Friday, August 26, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Domannaka どまん中

Visited 16.11.2014 (Sun)

I want to eat Awaodori! Ramen comes to the mind of most people when Tokushima Prefecture is mentioned. Deep brown coloured tonkotsu shoyu soup, topped up with a raw egg are some of the unique features of Tokushima style ramen. Personally, I am not a fan of ramen therefore I decided to give this local specialty a miss. What caught my attention instead was Awaodori (otherwise known as Awa chicken 阿波尾鶏), a local breed of chicken well known for its firm texture, sweet taste and is less fat compared to an average chicken. Awa was actually the previous name for Tokushima (i.e. Sanuki for Kagawa, Iyo for Ehime and Tosa for Kochi). Had really good grilled chicken thigh on our first day in Takamatsu (in Yoridori Midori), therefore was looking forward to try this other version in Tokushima. Did a quick search and found one restaurant, Izakaya Tokusan 居酒屋とくさん, specialising in local cuisine located near Agnes Hotel Tokushima. Unfortunately, I later realised that it was closed on Sundays. Kept a lookout for other restaurant along the same street and noticed this isolated, new and modern looking shophouse, located a few blocks away. And yes, once I spotted the Kanji "阿波尾鶏" on the menu, I entered the restaurant without further ado. [Note: though it is stated that the restaurant is closed on Sundays, it happened to be opened for business on the particular day of our visit.]

Top left: Shiitake and Eryngii mushrooms grilled with soy sauce; Bottom left: Awaodori negima kushi; Top right: Egglant in robata style; Bottom right: Awaodori tebasaki kushi.
Blown away! Domannaka is a modern Japanese style restaurant owned by Grand Palace Hotel, the creator behind Agnes Hotel Tokushima as well. Warm lighting and large amount of wooden furnishing created this comfortable dining environment in the restaurant. Were seated at the counter which faced the open concept kitchen, allowing us to observe chefs' display of culinary skills. There is a decent selection of food available on the menu to choose from - skewers, robata, nabe, sashimi, tempura, etc. As Awaodori was the main focus of this dinner, I ordered a mixture of skewers and robata, and a nabe (hot pot) to share. Overall, the dining experience was extremely satisfying and would have been longer if not for the back-end constraint (because we were rushing off to watch the last Awa Odori performance at 8 pm). Cheers to Awaodori!

What we ordered:

  • Awaodori negima kushi 阿波尾鶏ねぎま串 (skewer of Awaodori and leek): both lean and fatty portion of the meat was skewed together with leek. During the process of grilling over the flames, the cracking sound created when oil dripped out from the meat into the heat source was so appealing and intriguing to my senses. Meat was cooked to perfection; slight crispiness on the relatively fattier portion of meat and meat juices were fully retained. Crunchy leek complemented well with the meat and helped to remove some of the oiliness from the meat. [210 yen]
  • Awaodori tebasaki kushi 阿波尾鶏手羽先串 (skewer of Awaodori wing): I am always wary of eating grilled/BBQ chicken wings because it is hard to make sure the meat is fully cooked to the bone. Lightly salted skin was grilled skilfully till crispy golden brown and sweetness of the meat can be felt as soon as the teeth pierced into it. When chicken wings are cooked well, it is hard to resist and many times I ended up eating more than I should. [320 yen]  
  • Eggplant in robata style 茄子炉端焼き: Shikoku is where I had the most number of eggplants during any trip to Japan. Not sure why but eggplant tasted extremely delicious and juicy (like a fruit) here in Shikoku and I could not resist ordering one when I spotted it on the menu. A whole eggplant was roasted over the grill till the skin became slightly charred to impart a smoky flavour to the flesh. Chef peeled off the skin and cut the eggplant into manageable pieces before serving it together with bonito flakes. The taste did not disappoint again! [530 yen]
  • Stewed dumplings in Awaodori soup 阿波尾鶏スープの炊き餃子: Soup was very delectable and flavourful, providing an alternative way to savour this locally breed chicken. [1,050 yen]
  • Soy sauce grilled Tokushima produced shiitake and eryngii 徳島産椎茸とエリンギの醤油焼き [530 yen]
  • Awaodori momo kushi 阿波尾鶏もも串 (skewer of Awaodori leg) [210 yen]
  • Awaodori liver kushi 阿波尾鶏レバー串 [160 yen]

Top left: Awaodori momo kushi; Bottom left: Stewed dumplings in Awaodori soup.

Domannaka どまん中
〒770-0831 徳島市寺島本町西 1-47
Contact No: 088-623-3293
Operating hours: 1130 - 1400 hrs (Mon - Thu); 1700 - 2200 hrs; closed on Sundays.

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