As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am meeting every week with two lovely Japanese ladies who want to practice their English. One time, we got into the topic of tofu, and I happened to mention that I love tofu. They then suggested that we go to a tofu restaurant that they had been to before, and we set a date.
The place was called Ume no Hana (which means plum blossom), and it’s located in Kichijoji. The place was so fancy, and far surpassed my expectations! They were so unbelievably kind to take me to such a luxurious place.
It was one of those places where the customers are given their own private room with a sliding door to close you off in complete privacy. The waitresses wear kimonos and come to your room to serve you. The photo below is of a slightly smaller room that I peeked into. Our room had four chairs and a longer table.
The first course was a chawanmushi, which is a savory egg custard containing little shrimp, mushrooms, and a ginko nut.
Beside that, there was a box containing three small dishes. One was a block of gomadofu (sesame tofu), which has a very unique and pleasant texture. The other was greens covered in a tofu-based sauce, and finally, there was unohana, which is strips of veggies covered in sauteed tofu pulp.
For the next course, they brought us a tofu shumai and a piece of tofu wrapped in deep fried yuba (tofu skin), onto which we squeezed fresh lemon. These were my favorite dishes of the whole course!
Next came little individual hot pots filled with veggies. They lit fires below each one, and we waited for our veggies to cook as we finished off the other courses.
During all of this, there was actually a big square tin that was actually cooking fresh tofu! It takes twenty minutes to cook, so they turned on the heat first thing, before any of the other courses arrived.
By the time we finished the pot of veggies, the tofu had finished cooking. They brought us a big pot filled with steaming hot crab and egg soup thickened with starch, so that it was almost like a porridge.
We scooped the fresh tofu into our bowls and poured the thick soup over top. There was also a spice mix containing sansho pepper, which went beautifully with the tofu dish.
The last course before dessert was oyster rice, miso soup and pickles. We liked the oyster rice so much that we tried ordering seconds. But, there wasn’t any time, because dessert soon came!
Dessert was a set of three small dishes. One was a daifuku made of wheat gluten, rather than the usual rice. It was filled with sweet red bean paste. The other was a soy pudding with ground black sesame. This was delicious! Finally, there was a small soy chocolate. If they hadn’t told us that there was soy in it, I really would have had no idea.
They were incredibly kind to treat me to such a wonderful lunch, and I really cannot thank them enough!
After lunch, I explored the shopping mall in which the restaurant was located. They were holding a special Chocolate Fair, for Valentine’s Day. There were many chocolatiers in one area, and you could sample all the chocolate that you liked!
I know I had already eaten enough lunch, but one booth really caught my attention. I think everyone else noticed it, too, because there was such a long line up! They were giant brown sugar steamed buns, and the aroma wafted through the whole floor.
Can you believe that they were just 250 yen? That’s only about $2.50 CAD. Needless to say, I found the nearest bench and tried it while it was still nice and warm.
After this, I actually had to rush back to Ogikubo because I was going to a Japanese friend’s house to make bhel puri for dinner. I actually already wrote a post about this, if you’re interested!