Adventures in Tokyo continued

Turns out I didn’t have any other chunks of time to continue blogging the rest of my Tokyo eating, but being wide awake at 5am kind of feels like an extension of the holiday, so here goes!

Last time on DDD does Japan…plane-but-not-plain food, udon, sushi, traditional Japanese breakfast, kitchen shops, takoyaki.
This time: ramen bars, Western breakfast, unadon, yakitori.

Having stuffed myself with takoyaki mid-afternoon, I wasn’t really hungry until quite late.  M was being wined and dined by his Tokyo colleagues, so after blogging my heart out, I hit the streets of Shibuya looking for something enticing to eat.  Nothing really struck me, and as it often goes, I got a bit grumpy the hungrier I got, and less inclined to be brave and go into a restaurant by myself.  As if by magic, a solution appeared: a ramen bar where you order from a vending style machine outside, take your ticket in and get your food!

Pick your food, put your money in, press the corresponding button, get a receipt
So(ba) many noodles, so(ba) little time…
Hand over your chit, get noodles and beer. Simple.

The noodles were good.  Not outstanding, but good, slurpy noodles with some roast pork and chunks of cabbage in a tasty broth.

Next morning we went to Tsukiji Fish Market early o’clock (take a look at Matt’s photos for all the tuna auction action), and having watched hook-wielding men buy some of the most expensive fish on earth, went back to bed.  I woke up craving coffee, cereal and maybe some scrambled eggs on toast. Some interweb searching yielded precious little but a general consensus that breakfast is not a big deal meal here.  Disappointed and hungry, I gave Chowhound a last fling, and lo! On The Corner, but a short walk from my hotel, was recommended.  The online menu hit the spot, so starving, I marched Matt there with the promise of great coffee from No.8 Bear Pond, the coffee bar attached to On The Corner.

I ordered the Power Breakfast; Matt the fruit & yogurt, and the Country Sausage Egg Muffin, and both of us had coffee.

From more Chowhounding, looks like our coffee wasn’t actually from the lovely looking coffee stand out front, but it still tasted pretty good.  If I’d had this breakfast in any city in the world I’d have been very happy, but somehow having it in Tokyo where breakfast just doesn’t seem to be a big deal, it’s extraordinary.  It’s a very short walk from Shibuya Station, and if you’re a bit of a cook book geek, this place is just up the road….

Yes, I thought it was called Cock Coop too.  But it isn’t.  Shame.

It hadn’t opened when we walked past else I’d have struggled not to buy anything.  You know me.

There was also a cookery school opposite the cafe, where I could see a class learning something in very lovely looking teaching kitchens….

One thing I hadn’t appreciated before coming to Tokyo despite reading it, and being told it was the single-food-restaurant concept that’s widespread. Ramen bars, teppanyaki restaurants, takoyaki stalls, dessert cafes: all specialising in one type of food, all serving it exceptionally well.  Makes perfect sense but can feel a bit odd to those accustomed to Western-style eating out.

For lunch, we took the mono-food menu to a new level of specificity with an unagi restaurant.  Unagi kabayaki is grilled eel coated in a sweet, thick soy-based sauce and this restaurant pretty much sold only that – I don’t remember any photos of anything other than permutations of grilled eel on rice.  After my epic power breakfast I wasn’t very hungry, but tasted some of Matt’s.  It was lovely, but having just looked up the MSC site to check how sustainable eel is, I’m not sure I’ll be seeing it much here, or ordering it much in the future.

Unadon lunch

I also knew we had dinner plans at a yakitori joint, which Matt had previously raved about,a s well as regaling me with the tale of his last jetlagged dinner there where he and his friend had 21 skewers and 4 pints each.  Good grief.

The skewers were utterly delicious with one exception: some chicken meat attached to what was almost certainly cartilage (although I still can’t work out what part, maybe the breast bone?). Rubbery-crunchy is the only way I can describe it, and with no particular flavour, I ate one skewer-ful and that was it. Not a  texture I can say I enjoyed.  The chicken hearts were a bit nicer, with a more familiar offal flavour, but again a slightly peculiar texture, a water chestnut crossed with kidney.

But the rest were unqualified sticks of deliciousness but I have no idea what most were.   And as a regular chicken-wing avoider, I was very pleasantly surprised by the little sticky sesame numbers we had.  Finger lickin’ indeed.

Chicken cartilage is to the left of the grilled spring onions….
Sesame chicken wings
Too many for me: the boys ordered seconds.  Can’t remember what the egg/soy mix was the dipping sauce for, I think the sausage-shaped one?

Next time: to the mountains! 7-11 breakfast, yakiniku, soup-in-a-can, teppanyaki, homeward bound.

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