Food · Fukuoka

New restaurants, round 2

I’ve had no trouble at all keeping up with my new year’s resolution to try a new restaurant a week. In fact, I’ve been trying more than one new place each week. And somehow managing to lose weight in the process, which is good.

Since I last wrote about this, I’ve tried four new places. And will try two new ones tomorrow. So many places, so little time…

Royal Garden Cafe

First up was this cafe in the Ohori Park Boathouse, where I ate with a group of friends before heading to the Monet exhibit and then a concert. Since I knew food wouldn’t happen again before the concert, and because I’m supposed to cut back on my meat intake, I opted for the chef’s choice lunch set, which was grilled fish and veggies. The meal also came with a salad, hot tea and bread with olive oil. Good bread, that that, including one dense, rich slice with sesame seeds. The veggies and fish were lightly dusted with bread crumbs and grilled and were quite tasty. Not sure how everyone else’s lunches were, but this one was a keeper.

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Animate Cafe

Not really a restaurant, but a theme cafe attached to our local Animate store. For this month and next, the theme is Touken Ranbu, a phone game involving pretty male personifications of famous Japanese swords. I’ve never played the game, but a number of my friends have been sucked in, including local friend Diana, who was lucky enough to win two reservations for the cafe, a week apart. On my first visit, I had a salmon dish, cappucino and a dessert with sweet potato and ice cream. Second time around, I had spaghetti with meatballs and a green tea cake dessert.

The main dishes were nothing to write home about, but the desserts were quite good.

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Cafe Minoru

Last Saturday I met my friends Natsumi and Mari for breakfast at a little cafe in the new Parco building. I’d been wanting to go there since I noticed they had bagels on the menu. They also seem to have interesting smoothies and other drinks, but since I hadn’t eaten yet, I wanted food. I settled on one of the two bagel sets (#8) on the menu, which had a cold veggie and barley dish, soup and a bagel with Kyushu-made cream cheese and home made strawberry jam. It was all quite tasty, though the bagel needed toasting. The jam was quite good. Will definitely go back to try one of the smoothies at some point.

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Nikuzen

And last night was a meat feast, as a bunch of us from work went out to a yakiniku place. Lots of good sides (many Korean):  kimchi (cabbage, daikon),  bean sprouts, mugwort, spinach with sesame, salad, chijimi (Korean savory pancakes)and a veritable cornucopia of meat to grill. There were various cuts of beef, chicken, pork belly, plus onions, squash and eggplant. It’s hard to go wrong with grilled meat, and I only passed on some pieces because I was very full before too long.

In the middle of the grilling, the waiter brought a couple of other dishes for us, which turned out to be horumon meats, something I’d been curious about, but never tried. I was okay with two of them, one which was tender and bursting with fat and one that was very chewy (my coworker described it as “ika-ppoi” or squid-like). This one reminded me of another favourite of mine, nonkotsu (cartilage) and I ended up eating quite a bit of it. The second plate, though … I eyed it suspiciously from the get-go, since it was filled with grey strips of something with a lot of little bumps on it. I’m game to try anything once, so I ate one strip. Odd texture, odd taste. I finished it and immediately said “No.” Turns out this is lining of the omasum, or third stomach of the cow (senmei in Japanese). One to avoid.

Other than that misstep, Nikuzen was a delicious evening. Just not something I can do regularly (it’s fish and tofu for me this coming week, yep).

For next time, it’s Robert’s Coffee and Ninoni gyoza.

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