So when she spotted the ornamental waving cat
grinning from the window she pulled me by the collar.
“Tec, this is the one,” she shrieked. It was Nippon Kitchen – and I realised there was no escaping it: today we were Turning Japanese.
Toots was in high spirits, with it being a Saturday afternoon an’ all.
I’d promised to lay off the stake-outs.
But to tell you the truth, I had one eye on the chopsticks and the other on my to do list.
There were only a handful of other couples eating in the spacious eaterie, which is the sister-restaurant of nearby joint Nanakusa.
Our charming waitress said the A-listed building was packed most nights and that we should enjoy the calm.
“Chill out,” echoed Toots and flung a menu into my face.
I did what I was told by the two cuties who’d ganged up on me – and got down to scanning the scran.
My heart jumped, and I thought this ol’ man’s good life had caught up on him.
But it was just my reaction to the heavenly food. This was a real taste of Asia.
From sushi to mixed bento boxes to noodles, dumplings and tempura, I wanted the lot. And then some.
We sipped on ice cold Pinot Grigio to wet our palates. Moll’s choice, of course. What can I say? The lady’s got class...when when it comes to a glass.
Our hungry bellies meant this was bound to be a feast
and a half.
First up: edamame beans and salt. Now, stick with me.
Doc said I should lay off the sodium but, boy, were these good. And beans are a vegetable, right?
We munched our way through the giant bowl like we’d never seen a morsel of food, barely stopping for air.
A moment later our mains arrived.
To get our taste buds tingling we shared two dishes off that stunning menu.
The bento box was like a lucky dip.
Miso soup, steamed rice, salmon, prawn tempura, California maki... I fought my way with the chopsticks to grab the food before Toots ate it all.
The sushi set also racked up the points.
Each piece was delicately wrapped in nori seaweed and rice, with avocado, prawns and soft shell crab. It looked like edible art.
Toots launched into fits of laughter over my wincing face as I overdosed on the sinus-clearing wasabi paste.
She was wise enough to stick to a slither of the stuff while my eyes watered.
The Moll even joked that she’d like to try the art of sushi making herself.
But there’s no way she’d have the patience.
After finishing every last morsel there was still room for dessert.
Luckily there was plenty that tickled our fancies. I was in an indecisive mood so the staff indulged me.
They let me order a scoop of green tea ice cream and one of black sesame seed.
It came with a big dollop of cream on top too.
The Moll wanted to try the yaki mochi – a rice pancake filled with sweet red bean.
“It’s delicious,” purred Toots as she nursed the East Asian delight in front of her.
We finished our wine slowly, while watching the world go by.
As I paid, I realised we’d been there for hours.
On our way back out to the busy street I spotted the waving cat figure.
We were lucky not to have walked by