Monday, July 27, 2009

Tika, Kanda

As Sato chan says here, 最近神田ばっかりです。今日も神田。Recently it's always Kanda. Today was Kanda too.

It didn't start out that way. I had my bike, so I thought I'd go somewhere farther afield. I headed toward Akiba, didn't see anything I really wanted to eat, got lost, and mysteriously popped out in my current favorite neighborhood on the southeast side of Kanda. Oops. Even then it was hard to pick a place! Still need to try the big yellow eel specialty store. It's summer, and power reserves are low!

Well, I fell into a hole - Tika is best described as a hole in the wall. Probably it used to be a ramen shop, judging by the cramped counter and uncomfortable stools. Somehow they found a tandoor and installed it behind the counter (not a real brick Italian tandoor; this one was metal), and a few vats of curry sat on the counter, waiting for duty in reheating pots.

The standout point of this lunch was that I got to see a guy make a naan for the first time. You ever wonder why it's that shape? I sure did. It's because he starts with a lump of dough (interestingly, this was described on the wall as 'soy milk naan'. I don't know if this is more or less traditional), then stretches it by slapping it back and forth from one hand to the other. If you make no attempt to rotate the dough, that action will cause the top part, moving faster, to stretch out a little on each pass...and hence a whole lot by the time it's done, hence the teardrop shape. I was powerless to observe the process by which he wrapped the dough around a stone and somehow slapped it on the side of the oven, and likewise the way he extracted it by using two long, thin metal rods...but it was all pretty interesting, especially because he looked more like he should be working in a garage than a kitchen.

I had the cheese vegetable curry (you can add finely grated cheese to anything for Y100), which was yellow, mild, flavorful, and had a fair few bits of vegetables (disappointingly, it wasn't dhal, but I guess I should have known that). The naan was genuinely excellent. The set came with a lame-o salad and a small sweet lassi, not bad for Y850.

This place was nice if very small and a bit dirty. The guys seemed kinda confused to have a foreigner come in, and they were very hesitant about speaking to me. I guess they didn't speak English, which is pretty rare for Indian restaurants.

Not a lotta webbage on this one. Anyway, they've only got 6 seats.

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