One afternoon we found ourselves at yet another shiny shopping mall. It was Omotesando Hills, and we had only ducked in to look for a matcha shaved ice. After our refreshing tea break, we came upon a restaurant that serves fruits and vegetables grown by their own farms. Singapore is not an agricultural country, eating locally and seasonally is not always feasible, so we were keen to try out this place. Using a lot of hand gestures, we made a reservation for dinner.
In the meantime, we shopped. Our favourite retail space was in Omotesando Hills itself. Tabio sells socks for men and women. Husband was quite excited, because in Singapore it is hard to find socks that are not black, brown, navy or worse, white. At Tabio, the socks come in all hues, prints, weaves, thickness, length and design. There was not a boring sock in sight. Plus they are very comfortable.
One basketful of socks and a few hours later, the sun came down and evening settled in. We made our way to the restaurant and were ushered the counter seats that overlook the open kitchen. If this was France, there may be a bag hook under the counter for the ladies. Here, they provided fabric-lined baskets which is a more practical solution.
Still having no idea what is the name of the restaurant, we asked the manager, and he wrote their English name on their business card. Yasaiya Mei, which mean's Mei's vegetable house. As first-time diners eager to eat plenty of home-grown vegetables, we ordered their most extensive set menu (5800 yen per person).
This artful arrangement was set in front of us. Bagna cauda. Raw vegetables to be dunked into a "hot bath" of olive oil and anchovies. Gorgeous.
Our view of the kitchen. The lady on the right was responsible for only one dish, the bagna cauda. She worked non-stop the entire evening. Take a huge vase, fill it with crushed ice. Pluck leaves, trim radish etc. Arrange. Stir bagna cauda, pour. Ding! Every time she finished an arrangement, she would announce "Bagna please". My shallow self was thinking, her hands must be all wrinkled from constant contact with water...
The "cover charge" appetiser. 650 yen each. Mountain yam, spinach and mushrooms. All ingredients had one character in common. Slime. We didn't enjoy it much but it seemed very healthy.
Appetizers. 5 types. Grilled eggplant dressed in sesame sauce was easy to like. Nagano cucumbers with yam and plum sauce was zingy, very good. The orange noodles were actually raw pumpkin coleslaw with kimchi, quite spicy. The dish in the middle was muzuki seaweed with vinegar, i.e. more slime.
Followed by a rather large bowl of sweet potato potage. Cold, creamy, nutty and sweet. Lovely, especially for the muggy weather.
Nasu dengaku. Grilled eggplant coated in a mellow miso paste. I've always liked this dish, and this was very good. The lotus root and green pepper were delicious on their own too.
Grilled tuna with a huge salad. Tasty but quite a lot to get through. We asked them to downsize our portions. By now, the restaurant was full and buzzing.
Grilled beef was perfectly cooked, nicely bloody and juicy. The sauce was not balsamic vinegar but reduced soy sauce, it was also amazing. The pumpkin sported some gorgeous char marks and tasted as good as it looked.
Followed by a bowl of radish and miso soup. Light and refined.
Selection of very nice pickles.
Final course. Pot of rice cooked with sanma and more vegetables. Wholesome taste. Not much sanma, the flavours came mainly from the vegetables. There was dessert too, a ginger-lemon sorbet and fruits, but we were way past full.
It was an impulse decision to eat at Yasaiya Mei, fortunately the meal was beautifully presented and cooked. We had a great evening, and would go back if we visit Tokyo again.