Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mahoroba, Monzen Nakacho (まほろば)

Indeed my friends, Monzen Nakacho is a place of wonder. If you ever make it there, you'll wonder "Why was I not informed sooner of the bounteous delights which awaited me in this lively, old-fashioned little suburb?" Seriously, you'll be really surprised by how many places there are to eat and drink at night. It's uncanny.

Mahoroba (which the Wiki says means "great place" in old Japanese) has been hovering around the top of the list of places to try for quite some time now. For a start, it's right next to the cleaner, so I go past it all the time (alternately, it's just over the bridge from the best sushi for miles around at Yata). Other factors? Attractive design and color scheme outside (remember that I don't care that much about the design vs food, but I think taking some care on the design is a sign that you'll take more care on the food. Of course, at the high end, all bets on this are off since places can focus on design at the expense of food.), and a menu featuring a bunch of specialist pork stuff (shabu shabu prominent).

Inside is a little odd - what I thought was a cute little counter when I looked from outside turned out to be a slightly cluttered and cramped counter and passage. The dining room beyond was then quite dark in a generally appealing wood-and-stone sorta way. Considering that there were just two other people canoodling quietly in a back booth, no problem getting a seat (whereas I've been turned away before). The starter was a pleasant sort of chicken southern-barbarian style, lightly deep-fried and then mixed with vinegar and chili.

Biggish menu, divided into very standard sections: Pork, Chicken, Starch, Recommendations, and a separate page for your choice of pork or chicken shabu shabu (I think Y1800 pp, from 2 people). The Pork Page drew most of my attention - some Iberico specialties as well as normal pig, mainly done on sticks (i.e. kushiyaki). These turned out to be a little difficult due to my lack of knowledge; I picked a few things on the more fatty and cartilaginous side. The chicken turned out very, very well - both the barely-seared (that means mostly raw, just white on the outside) tenderloin with generous servings of green onion and wasabi and also the grilled version. Oh, there were also some miscellaneous meats - a bit of wagyu on sticks, and some cherry meat too, heh heh.

Prices were reasonable. The only drawback was that it was impossible to consume so much salty, meaty goodness and not go back on the afternoon's pledge to drink no beer...

Ah think Ah hurt ma horoba. And as usual I didn't think to check for a coupon in advance.

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