On my recent trip in Tokyo, a friend of mine was told that she must visit one of the Gonpachi restaurants. Rumour has it that the restaurant was inspiration for a scene from Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill. So after getting our nails done in Shibuya (I got Hello Kitty put on my nails) we found Gonpachi on Level 14 of the E.Space tower. We made our way up in the lift and were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed to a great view of Tokyo city. The restaurant was huge, in comparison to all the small eateries that line the streets outside. The interior used a lot of wood, with large lantern lights and different seating arrangement including private dining rooms.
We choose to sit at the table’s right near the window, with the best view in the house. The seating was deceiving to the eye, I assumed that you sat on the floor, but there are sneaky holes under the table to rest your feet, ultimate comfort.
We started off with some small starters, Edamame beans (boiled green soy beans in the pod) which are always good for sharing. These were surprisingly cold, I assumed that the traditional way of serving them was to be warm.
The second starter was the cabbage salad with kombu seaweed (dried variety). The dressing featured Japanese mayonnaise and was spot on, with the cabbage having a nice crunch to each bite.
We got two plates each of the sushi; first one here is the fresh spicy salmon, avocado and fish roe. I really like the contrast of having the sesame seeds in the sushi rice. It also adds a slight nutty flavour to the dish.
Sushi dish number two was similar to a California roll with crab, avocado and topped with parmesan cheese. Interesting addition but all the flavours worked well together, and there was a nice bite to the dish from the small roe enveloping the outside of the roll.
Mixed plate of tempura had a very delicate batter, and thankfully the dish was only lightly fried. I really cant stand oily dishes, as it can overtake the flavour of the food. The dipping sauce (sorry forgot to get it in the photo) was the perfect addition to the dish, and didn’t taste too salty, more of a sweet tang to it.
After one piece of this dish, I was in food heaven. The popcorn shrimp in wasabi mayonnaise was just spot on in flavour and texture. There was enough shrimp underneath the batter to still taste it, and the dressing had the slight wasabi burn but was mellowed out by the mayonnaise. Even the accompanying lettuce that had touched the dressing tasted so good. We polished this off so quickly that a second plate had to be ordered quick smart.
My first run in with Soba noodles was actually on the plane from Hong Kong to Tokyo, with Cathay Pacific serving it on their lunch menu. Nowhere near as fresh and tasty as the Soba at Gonpachi, I am quite the fan. On the plane we had the cold variety which was served with a dipping sauce. For dinner we went with the hot choice “Kake Soba’, the broth was served in white ramekins with green onions. Supposedly this is a staple food item for the health conscience Japanese, I wouldn’t mind trying these in a stir fry.
Last but not least we choose the Takana Meshi, rice served in a hot stone pot with pickled mustard leaves. A definite positive to using these stone pots is that the rice stays hot throughout the whole meal. The pickled leaves enveloped the rice in a similar flavour to dijon mustard, which was not too overpowering. Our friendly waiter served the dish by using two metal spoons to cut up the rice dish and mix it in with the other ingredients. Once the dish was eaten there was a layer of rice that had stuck to the inside of the pot, I started to pick it off and my god it was tasy, the sauce and heat had made the rice stick together like a rice cake, but the heat had also made it crunchy.
The overall experience of the evening was great, the service was extremely friendly with our waiters explaining the menu and suggesting items, we had a great view of the city and flavoursome food that was also reasonably priced (we payed about $20 AUD each). I would definitely recommend a visit if your travels take you to Tokyo.
14th Floor, E.Space Tower
3-6 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Ph: 03 5784 2011