Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sapporo Food: Tozai Russian Restaurant

In my absence from blogging I went to a whoooooooole bunch of places and took pictures intending to blog about them. I then proceeded not to blog about them. Where was the flaw in my plan? How did things go wrong? Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps we will never care. Almost certainly we will never care.

So in most cases this means that I don't feel right writing a proper account of my meal there since it was a while ago and memory is a funny thing. I do want to say something about those places though, so I'll just do some little short things.

Tozai is a Russian restaurant/bar in the basement of the haunted Norbesa building. Please note: Norbesa is not really haunted, it just feels that way sometimes. I went there a while back, but my impression was that the atmosphere wasn't all that great and the food didn't look all that amazing, but that everything we ate there was really good. I honestly don't remember what anything was called except for the piroshiki (sp?!), but I'd really like to go back there sometime and try some of this again. The slice of fish/beet tart/pie thing was especially good. Remember that I know nothing about Russian food, and it was a while ago, but I liked the place. Also the lighting was pretty dim so the photos don't really do the food justice. Anyway:

It's on the map, and it's in the basement of Norbesa which has a sodding great Ferris wheel on top so it should be easy to find.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Sapporo Food: Beans Happy Home-made Meat Pies

NO! No you did not read that wrong! A meat pie shop in Sapporo, Japan where most people take their pie cues from the USA where pies are all sweet and stuff. Sigh. For Brits and Antipodeans this is an injustice that has gone too long unchallenged.

Beans Happy is a little take-away/eat-in Pie shop that opened up very recently (read: last week) near Nishi 18 Chome station on the Tozai line of the underground. Long story short: it's pretty good. They say they do Australian-style meat pies, although I don't know if any foreigners are involved in the place, and it's not really going to satisfy you if you're after big hearty meat pies like they do back home. It's located in an area with lots of small, fancy cafes and plenty of affluent families so bear that in mind - it's not really aimed at ex-pats who miss meat pies. It was good though, and I thought that the basic meat pies (of which I had two, didn't have a chance to try anything else yet) tasted like meat pies do back in England, and what more can you ask?

They even put a dollop of tomato sauce there on the side without me asking. That shows some fine cultural understanding from my point of view. The pies aren't huge, but they're only 300 something yen each so I thought they were just fine for the money. Gravy and minced meat filling. The pasty and filling are good, nothing earth-shattering, but better than the pretty crappy pie I had when I was in Sydney recently.

I went in the second day they were open on my lunch break and they had a sign up on the door saying they'd already sold out of all the pies they'd made that morning. I stuck my head in and asked and it turned out they'd just finished a batch of the regular meat pies, so I lucked out and got two piping hot from the oven. The place was quiet when I went in, but I'm guessing it's been pretty busy at peak times, and a friend of mine had a pretty terrible experience. He actually went there the first day they opened, ordered seven pies to take out and when he got home found that they'd only given him four. And they were all completely different from those he ordered. By the time he got back to the store they'd sold out so they could only refund him, but even that was a trial (by his account) so it sounds that they're going through some teething problems while they work out some regular routine. Perhaps bear that in mind, though I'm sure they'll iron things out. They're only a week old after all!

I'll put it on my map. It's between Nishi 18 Station and Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art so it's not that hard to find. I also found this page from the company that did all their designs, which are really pretty cool.

Sapporo Food: Spicy Soup Curry Legon

First! If you check this blog sometimes then I'm sorry for the lack of posts. Explanations will be forthcoming at some point or another.

Second! Let's get back to the soup curry!

Spicy Soup Curry Legon was recommended to me by a commenter a while back and checking the place on the web I found a few favourable English language comments. However it is absolutely nowhere near where I live, so it took me forever to actually make the trip out there. It was worth it though!

Legon's soup was really nice, and pretty unique. The closest place to it that I can think of would be Gombei Spice, since they both have pretty strong, forceful curry flavours and a consistency where you can almost feel the spices on your tongue. I'd say Legon was more delicious, but then Gombei Spice isn't for everyone anyway.

I had the buta kakuni (slow cooked pork) with extra chicken meat-ball topping. Yuki had the chicken meat-ball soup, which was why I got the topping: to stop myself stealing any of hers. There's a lot more on their menu that I'd like to try too, some really nice looking chicken and a melty-cheese-egg topping that looks pretty special. I hope we can head back soon to try those too.

The kakuni was great, really soft and delicious, and the meatballs were good too. The vegetables were well cooked, which is always important for me, and overall I have no hesitation in recommending the place to anyone who happens to be in the area. Which is at the Western end of the Tozai line... so, perhaps it'd be better to say that it's worth a trip? It is, and thanks to whoever recommended the place to me! That said, it was delicious and I had a great meal, but it doesn't replace any of my favourite Soup Curry shops in my affections. Bearing in mind that I reckon the idea of a 'best' soup curry place is pretty stupid, this place would be top ten if I were inclined to making lists. Which I ain't!

I'll mark it on my map. We drove there, but it must be about ten minutes walk from Miyanosawa station at the end of the Tozai line.