign of things to come... . 
Famously rare Kaiza crab - ordered in for us by cuisine savvy Kozaemon san.
Tamagoyaki (omelette), Fresh nishin (herring) with Koji (rice mould also used in sake manufacture) and Tara (re-hydrated cod) cooked in soy and mirin.
Sashimi of Buri ( yellowtail) and its belly
Kue ( longtooth grouper) - served with ponzu for dipping
Daruma shibi ( a type of Maguro/tuna that is very round in the middle like a daruma doll) - it is quite young when caught so is aged for 2-3 days and eaten with strips of toasted nori.

Crisp skin from the maguro - fish crackling - yum!
An excellent Oden in the background containing slow simmered gyuusuji (beef tendon), daikon, hanpen and chikuwa (both fishpaste cakes), egg, konnyaku, fried tofu

The deconstructed Kaiza Kani...
thick, slightly sweet, cloudy sake - containing the same bacteria as yoghurt

Kinoshita san from Amabuki sake (they make their brew from the yeast of flowers only) is sipping away from the crab shell in which hot sake has been simmered - forming a potent crab broth. ... Nakazawa san from Top Trading Co. patiently awaits his turn
You know the night is on a slippery slope when the sweet n pretty drinks come out - a refreshing  blood orange sake from Amabuki.
Kozaemon san with the chef's wife - the gorgeous Tomoko san - carrying a bottle of Kozaemon sake after yet another top up...
The night ended with "TKG" - Tamago Kake Gohan - beaten egg is poured over piping hot rice and mixed in with chopsticks,  cooking it very lightly. The sloppy but incredibly delicious end to the meal (why are eggs so good in this country?!?!) was accompanied by miso soup and pickles, preserves and toasty nori for in between bites... sooooo good. An excellent way to soak up the insane amount of sake that was floating around our systems. 

To find the restaurant - exit out the west mouth of the Demachi-yanagi shotengai (shopping arcade)  - turn right and walk a few minutes  -you will find it on your left - just look for the bottle display out the front as per the first pic in this post. 


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