The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 21 May 2007

Yoshichi Bistro, Ushitsu

There is a group of Japanese ladies whom we meet on Saturday afternoons for a casual class of English conversations. I really enjoy these classes, as we have learnt a lot about the Japanese culture from them. We would often leave quite sugared up because these ladies sure love their sweet treats! They also have such gracious things to say about the homebaked biscuits and brownies that I'd bring along to these classes. Upon hearing that Rob would soon be leaving for Tokyo, they insisted that we have a farewell dinner (they'll hold another one just for me when I finish my contract on JET in August - yay!). They chose Yoshichi Bistro which is located in the town of Ushitsu very close to where we meet for these English convo classes. It seems that the ladies are frequent patrons of this place as they are on quite familiar terms with the master-san and mama-san of this restaurant.

Like many of the eating establishments in Japan, there are private party rooms that you can book in advance. You can also have the option of sitting and eating at the bar. It is a very cozy little place, and I can see why it's a favourite of the ladies. The food served at Yoshichi Bistro are prepared, cooked and personally served by the master-san and mama-san - I did not see any other waitperson or kitchen hand around. A personal touch is always nice - always ensures a good service as the servers are always keen for feedback or questions. Dishes served mainly Italian-inspired Japanese food. Or very Japanised Italian food. I can't quite figure which one is the better term. There is a Japanese word to describe this type of food - yoshoku which means western food which are often modified to suit Japanese tastebuds. You'll see what I mean in the shots I took. The chef (i.e. master-san) is very creative in his dishes, and many of the ones in tonight's course are his originals.

The ladies chose the "4000yen course", which included many courses of dishes as you shall see in the following photos.

The cold dishes: [First photo] Entree platter included breadsticks with raw tuna, smoked salmon and cabbage layers, and some vegetables - I particularly liked the smoked salmon and cabbage layers. [Second photo] The carpaccio (as the master-san called it, although tartare is probably the better term) contained a variety of fish roe which we were meant to thoroughly mix before eating - it certainly was an interesting texture. It was a bit on the slimy side, but this is quite the coveted texture in Japanese cuisine.

[First photo] Bruschetta with a cheesy seafood topping. [Second photo] Ebi (prawn) soup innovatively served in a tiny teacup with a pastry cover. Both were very delicious.

Fried gobo with juice-infused pork. This was clearly the star dish for our table - everyone was fascinated with the variety of sweet flavours permeating through the meat, which was very tender.

[First photo] Fish (perhaps a type of sea bream) and ebi (prawn) served within a ring of crisp-fried corn noodles - this was my favourite dish. The prawns were large and succulent, and the fish was lovely and tender. [Second photo] Roast beef with potatoes - tasted like roast beef. The potatoes were served with sauteed onions which was quite tasty.

[First photo] Lasagne - very Japanised, as you can see in the photo. The lasagne sheets were very thin, and I wouldn't be surprised if the chef used the dough for gyoza (Chinese-style Japanese dumplings). More creamy and less cheesy than more authentic lasagne. [Second photo] Dessert, which was a profiterole with a piece of chocolate mudcake inside and topped with custard and strawberries. 'Twas pretty good.

For 4000yen (~AU$40), this was quite a good feast. However, Rob and I agree that for the same price, we prefer the fare at Flatt's.


  1. comment from honey:
    *salivate* love profiteroles...when I used to work at Burswood I used to save a couple of plates for myself whenever they served profiteroles, they looked like the shape of a christmas tree stacked one on another...

  2. Re: comment from honey:
    First time I tried profiteroles was about 5 years ago at one of Rob's friends' wedding - the wedding cake was a pyramid pile of profiteroles which I thought was a creative way to have a wedding cake.