Saturday, 30 January 2010


Ok ... we went reasonably local for M's dinner and headed off to Mooners to this quiet unassuming Japanese in Hall Street for some nipponese delights. Our venue of choice was CHIBA's.

 There was a bit of a kerfuffle when I made the booking and I think something got lost in translation and the woman who took my call said that if I wanted to book for 7.30pm I would have to leave by 8, so could I book for 8 instead?? Yah I know. Anyhoo, I noticed a couple of tables set up for 2 only including one that was squashed into an awkward corner. But we were shown to a bigger table instead, which was a blessing as we ended up ordering the banquet with sukiyaki.

As usual, the table was already set with some yummy pickles to whet your appetite while you decide on your order.

And of course the first thing to do was settle the sake.

We opted for the Tokyo banquet set which was the only one that offered sashimi.
Our first course was this incredible soup made with salted cod, dried mushrooms and the ubiquitous tofu.
When it first arrived at our table, a really strong bacony scent hit us first, which then developed into the earthy aroma of the mushroom and the coastal tinge of the dashi stock. Beautiful soup. Salty, smoky, earthy ... all of Japan in one shiny laquered bowl.
Next came the sushi/sashimi platter.
No surprises here. The choices are obviously much better on their main Sushi/Sashimi platter but we were happy enough with the salmon and tuna. Had to get used to Wasabi again. Its been awhile.
Next was the fried portion of the meal. We had panfried gyozas and these oyster croquettes.
Whilst our lovely waitress beside herself preparing the sukiyaki (i.e. cooking the various veg in the teriyaki stock), we were served our tempura prawns and vegetables.
This was a little bit of a letdown. Both M and I are finding that we are less enamoured of prawns as we head into our twilight years. As it was, we had 4 of the suckers and one measly sliver of potato and 2 beans. We would have preferred to have had just one prawn (if we must) each and more veg on the plate. Anyhoo, justa minor blip.
The sukiyaki was delicious. We opted for rice instead of udon noodles and it really soaked up all the flavours. The soup was perhaps maybe too intense to drink on its own, but M actually had the raw egg (optional) mixed in!!

For dessert a simple scoop of green tea ice cream with a red bean topping and japanese tea.
Just one more thought before I put this to bed. If you a bit on the whiffy side, don't come into a small restaurant to collect your evening meal between your gym session and a shower. Be a little more thoughtful!


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