Thursday, April 24, 2014

心斎橋フレンチ Bistro Nid d'Oiseau @ Shinsaibashi

We didn't make any lunch reservation today in Osaka. So we flipped through the Michelin guide and most of them are full. Then we decided to target those "Michelin Recommends" restaurants where they don't have any stars, but are singled out for great food and great value.

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And that is how we arrived at the doorstep of Bistro Nid d'Oiseau, very near to Shinsaibashi train station. Of course, we didn't make any reservation. But by a stroke of luck, they managed to squeeze us in for an early lunch.

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This is such a small but warm restaurant. Run by a dedicated husband and wife team. Wife comes out to serve the food, while the husband is hard at work in the kitchen.

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Started off our lunch with champagne

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The Amuse bouche for our set lunch: grilled chicken and mini soup. We were blown way by how delicious the soup was.

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Fail-proof appetizer: Escargot with garlic. Yummy

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A look at this cosy restaurant

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Another appetizer we had: Foie gras terrine with mustard. The Foie gras wasn't heavy, and had a Japanese touch to it. Very light and slightly creamy.

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Freshly baked breads from the bistro

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We also ordered something sweet to drink: Late harvest Riesling sweet wine

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Here is our main course: Mince beef covered with creamy mashed potato and baked. It's very very hot! But so yummy. It had a slightly crisp outer crust with a creamy meaty filling.

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For me, I very much prefer this Pork loin and cabbage and pea. The pork loin is marinated in brine, and then roasted in oven till perfection. The stewed cabbage complimented the savoury pork. I will come back again just for this dish.

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Dessert was the same for everyone: Brownie.

This was quite an unexpected discovery. And we were very impressed with the price, and also the quality and taste of the food here. Reservations highly recommended!

心斎橋フレンチ Bistro Nid d'Oiseau
1-13-33 Higashishinsaibashi,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

銀杏 Icho @ Hotel Nikko Nara

It's the long weekend in Japan, and thousands and thousands of Japanese tourists have decided to do a day trip in Nara, the capital city of Japan before Kyoto. Nara is quite a big place, and most tourists will start their Nara trip from the Nara city which is accessible by both JR and Hankyu trains from Osaka.

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We took the Hankyu trains to Nara city which is much nearer to the famous deer park than the JR station (above). However, we decided to walk to the JR station to have lunch at Hotel Nikko. Wanted to eat at some of the Michelin stars restaurants here, but then it is 1 or 2 train stops away (plus lot's of walking)

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We didn't make any reservation, and this Icho teppanyaki restaurant in Nara is full to the max. But with a stroke of luck, a big group of diners just left the restaurant and we were fortunate enough to get seats here.

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Ordered a bottle of Yebisu beer to accompany our lunch.

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The chef is here. Although he speaks very little English, but still we know he is giving all he has to prepare this delicious Teppanyaki lunch for us.

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Started off our set lunch with this fresh salad bowl.

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And this boiled vegetables and prawn appetizer.

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We were surprised that the set also came with sweet sashimi platter.

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And here comes the juicy delicious Kobe beef cubes

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Lot's of acrobatic performance while cooking the beef

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Plus crisp Japanese beansprouts being fried on the hot plate

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A selection of the pan fried vegetables, including the fragrant crispy garlic pieces. The Kobe beef cubes were juicy and flavourful.

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Japanese rice with unlimited refills

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Pickled plum and cucumbers to company the rice

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Ended our lunch set with a refreshing Yuzu sorbet ice-cream.

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After which, we continued our journey into Nara and saw cute and hungry deers plus the amazing Todaiji Temple which is by far the most amazing temple we have seen in Japan.

銀杏 Icho
Hotel Nikko Nara
8-1 Sanjo-Hommachi,