Monday, November 16, 2009

Inaniwa Udon - Nabe 稻庭

My visit here was inspired by Babedolphin after reading his detailed review on this new establishment (a 2 parts review to be exact: Part 1 & Part 2). I really have no background knowledge the history and reputation on the udon being offered here; but apparently it is pretty famous in Japan and aboard. Check out Babedolphin reviews for details if you are interested. KC did a review on this place earlier as well. The atmosphere was brighter expected and surprising spacious, even with plenty of privacy between tables.

One very important thing I dislike (which applies to many other restaurants as well, ie: SML) was the fact that all food items (both hot and cold items) arrived almost all at once!! I have not even started eating a single thing, all I have done was to take a single picture of the decor!!! You will find comments of food not at their optimal temperature repeatedly in my review below ... sigh.

(1) Home made squid cake
The squid cake arrived within 3 minutes from ordering (and followed by all the rest of the ordered items shortly of course). Wow, it must have been right off the frying pan! WRONG !!!! it was at room temperature! Texture was slightly chewy with pieces of diced squids inside; however no surprises in terms of flavors. Fair in general but room temperature!? Big NO!

(2) Skewered homemade Minced Chicken with Yolk

It was alright, better than the squid cake for sure. The sauce was rich and together with the yolk dip, very nice combination. However, by the time we came to to this dish, it was slightly cold on the outside. Fair in my opinion. Try to eat this immediately upon being served! (humm ... maybe at this place, we should have ordered one item after another to ensure optimal temperature of the food)

(3) Pan-fried egg roll in Japanese Style (Mentaiko)
The marriage of flavors can be a tricky business and the result is either "love it or hate it." The roe used in this dish was rather spicy and overtook the flavor of the egg itself (not that it has much taste but still, the spicy flavors were too strong for me) The egg roll itself was just so-so, no surprises in terms of texture.

(4) Cold Inaniwa Udon 3 Kinds (Hot Spring Egg dressing, duck dressing, yam dressing)
So what is the big deal with the Udon? The restaurant imports a very famous brand from Japan and in addition to the use of it, they offer packaged udon for sale at the front counter as well. To quote from Babedolphin review:

THE MOST ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC VERSION OF 秋田県's 稻庭乾烏冬, HAND MADE BY THE 7th GENERATION OF THE 佐藤養助 FAMILY.... Imported straight from the sale's door which once housed the original Inventor of the World Famous 稻庭烏冬, their Udon recipe is sworn to eternal Secrecy - this valuable intellectual asset passed down the generations within only approved members of the tiny family. Its almost as clichéd as a Hollywood film!

So did it live up to expectation? I mean my own expectation of course. Yes it did in a sense, it was chewy / bouncy and smooth. However, the individual udon noodles were sticking together pretty strongly that it was rather hard to loosen them for the dipping.

The one we ordered came with 3 different cold sauce dips. Among the 3, I personally liked the Hot Spring Egg dressing because it crated an extra layer of gluten from the egg white and yolk to make the udon even more smooth. Also, the dressing was not too strong in overtaking the little hints of wheat-flour udon flavor. The Yam dressing was indeed a mystery to me because I tasted wasabi throughout the dressing. Duck dressing on the other hand was pretty good with strong enough meat flavors to it.

(5) Cold Inaniwa Udon with (hot) Iwate duck dressing
Thanks to the rather confusing Chinese description on the menu, we ordered this udon with the same dressing as the previous order but instead of cold, it was served hot (or more like lukewarm if you ask me) The slices of of duck was decent especially together with the shredded onion to give it a contrasting texture.

  • Inaniwa Udon - not bad at all, chewy with bouncy texture
  • All items came at almost the same time ... argh (problem with optimal food temperature)
  • Some items were served at room temperature
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

Inaniwa Udon - Nabe 稻庭
Shop 2002, Level 2, Elements,
1 Austin Road West, TST

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