Monday, 22 October 2018

2018 Shimokitazawa curry fes the second visit (下北沢カレーフェス).

It was inevitable that I made a second trip back to Shimokitazawa for round 2 of the curry fes so off I went again.  Now I recently moved and now it is over an hour from home to Shimokitazawa (oh the lengths I will go to for curry!!).

First up was a specialist Hamburg steak restaurant called Torokeru Otona Hamburg.which translated into English is Melting Hamburg for Adults.....



Now I have been to this restaurant before for the Shimokitazawa Geki Kara fes (See write up here) and it is a little pricey, but the food is good.

After a short wait, the food arrived.






I started with a taste of the curry.  Now that wasn't a hint of cumin at all, that was a slap in the face of cumin!!  Very nice!



Now I have a strange way of eating food.  Usually I will eat all of the vegetables first working up to and finishing with my favourite vegetable.  This used to really frustrate my father who always tried to cram a bit of everything on to his fork with each mouthful.  So, I started with the carrot then the potato and finishing with the broccoli (in my opinion, the King or Queen of vegetables!).  Next came the fun part, piercing the yolk of the egg



and then pouring the curry over the top!



The hamburg steak was literally fall apart tender, at time breaking up and falling off of the fork, but just delicious!  Like I said, pricey, but delicious.  All up, including bread and a soft drink, 2,200 yen.

Finishing up, I walked around the neighbourhood to digest a little before moving on to the next place.  Now, I have been coming to Shimokitazawa regularly for over 9 years and I never get tired of wandering around the area.

Feeling ready for my next plate I wandered over to my next curry adventure, Mikazuki Curry Samurai which is a relatively new curry restaurant on the restaurant scene in Shimokitazawa.  




It has a sister restaurant also in Shimokitazawa called Rojiura Curry Samurai which I have not yet been to but will be trying after experiencing Mikazuki's curry!!  I had to wait about 30 minutes and it left me wondering if the wait would be worth it (I don't like waiting for food....).  Entering the restaurant there was a strong aroma of cumin (positive sign). I ordered the lamb curry which was not their curry fes offering, so you can order this one any time!  After a further 10 minutes wait it finally arrived.  This had better be worth it, I thought to myself.




I had ordered the lamb curry with a soft boiled egg and extra broccoli and extra spicy.  At first bite I was left a little underwhelmed with the spice level.  The lamb was very tender and the vegies added a nice contrast in texture, some extra crunch!  The broccoli had been deep fried with garlic.  Suddenly the spiciness started building and there was a hint of a numbing element to the curry too.  By the time I had finished the plate, my taste buds were dancing!  I will always say that Bar Loaded's chicken nanban curry is my favourite (see first blog post about the curry fes for this one), but in this curry I had found a close second favourite.  Definitely do yourself a favour and head to Mikazuki curry samurai and check out their curries!

Thanks again for reading.  I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoyed the curry fes if you were able to get along.  Please leave a comment below and sign up to receive email updates when I upload a post from the right side of the screen.  Also, feel free to share by Facebook and Twitter from the dropdown box at the top left side of the page.

Cheers and see you next time! 

Monday, 8 October 2018

2018 Shimokitazawa curry fes the first visit (下北沢カレーフェス).

Yesterday I jumped on the train with an empty stomach and headed off to Shimokitazawa to sample some of the curries on offer.  When you get to Shimokitazawa exit the station and start walking.  Pretty soon you'll see plenty of participating places.  Just pick up a map from out in front or\f whichever participating restaurant / bar / cafe and start enjoying!




I met up with good friend and long time resident of Shimokitazawa (in fact, some refer to him as the Mayor of Shimokitazawa. Honestly, you walk into nearly any restaurant or bar in the area with Charlie and the staff look up and say "Oh, hi Charlie!").  The first place we visited was not one that I had planned on.  It is a craft beer bar that we entered just for a beer and we found out that they were participating in the curry festival.  The name of the place is Kazenori Merry, number 56 on the map.



Here is their Facebook page.  The staff are very friendly and speak good English.  They have 20 beers on tap, mostly Japanese and American.



I ordered myself a beer, a very hoppy IPA, in fact you could smell the aroma of the hops coming out of the glass before even picking the glass up!



Pretty soon the curry arrived.



The staff explained that it was a mutton curry and they had used thyme to flavour it,  Sitting on top there is some coriander and Indian pickled cabbage. It had a nice slightly bitter taste to it and I would rate it as medium spicy.  The staff mentioned that the curry will change every couple of days as they make a new batch.  A very nice way to start Curry Fes!

Charlie then left me and headed of to a nearby wine bar called Hagare.  Here is a link to their facebook page.  This place is recommended too as glasses of wine are only 300 yen!  

The good thing about a lot of the participating restaurants is that they offer full and mini servings of their curries so you can sample a few different curries.  I went off in search of my next choice, 他力本願寺カレー 瀬口家 (Tari Khon Gangi Curry Segutique).  There was a line so I had to wait a little.  In all of my excitement I forgot to take a photo, but it is number 36 on the map, near the koban (police box) and the friendly police officers here will help you find it.

The interior of the store is pretty funky!







They even provide instructions on how they recommend you eat the curry!



I hate to admit it, but in my haste to get the first few spoonfuls into my mouth, I forgot to take a photo again but here is one from the curry fes website.


(source: https://curryfes.pw/)

One half was a red keema and the other was a black keema with cashew nuts on top.  The red keema had a nice tomatoey taste to it and the black had no standout flavour, but was no less tastey again, not too spicy.  Finishing up I went and joined Charlie for a couple of glasses of red wine.

Then I headed off to my final curry of the night at my friend Kazu's bar, Bar Loaded, number 1 on the map.



Kazu's curry is a chicken nanban curry and he has a number of options.



I got the curry with the spicy salsa topping.





Now Kazu cooks his chicken curry for 6 hours so it has a deep, rich flavour!  Definitely comfort food!

Fully satisfied I jumped back on the train and headed home.  I am certainly planning to go to some more places next weekend!

Thanks again for reading.  Please feel free to leave a message below and sign up on the right side of the screen to receive emails when I upload a new post.  I have just noticed that at the top of the screen you can share the blog with Facebook and Twitter so please feel free to share with others who may like to read the blog too by using this feature.

See you next time!

PS, I have just started another blog devoted to ramen.  You can find it at https://justanotherramenblog.blogspot.com/

Feel free to check that one out too if you like ramen!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

2018 Shimokitazawa curry fes

Just a quick heads up about the Shimokitazawa curry festival.  This is a yearly event in which many restaurants, cafes, bars etc in the Shimokitazawa area create their own unique curry dish.  It is on from October 5th to October 14th.  This year there are over 120 places taking part.  It doesn't happen in one place.  You go to each individual restaurant and order there curry there.  You can find a list of participating places here.  There are a multitude of different styles of curries.  My personal favourite is the first one on the list, a chicken nanban curry.  The curry is slow cooked for 6 hours.

I have written about this festival before and you can find the write-up here. If you get along, I hope you enjoy it.  I will certainly be there!