I was going to post about a couple of places in Sapporo and then I thought: no, hold on, surely I've posted about those before!? A quick search of my own blog revealed that I had not. More than that, I've barely blogged about any soup curry restaurants at all, and those that I have written about are the so-so ones! (For more info about soup curry, a fairly self-explanatory Sapporo speciality, feel free to search my blog for yourself)
This madness stops now.
Ladies and Gentleman, at the present time the best soup curry I have ever had - Lavi Lavi:
Lavi Lavi's honten (main store) is in Kita-ku, maybe ten or fifteen minutes walk from Kita 24 Jyou station, and the soup curry there is incredible. I cannot recommend the place enough, and there are a few other branches around Sapporo which I'm sure are excellent too. The flavour is rich, the ingredients are fresh and delicious, the menu is interesting and varied, and they deal in a frankly incapacitating range of spices. You can choose a spice level for your soup from zero to fifty, so the first time I went I looked at the descriptions and went for an eight. I was in a great deal of pain. If you like moderately spicy food then maybe a four would be good. Five was pretty much spot on for me, and I cannot imagine anyone surviving an encounter with the upper end of the scale, but I'm sure there are some brave souls out there happy to try.
That's a borscht-style soup curry, this month's special, and it was delicious. The soup at Lavi Lavi is generally very aromatic and full-flavoured, and the idea of making that a little more sour and adding sour cream as a topping was inspired. I've been there several times though now, and nothing I've had has been anything short of fantastic. I really love the place, and it's been sorely missing from my map so far. So now it's on there.
Actually I thought about tracking down the other locations of Lavi Lavi (and some of the other small chains I've written about) and marking them on the map too, but I've found that the quality can vary quite a lot between stores when they're a small independent chain. I've been to three different branches of Spark, for example, one of the larger soup curry chains, and each one felt like a different restaurant, and the quality certainly varied massively (from good to awful - I don't really rate the place that highly). So I'll just stick the kita-ku branch down and you can do your own research. It's worth it.