Monday, July 25, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Ryori Yu 料理遊

Visited 14.11.2014 (Fri)

Japanese bar? Izakaya (居酒屋) is an important element of Japanese culture; a place where salaryman and office ladies hang out to relax after a hard day's work. Images of alcoholic drinks overdose, space being engulfed by cigarette smoke, rowdiness of patrons formed a large part of my impression of Izakaya though I have never visited one personally. First read about Ryori Yu in Milly's travel guide book on Shikoku and I was surprised by the exceptionally good review, which totally overthrew all the negative belief I had of Izakaya previously. Decided to uncover the truth myself by paying the place a visit during dinner time.

Where is the menu? When we arrived at the restaurant, the unusually peaceful mood caught us by surprise. But, a completely different ambiance was well kept behind the sliding door. That night, the restaurant was bustling with patrons; entire row of counter seats were fully occupied and we had to share a table with another group of ladies. Language barrier has always been my greatest concern when visiting a foreign country - the first waitress who served us water and towel could only speak Japanese and what made me more dumbfounded next was the absence of table menu (which mean I could not even use Google Translate to scan the pages to perform an auto translation). It was till the next waitress (who most likely have spotted my troubled and foreigner-look face) came by and spoke to me in mandarin which made me heaved a sign of relief! She was an international student (from China), working part time in the restaurant. She pointed me to a lady in her fifties who was busy preparing the dishes while entertaining the guests at the counter seats. She is the owner of Ryori Yu and is affectionately known by regular customers as "mama-san". The waitress told us not to fret as mama-san would normally serve a series of signature dishes to all her diners (unless we choose not to have it). This feeling was so homely, like how we would just tuck into any food which are put on the dinner table by my mother.

Home cooked food. The counter was lined up with many big bowls, all containing mama-san's signature cold dishes. First up was freshly cooked prawns and vegetable tempura, followed by a bowl of delicious and flavourful beef stewed together with potatoes and carrot. Another dish which I liked particularly was the braised eggplant, a simple yet savory soul food. Separately, we ordered a plate of sashimi moriawase (platter) to share; the freshest catch of the day harvested from the nearby Seto Inland Sea was sliced beautifully and plated together with sudachi. Waitress recommended us to try tamagoyaki which was made only upon order. This simple home cooked dish was cooked to perfection; egg roll was lightly seasoned and fluffy. Instead of normal rice, we opted for onigiri stuffed with salmon accompanied with tsukemono (preserved vegetables) and miso soup. Have never tasted a onigiri which is pressed when the rice is still hot from the cooker and it tasted heavenly! Shortly after we completed the dish, mama-san came out from the counter to pass us a plate of cut persimmons and told us to give it a try. Persimmons were in season during the time of our visit; fruit was very sweet and crunchy, In fact, eating fruits was exactly how we normally end off a home-cooked meal. The bill totaled up to 8,200 yen for three of us and all of us felt it was very worthwhile. Just before we headed for the exit, mama-san came out again and thanked us for the visit with a humble tone. Truthfully, we could not thanked her enough for making the entire dinning experience so wonderful and heartwarming.

Warm hospitality, modest personality, affordable yet delicious food summed up my overall dinning experience in Ryori Yu.


Ryori Yu 料理遊
Opening hrs: 1700 - 2300 hrs

How to get there?
Restaurant is located near Takamatsu Mitsukoshi Departmental Store; about 15 minutes walk away from Takamatsu JR Station.

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