Tuesday 25 July 2017

Dining at an icon - oyakodon at Tamahide

It's not often that you hear of a restaurant that has been open for 257 years (at the time of writing, having opened in 1760).  It's even less often that you get a chance to eat at such a restaurant.  My chance came recently.

Tamahide is a well renowned, family owned (currently in its 8th generation) restaurant in Ningyocho, Tokyo.  Having said that, one fine point about Tamahide is that, despite its fame, the prices have been kept very reasonable and it is thus able to be enjoyed by everyone.  One mention of the name and you get knowing nods of the head and beaming smiles from Japanese people.  It is well known for its longevity, but more well known as the restaurant that invented the dish oyakodon.  The name oyakodon literally translates into "parent and child rice bowl".  When you hear what it is made of, it makes perfect sense.  Oyakodon is pieces of chicken and egg (and sometimes onion) that have been simmered in a blend of soy sauce, mirin and other things, depending on the chef.  The resulting sauce is a fine balance between salty and sweet that complements the dish nicely.

The lucky day arrived and I jumped on the train to Ningyocho where I met good friend Tetsuya (who used to be a chef and thus was also looking forward to the experience).  Tamahide is located only a couple of minutes walk from A2 exit of Ningyocho station so it didn't take long before we arrived and the regal building that has housed Tamahide since 1760.

At a place with the reputation of Tamahide, it is quite usual to find long lines of people waiting to enter the restaurant but this day, the line wasn't too bad..

However this wasn't to be a problem for us as we had arranged reservations.  Outside the restaurant there are a couple of signs that point out the story and the history of Tamahide.

We went inside the restaurant and were quickly escorted by the staff up to the second floor.  The decor was beautiful traditional Japan!

Pretty soon after our host, the owner / manager came out to say Hi.  We didn't need to order as she had already organised our course.  Soon after the food began arriving.  First up was some ground / minced chicken that tasted like it had been cooked in soy sauce until the soy sauce had reduced away and soaked into the chicken meat.

Beautifully salty.  Next was some pickles followed soon after by the beer.  What a perfect combination!

As soon as we had finished that, the pièce de résistance, the main dish, came out....

The oyakodon was served with a collagen soup which went down well.  I could feel my skin becoming more tight and beautiful with every sip!

Finally, after every last morsel was gone, they brought out desert.

Nice and light at the end of a nice meal, the perfect way to finish it.

So, how was it?  It was damn good!  The two things that stuck out the most to me were the light fluffiness of the eggs and the tastiness of the chicken.  The taste of the chicken seemed to intensify with every chew.  And the ting about the restaurant that stood out the most was the fact that despite their reputation and fame, the humbleness and modesty and omotenashi (Japanese customer service and hospitality) remains strong at Tamahide.  I was very impressed and well recommended.

So that's it for another post.  Please leave me a comment below, I reply to all comments left.  Also feel free to sign up with your email on the right-hand side of the page to get updates when I post.

Finally, I am going to start trying a new project.  I want you to leave me a message below and I want you to leave a number and a letter of the English alphabet in your message.  What I will then do will be to find a correlating train line around Tokyo and a matching (as near as possible) train station on that line and do a random blog post about the area.  That should be a lot of fun, and a mystery adventure each time!  Please get involved and get me busy!!

See you next time!

Cost of the food course at Tamahide: 3,300 yen.