Friday, November 26, 2010

Manuel, Shibuya

Hola. Manuel Towers. Looks like a Portugese cottage in the middle of Shibuya, doesn't it?

First time I've had Portugese food, I think. If you can manage to plan ahead, you'll want to go to the other Portugese restaurant in Shibuya, Bacari da Porta - it's a cheap outpost of Yokohama's fabulously popular Salone 2007. Unsurprisingly, it was full tonight.

This is in deep Shibuya for me - on the north side of Dogenzaka, heading into Shoto, practically the last lit-up thing on the street before it's all mansions. It's not often that I get to Shibuya, but for dinner with a glamorous Shoto native, anything goes.

Once a year is perhaps not often enough to meet your friends, but if said friend has lived in HK for most of the past year it's no crime that the last time we got together was December 31st. That was for a quiet champagne lunch; this was an equally-quiet vinho verde dinner. It was almost empty most of the time, letting us focus on, on the pictures and postcards of Portugal, plus the empty wine bottles.

They seem to prefer you get a course, but Akko is a regular with her family and thus we went off the reservation, getting what we wanted.

In true Iberian Penninsula fashion, the chorizo is very tasty but you get a tightly-rationed amount. I'd buy a stick of this for the house if I knew where to get it. Come to think of it, it's probably better if I stick with the whole brown rice-tofu-fruit-veg thing at home. Never mind.

Salt cod is the mainstay of Portugese food. I know that even though this is my first attempt at the cuisine. These fritters were really really good. You should get them if you go; the crust is thick and strong, and the inside is soft and softly fishy.

Akko was concerned that I / we couldn't handle two salt cod-based dishes, but I said "It's Portugese. Everything is salt cod!" The waitress liked that. Anyone should like this salt cod gratin, delivered hot and bubbling.

And most people would be happy with the beef and pork cooked in a crock - soft and tasty. I don't think it was really cooked in this crock though. Interesting that the cooking liquid is light and clear.

This girl would definitely not be happy with it - she's angered that someone would dare to combine lovely vegan tofu with gross pork. "Paging China: You Suck.    - Have a nice day, Pamela"

Now that today's random-abuse-of-strangers quotient is filled, I can tell you that the braised whole apple and the coconut pudding are both nice. They're light and not too sweet, which is welcome after fried food, fish-and-cream, and soft-cooked meats. You could probably eat more if you went here; I know I could have, but that just left us with more capacity to go to another place...

They're from Barcelona.

For Miss Pamela, who was so angry about the dastardly recipe magazine combining tofu and pork, I wanted to include an Animal Kill Counter on this post, but it seems Blogger's html facilities are pretty spare. You'll have to 'browse on over' to that page yourself so you can ponder how many donkeys and camelids are slaughtered every year to feed the world's gross meat eaters. To say nothing of how many chickens will die in the time you spend on the page. Unfortunately Miss Pamela doesn't blog any more, which I can only interpret to mean that she no longer cares about the slaughtered creatures.

1 comment:

  1. I went to the Manuel location in Shirokane with a friend from New Bedford MA so I knew her input would be real- she loved Manuels, even down to the anchovies which were the size of a fist! She claimed it was better than most Portuguese places in MA. Manuel was the first "foreign cuisine" restaurant we went to in Japan and would certainly recommend if you are looking for something different to eat