Saturday, November 22, 2008

Osaka Part 2: Love at first bite

Sometimes you just know… and this was certainly the case when I had the very best example of yoshoku (Japanese adaptations of Western dishes) in Osaka. This charming eatery that has been around for over 60 years makes your heart leap when you taste their unpretentious dishes that are packed with flavour and depth.

Their famous cabbage meat roll probably has some origins from Russian food – but it is distinctly a Japanese adaptation with an out of world combination of sauces – a demi glace sauce that has been stewed for at least a week over a charcoal stove on one half and a house made curry sauce on the other. The result? Comfort food that teases and satisfies you, all at the same time.
The hambaaga steak served with a side of spaghetti, garden salad and topped with a fried egg was also delicious – married together by the cherubic demi-glace sauce.
We also tried the restaurant’s cream korroke which was delightfully crispy on the outside and lusciously creamy on the inside. The filling was what dreams are made of, with hints of cinnamon and moreish spices.
The cotlette kareraisu is perfectly crispy pork cutlet served on top of a bed of rice and smothered with the restaurant’s famous curry sauce. The curry here is fruity, spicy and really really good… nothing at all like the packet paste varieties that have become so common outside of Japan and dare I say, served under the guises of house made curries in restaurants.
But what sealed the deal was the hayashi raisu. Basically a beef stew… this dish doesn’t immediately prepare you for the taste sensation that just hits you. The sauce is incredibly complex and has so much depth that you need to take time enjoy this one. Savoury, sweet, tangy, rich… becoming apparent with each satisfying mouthful.
Yoshoku may not be traditional Japanese food - but the execution, attention to detail and balance of flavours is without doubt something only the Japanese could have done - to turn the ordinary into something truly extraordinary.

Maruyoshi Grill
1-6-72 Abeno-sujo, Abeno-ku, Osaka
5 mins walk from Exit 12 of Tennoji station
Tel: 06-6649-3566


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