This year I have had many great meals, from tapas in Madrid to Mexican in New York; I’ve also tried a lot of new items and conquered some very interesting ones. However, below are the dishes that are most memorable to me for good reasons!
In June, my boyfriend and I spent a long weekend in Amsterdam. I had read an article on Matador Travel about Café Bern – http://matadornetwork.com/nights/reaching-fondue-nirvana-in-amsterdam, and I knew we needed to try it! We made a reservation to ensure that we got a table and we were very glad that we did, as it was extremely busy. The restaurant has a great feel; it is a very informal and relaxed setting, with a good mixture of tourists and locals. The menu is quite limited but we already knew that we were ordering the Fondue and Entrecote.
The Fondue is a pan of delicious Gruyere, which is served with crusty bread that you tear off and dunk in the bubbling mixture; it is heaven! The Entrecote is served with a butter and herb sauce and placed over a burner, so that you can cook the meat exactly to your own taste. It is the perfect accompaniment to the Fondue – who doesn’t love meat and cheese?! It will come as no surprise that Café Bern made it’s way onto my Top 5 European Foods list.
I went on a girl’s trip to Copenhagen in November and we stumbled upon Bodega randomly on our first day. We were all very hungry and the restaurant looked cosy inside and the menu looked promising. There were quite a few options on the menu and many of them sounded delicious but a friend and I were persuaded by the Bodega Platter, as we could enjoy a mixture of different foods.
The Platter consisted of herring and mustard with a boiled egg to accompany, chicken and bacon with mushrooms to be eaten alongside, fish cakes with a mayonnaise based dip for garnish, pork with mustard sauce and a selection of cheeses with berry compote. The waitress explained everything that was supposed to be eaten together, which was great as it completely enhanced the taste of the foods and made for an exceptional meal. Herring is a very popular food item in Denmark and I can understand why as it was probably my favourite item from the Platter because it was so tasty!
Chicken Katsu Curry
Japanese food has always been a favourite of mine, and in the middle of December I finally managed to visit this fantastic country. I met my boyfriend in Tokyo as he had gone out earlier for work, and he told me how good Temma Curry restaurant was, so I was desperate to try it. One afternoon we visited for lunch and ordered 2 chicken katsu curries.
It is such a simple dish; chicken coated in panko breadcrumbs, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce, served with sticky rice, some lettuce to garnish and a large portion of curry sauce, yet it is simply delicious! The size is extremely generous, with large chunks of chicken and the sauce is exceptionally tasty (they will ask how spicy you like it, we opted for normal). One between 2 would certainly have been enough for us, but like many places in Japan, they only allow 1 seat per 1 order.
Shin Hinomoto is an izakaya owned and run by the man behind Andy’s Fish. Originally from England, he married a Japanese journalist and moved to Tokyo to learn the family business. He has had over 25 years’ experience of buying fish from Tsukiji Fish Market, and we were extremely lucky to be taken here by Andy to experience the incredible sights, sounds and tastes of the World’s Biggest Fish Market. Once we had experienced Andy’s passion for fish first hand we knew we had to eat at his restaurant. It’s enormously popular, which means that it is constantly busy and makes getting a reservation on short notice a problem. However, Andy was kind enough to fit us in on one of the last nights of our trip.
With Andy’s connections there is a completely mixed group in Shin Hinomoto, which makes for an excellent atmosphere. There were 4 of us eating and 2 were local to Tokyo, so we left the ordering up to them and Andy. We sampled a selection of different dishes including scallops with a chili dip, crab legs, mussels, the house salad, prawns in a garlic butter, and a sashimi platter.
The prawns are the biggest I have ever seen; everyone gets their own individual prawn because they are that big and juicy. The crab legs are also exceptionally big and filled with lots of succulent meat; the meat is then dipped into rice vinegar. Everything was unbelievable, but the crab is probably the most delicious thing I have ever eaten – it was phenomenal. The best thing about Shin Hinomoto is that you know your meal is picked fresh that morning, by a man who only puts first class seafood on his menu. If you only eat in one restaurant in Tokyo make sure it is Shin Hinomoto.