Phew, the applications are submitted, the tests completed, the weather lovely and cold-ish, and all that remains is the 'interview' tomorrow. No wonder then that I am experiencing a smug contentment. As yet, I haven't the time to fritter away pottering around the kitchen, but this brief hiatus has resulted in a backlog of edibles I want to try my hand at and will, come this weekend: my second birthday cake order has trickled in and I have decided to attempt a mango and mint chocolate charlotte. In the meanwhile, as the novelty of blogging lingers still, I present to you: Koya!
I actually went there a good week and a half ago, but the impression remains. Koya serves udon as it ought to be. None of those flaccid specimens, congealed in an unappealing wodge, so often served up that it ingrained in me a healthy antipathy towards udon. But at Koya, the udon has a springy bite- it holds together and has texture! It does not have that horrid gummy surface that comes from improper washing either. See now, my beautiful bowl of udon! I have been rather fixated on this dish actually. The hiyashi buta miso (cold udon with a cold pouring sauce with pork and miso paste) is just so good the perceived opportunity cost of not ordering it is simply too great to contend with. I do also end up spooning up the dipping sauce at the bottom of my bowl, incorrect if it may be. Salty heaven indeed! In fact, these visits to Koya always remind me of an age-old intention of boiling up and freezing away some kaeshi for the dreaded summer months to come.
Another popular appearance at my table is the kakuni (braised pork belly with cider). Koya seems to have a habit for dispelling lifetime aversions. I am no fan of chowing down fat but with the kakuni, I suddenly saw the appeal. The tangy sweetness from the cider also does an excellent job in 'lightening' the dish. It is all a bit misleading. I can see the glaze of oil over the meat and sauce, but it does not taste as oily or heavy as you might expect.
My favourite last item is the onsen tamago. The menu says poached egg, but coddled egg is probably more correct. This is sous vide cooking at its happiest. I love soft boiled eggs in general, and to be presented with such a perfect cooked-but-not-quite yolk and barely opaque whites, companied with a beautifully clear dashi stock... words fail. I must must try this at home! I guess I would be looking at water bath temperatures around 65-70C (coagulation temperature of the yolks) but I'll have to look up the duration. It shall be a painful trip to the supermarket though. Bonito flakes are ridiculously expensive here. However, if I have the eggs, it would be nice to have proper dashi. Will definitely stretch the flakes out as much as possible and boil them to get a stock to use with my kaeshi.