Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ciao! Curry, Kanda

This got kinda long and is probably boring. Caution is advised.

Options. LOTS of options. In fact, a confusing number. Have I mentioned my theory about too many options on a menu? I think it indicates lack of focus. On the other hand, this is more in the line of a list of permutations, which I think is equally reprehensible because you could use a 'one from column A...' format and reduce the dimension of the document dramatically. I digress.

You can get a lot of different types of curry at Ciao! (and I don't actually know if it has the exclamation point, but I like it. It's kicky. And Italian.). They boil down (unfortunate pun) to a few things: brown vs green. Chicken vs. seafood vs. vegetables. Spinach, egg, bacon, tomato. I think that's the basic set of options, and you can see that the permutations are significant. The menu is grouped into a bunch of different sections: "Chicken", "Popeye", "Special Moomin", "Seafood" etc., and then permutations appear under that header. I'm belaboring this.

Oh, you can choose your preferred spiciness too. Much to my surprise, I paid extra to get an extra-spicy curry (quel horreur!). This is partly because I was irritated about not getting a spicier curry over the weekend at Ethiopia and partly because their top suggested level (5) was 'only' an extra Y30. I know it's only Y30, but this seems sort of the same to me as charging Y200 for cheese on a burger - taking advantage of a captive audience and/or daring the customer to get the 'normal' item and risk being bored. So I got a Hot 5 Spinach Egg Bacon Curry.

This was served in an amusing fashion. In fact, much of the style and appointments of the place are mildly amusing, being as they're trying to break away from the hard-core old-guy image of curry (in Kanda at least; other places it might be student-oriented) and make a place that appeals to office ladies too. Like yesterday's ramen, it's on the black-and-white stylish side, with female staff. This is only working a bit - the patrons were probably 3/4 men.

Oh, but the way they serve: The rice (again, you can choose how many grams of rice you want. This serving-by-the-gram (now common in noodles too) is a little disturbing to me. Somehow clinical.) comes smooshed into a thin layer on a plate, with a small puddle of curry in the middle, two raisins on the rice outside the puddle, and the rest of the curry in a silver sauceboat on the side.

It was decent though. I liked the fact that there was a lot of spinach and bacon in the mix, I was a little disappointed that the egg was lightly scrambled into the curry rather than being boiled and chopped, and the quantity and spiciness were perfect for me. The spicing was distinctly Indian again (not sweet), and the seafood curry on the other side of our table looked to have the same roux, but I didn't ask.

There you go - a pleasant and gentle introduction to curry, popular with ladies!!!♪ But if you weren't already a hardened Kanda habitue, I'd recommend Budoya or Hongokutei as a starting point.

It may not be as good as Manten, but I wouldn't know, and that's a bit too far for mah lunchez anywhey.

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