2011. október 10., hétfő

The boiling pot amongst the bamboo 釜竹

Kamachiku* is hidden among narrow alleys in the residential part of Nezu. We first visited it over a year ago, on a wet evening, without a reservation and were thus obliged to wait outside for 15 minutes. This might have put us off the place, but luckily the interior was pleasant and the udon noodles delicious, so we quickly forgot about the rain and enjoyed ourselves. What’s more, I noticed that whenever we have occassion to be in the neighbourhoood, we time is so as to be able to have a lunch or dinner here. 

The reason why we first sought out the place was not actually gastronomical, but professional - the converted kura** and the small addition next to it was designed by Kengo Kuma, one of the bright stars of Japanese architecture. Once the kura had probably belonged to a substantial mansion, but now a home for elderly people stands on the adjoining land. Luckily, a large part of the ground was turned into a garden, which the restaurant takes advantage of, opening one wall fully to enjoy the view of a pretty lake.  

The entrance is through the new addition, where a communal table seats less than a dozen people. Those, facing the glass wall have the advantage of the garden view. A few steps lead up to the kura, where tatami mats were laid down and the seating is around small, low tables. The roof structure was left open, and from a sitting position, the height of the space appears even loftier. 

The menu is simple and the food is good. There is a choice between kamaage-udon (udon served hot with a dipping sauce) and a thin-cut zaru-udon (cold, flour-based noodles in a bamboo basket). The noodles can be supplemented with some small dishes - tofu, gyutataki, tempura with seasonal vegetables, a mix of tsukemono and perhaps a small plate of grilled fish. The sake selection is small, but excellent. 

The neighbourhood seems to appreciate the place - a few months ago I overheard a local couple striking up an acquaintance with some out of town visitors, telling them the story of the building and proudly explaining about the architecture. They had every right to be proud. 

Food: 8/10 (excellent)

Ambiance: 9/10 (outstanding)

Price-performance: 8/10 (excellent value) 

Address: 2-14-18 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 
Tel: +81 (3) 5815-4675
Archive pictures of the original kura storehouse are here.


* Kamachiku 釜竹 means pot and bamboo 
** kura is the name of old, Japanese-style warehouses

2 megjegyzés:

  1. Ah, a post and review in English!!! Thank you :-). The place looks great, and the food too, I am feeling very envious now!

    BTW, how are you guys!


  2. Yes, the place is great and the whole area is very nice. Come and visit us and we will take you there :)

    We are fine, enjoying the usual, mild autumn weather.