C&C Curry – Yurakucho branch in Tokyo, Japan

Captured by the smell of katsu curry

It’s our first day in Japan, having travelled overnight last night from the UK. Wandering the streets, we are tired and awestruck. Intrigued by everything. We’ve got a fairly easy day planned that involves leaving our main luggage at our hotel in Shinagawa, dropping off our snowboarding bag (that we’ll only need later in the holiday) in Ginzo, and visiting Tokyo Sky Tree in Sumida to get our bearings of this impressive city.

One particular smell grabs our whole beings as we walk along a street in Chiyoda – the smell of curry coming from C&C Curry Shop. We’re in raptures and head straight back here, once we’ve dropped off the snowboarding bag.

It’s apparent from the start that some of the eating places here are tiny. And it’s not uncommon for them to only serve one type of dish. Many variations of it, but one dish nonetheless.

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C&C curry shop

Check out the menu for C&C Curry Shop (there are many similarly named curry outlets) – it includes sausage, cheese or even warm ball curry! all served with rice.

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Queue and order at the canteen

 

Entering the small restaurant, space was noticeably tight, with people (mostly on their own) squeezed in close together on stools along counters running right round the walls, appearing to be grabbing a quick but hearty lunch.

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Choose your combo from 14 options + choose ‘hotness’ of the curry sauce

Joining the queue at the canteen, we got trays, pointed to our chosen options, were immediately served and looked after by the abundant staff. Someone to give you the food, someone to point you where to sit, someone to bring tap water (and keep topping up your glass).

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Cosy cafe – all packed in together

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Breaded pork cutlet with rice and pork curry – yum!

It was formulaic, well organised. And very tasty. We both chose a breaded pork cutlet with rice, and a medium hot pork curry sauce which had plenty enough of a kick for me and I love hot, spicy food (choose between mild, medium hot or hot). At 650 yen (about £5.00) this was great value, and filling.

20161228_katsu curry menu in Kyoto
Just your average curry menu?curry options at this restaurant in Kyoto include: Cheese filled hamburger curry, soft boiled egg and chicken meatball curry, scrambled egg curry – food innovations you’d only find in Japan!

The verdict: Trying a Japanese katsu curry is a *must do* in Japan.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Katsu curry
– Address: Yurakucho branch branch at Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Yurakucho 2-9-14 – before JR Yurakucho Station, Tokyo, Japan
– Nearest station: JR Yurakucho Station
– Website + menus: C&C Curry website
– Photos on flickr: images of C&C Curry food
– Location: C&C Curry map

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Cafe Bangla – Lardbutty ‘Jolliest Chef’ award goes to Ali Hussain – CLOSED

Since closed down

Cafe Bangla is a small tandoori restaurant in the village of East Boldon on the outskirts of South Shields, and is an unlikely – but altogether pleasing – find.

The restaurant has a feel of a large living room, with only about ten tables (probably around 50 covers). Given the spectacular contemporary cuisine, great service, and its listing in the Michelin Guide 2010, it’s not surprising that it gets booked up quickly, so do phone ahead to make a reservation.

On our visit last night (my second time here) I had dam baigan as a starter: a grilled half aubergine stuffed with vegetables and topped with yoghurt, which was perfectly cooked and served and a lovely blend of flavours.

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Dam baigan (aubergine starter) @ £4.50

I opted for a fish main course (fish – as opposed to seafood – can be tricky to get right in curries, and I find it rarely travels well in deliveries as it can go overly soggy, or lose its meatiness, in transit). Here, Chef Ali Hussain’s patrani mach was a good choice – so fresh that the flavours of the fish fillet (marinated fish, steamed in foil) were still sufficiently distinct from those of the green sauce (green paste, onion, fresh herbs) while also complementing one another.

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Patrani mach @ £13.90

Other dishes that our party ate, included haleem chicken (cooked with four different types of lentils and topped with ginger, onions, lemon, chilli and coriander) and Goan chicken (chicken marinated with aromatic spices, cooked with five spices, onions, peppers, tomatoes with coconut and goan chilli, and served with baby spinach).

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Haleem chicken @ £8.90

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Goan chicken @ £12.90

…and it was a very satisfied party!

Service from the waiting staff was good throughout but it was really topped off at the end of our dining experience (yep, I purposely wrote ‘dining experience’ rather than ‘meal’ because that’s what it was – check out the beautiful presentation of the dishes in the photos above: every aspect thoughtfully done) when Chef Ali Hussain came to chat with us.

He told us with great enthusiasm about being presented with another Curry Life ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ award in London last week.
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Ali Hussain – also gets Lardbutty’s ‘Jolliest Chef’ award

For his amazing, imaginative cuisine and for being so outstandingly jolly, Lardbutty is also awarding Ali with a very special Jolliest Chef award.

Until the next time.


*UPDATE*
3 Nov 2011: according to @AliHussain01 on Twitter, Ali has been nominated for the British Curry Awards 2011


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Indian, tandoori
~ Address: 2 St Bedes, Station Road, East Boldon, Tyne & Wear
~ Postcode: NE36 0LE
~ Tel: 0191 519 0929
~ Nearest metro station (north-east): East Boldon
~ Website: Café Bangla website
~ Location: Café Bangla map


RELATED LINKS More North East dining: ~ Bistro Romano ~ Cafe Bangla ~ Clarence Villa – home of Sonnet 43 brewhouse ~ Colman’s fish + chips – award winning chippy on Ocean Road, South Shields ~ Orangegrass – top Thai


Café Bangla on Urbanspoon