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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 12:50 pm
The standard! Busaba (Store Street). A habitual haunt w/ one of my pals. We keep going back for the cult-ishly addictive Thai Calamares (aka "the special stuff"). The best combination on the menu imho is an order of thai calamares (so flavoursome! so frequently fresh! how do they DO it!), som tam (green papaya salad - they keep it moist so you can also dip yr 'mares in it should you wish) and a cold CHANG beer. I would not say no to some sticky rice along with this, but Busaba have kindly replaced the sticky rice with brown rice. Brown rice can BUG OFF. Well it's OK sometimes but dudes now is not the time.

The hip and new! Koya: Mr Noodles kindly alerted me to some sort of buzz about this new-ish udon shop, so dutifully I did the rounds food-blogs run by Bloggers With Cameras to check out teh buzz. VERY buzzy. Here is Mr Noodleses review, which even includes a photo. See... he's a proper food blogger innit.

SO,  the deal at Koya is hand-made superior udon noodles. Served either hot-hot (hot noodles in hot soup), hot-cold (hot soup, cold noodles on the side) or cold-cold (cold dippy soup, cold noodles - brr). I am afraid I wasn't quite sure how to navigate my way through these options - I've had hiyashi chuka ramen, but that's a different bowl of cold noodles all-together. In the end I BRAVELY went for hot-cold - cold udon noodles w/ hot miso-buta (pork) broth, along with some pork belly and onsen tamago on the side. You know onsen tamago right? It is HOT SPRING EGGS! They are sort of like poached eggs++++++. I've made them myself a few times but oddly I don't think I've had one in a restaraunt? That doesn't seem right... ?

ANYWAY. The food turned up relatively quickly, and gosh, why did I go for something I wasn't quite sure *how* to eat. The noodles are chewy, sticky and long, and come sitting on a little bamboo tray, with yr broth in a seperate bowl. I gamely attempted dipping noodles in the broth, but given a/ longness of noodles b/ general incompetence at navigating chopsticks SIGH, I think I made a bit of a mess. On their own, the noodles are good, but eventually I ended up scooping them into the bowl - after a few minutes they'd soaked up the broth perfectly and were the most delicious things ever? So... why have them on the side in the first place? Would hot-hot have skipped out the middle man here/ Oh well... might I add here that the broth was incredibly delicious? It pisses on other soups from great heights. The noodles themselves were also great, but perhaps I haven't eaten enough udon to *really* appreciate the greatnesss of the ones at Koya?

Minus points: it's pricey, and they don't sell Asahi Black. Waaaaaai.
Plus points: the broth, the onsen tamago, nice general ambience if you will, you can order scraps of batter to go in yr udon (though you get way more if you just order the tanuki udon at beloved Donzoko - which also sells Asahi Black,  I AM JUST SAYING).

The new-near-my-office! This is getting long now, but the third place is Mai Sushi on Chalton Street. We went on the spur of the moment after a drink at the Somers Town Coffee House, and ordered a mix of nigiri, sashimi salad oh and a bottle of TAKARA PLUM BOOZE. We didn't really need to order that, but it was there... they also have "raspberry sake". Scary.  Here is their full menu, which has a much bigger sake list than I think I remember seeing? I must report that we had had several "small ales" before this trip so my accurate reporting suffers a little. Whilst I don't remember eating too much (Kake may beg to differ), the seabream really stood out as delicious. I want to go back and have the grilled salted seabream (look for the 'shioyaki' bit of the menu), or maybe seabass, or maybe mackerel. And it's always important to see if the nasu dengaku is good?

It also says they do a hotpot, but what sort, I wonder? There's Vietnamese, Tom Yum, "rice soup hotpot" (w/ seafood), mix BBQ, but uh, why no shabu-shabu in a Japanese restaurant?

I think I need to work on taking some photos, I highly suspect no-one will read all of this w/o a photo 'sweetener'...

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