This is my second ever post about food. Like the first, it is about Japanese cuisine. I have been in Bendigo for the the last few days, and on Tuesday night I went out for dinner to My Teppanyaki, a Japanese restaurant where all the food is cooked on a fiery hot plate in front of you. The first two courses are received with little fanfare (a warming bowl of miso soup and a simple but cleansing salad of lettuce and carrot). Next came a small clay bottle of sake, Japanese rice wine. This was my first try of sake, in a tiny clay bowl. It is an interesting taste. Oddly comforting, in a similar way to jasmine tea at a Chinese restaurant. Just with a little more kick. And warm. I am not accustomed to warm alcohol. I decided to take this unknown beverage slowly. We had a chef all to ourselves. Scrapers and knives flourished through the air, as the food was rigorously prepared and cooked before us. The shelling and deveining of the prawns (a grotesque job at the best of times) was poetry in motion. The prawns were void of their less appertising parts in less time than it usually takes me to remove the head of just one. One wonders how many prawns perished in the mastering of this deft knife maneuver. The other standout part of the meal was the preparation of the eggs for fried rice. Somehow the chef formed a long tube of fried egg, and then with scrapers a blur, he attacked the egg with what looked like a series of karate chops. The assaulted egg flew through the air and landed scattered about the rice. At the end we cupped our hands Oliver Twist style and prayed for accuracy on the part of our chef. The bowls were tossed into our hands from over a meter away. To top it off, the chef thanked us in salt, writing upside down. An amazing experience. The food itself was more like the added bonus. It was of course scrumptious.
l don't think l have ever posted on food before. This is odd really, given that l am really passionate about food. Especially eating it. l have eaten out a lot over the last few days as l have been involved in a Forge intensive, mostly located at St Martin's, Collingwood. l will be posting a bit about the intensive over the next little while, but this one is a tribute to a fabulous meal in a tiny little restaurant in Smith street called Cocoro. Cocoro sells delicate Japanese pottery, and a simple modern Japanese menu. The space was light and uncluttered, in a way that seems effortlessly achieved by the Japanese. Jazz played in the background. We decided to eat there for two reasons – the price was great, and we felt instantly relaxed. I ate simply – deep-fried tuna with salad, and steamed rice. The flavours were magnificant, as harmonious as the surroundings. The meals were served in beautiful Japanese pottery, completing the sense of having stepped into another world, a reprieve from the bustle and grime of Smith street. I wished that I didn't have to rush to the next seminar. It was food for my soul of a different kind.