Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tokyo Eats - Tokyo Station

I know I titled it "Tokyo Station" but it's really just the Kitte Building on the west side, the Marunouchi side. Hubby and I've been coming here a lot, for one because it's quite easy for us to get here and also because there are a few special stores inside this building.

But first, photos of the newly renovated building that's now 102 years-old! The original was sadly destroyed during WWII :( In 2012 when hubby and I were here last, much of this building was still covered up for construction and so we couldn't see much. So we're so glad to be back now to see it.

The Kitte Marunouchi Building's an interesting triangular shaped building that was once a huge post office but was converted into a 6-stories shopping mall, with basement that connects back to the station as well as surrounding buildings (of course they're all connected underground, this is Japan!). The name Kitte itself is a play on word (they love word-play here), a homophone for "[postage] stamp" as well as the command, "come [here]!"

As with other shopping malls, the food court's in the basement but restaurants are on the ground floor and the very top floor, don't ask me why. There's this cool wall mural on the 5th floor right at the mouth of the escalator, which I use as signal for the promise land ^.^

Nemuro Hanamaru Kaitenzushi on the 5th floor is chain of kaitenzushi from Hokkaido. Until this past March 31, the store inside this Kitte building is the only branch outside of Hokkaido, but they have since opened a second Tokyo branch in Ginza.

Hubby and I discovered the Kitte building branch last fall and have been back repeatedly, each time bringing visiting friends and family. There's always a crowd and a huge line outside the store around lunch and dinner. So one day, I showed up at around 4pm to take the photos below because I'd never get a clear, unobstructed shot of the front counter otherwise.

Because this happens! Madness, isn't it?

Why that crazy line, you wonder? Because the fish here's fresh, delicious, and very reasonably priced if not on the cheap side. Yes, it's kaitenzushi which is usually lower quality fish, but damn, it sure tastes like a million bucks to me. In fact, believe it or not I've had fresher and way more delicious sushi here than all the expensive places back home. To be frank, the only "sushi" I miss from home now is the creative and interesting rolls that they don't do here in Japan!

When my family was visiting over the holidays, hubby and I took them here and the 6 of us just ate to our hearts' content, ordering anything and everything we wanted. Guess how much the bill was--$120! My family was so shocked as they had expected a few hundred bucks at the minimum, and they were so impress at the quality of the food they asked to come for a second time before going home. So in a span of their 10 days visit, we ate here twice it was so damn good!

In addition to the counter seats and booths around the conveyor belt, they also have tables in the back, which I hate because, well, it totally defeats the whole point of going to kaitenzushi!

Because it's at the counter where you have limitless supply of konacha, ginger, soy sauce, etc. At most kaitenzushi places the conveyor belt has 2 levels, with the sushi at the surface level and the soy sauce plates and tea cups below, as shown in this photo.

The joy of going to kaitenzushi is simply this! You just sit and watch the sushi going round and round and reach for whichever plate that suits your fancy! Or if you're brave you can shout out orders to the sushi chefs. They have many side dishes that aren't fish or fishy if you're not keen on the (raw?) seafood. So if you're not going for sushi, it's probably better to sit at the tables in the back.

Here are some personal favorites: tarabagani (king crab), and crab salad. There are octopus, squid, and shrimp salads too but I don't like them as much.

Abura-anything, basically fattier cuts of different fish lightly singed with a blow-torch on both sides to melt the fat a little bit. My oh my, it just melts in your mouth, with a smoky taste that's just heavenly. And yes, I love ikura (salmon roe) too.

I also love Japanese-style fried eggs that's on the sweet side, and who could possibly resist zuwaigani (snow crab) and super tender unagi (fresh water eel)? Lip-smacking good! 

My second love in the Kitte Building is Marunouchi Cafe Kai on the 1st (ground) floor. They have a lunch menu which is served until 2pm (or 3, I'm not sure), but I don't care for it. I much prefer the cafe/tea time menu which is pretty much served all day.

Like any cafes the interior is nice and bright, with comfy seats and an actual smoking room that's completely sealed, thank goodness! You'd be surprised to find many restaurants with "smoking rooms" that are sectioned off with just cubicle-height walls! Don't ask me why or how, I just can't even... O.o

My personal favorites include this warabimochi dessert and the Uji matcha latte. Matcha from Uji, Kyoto, are considered superior in quality and are generally thicker and more intense in taste. When I first posted the below photo of my matcha latte, pretty much all my friends and family went crazy and requested matcha from Japan ^.^" To date I have purchased and sent off at least 2 dozen tins of matcha, with many going to my brother who's a matcha addict by now... =.="

Here's the royal milk tea and hubby's cappuccino on a different day.

Cheesecake and scone, neither of which impressed me unfortunately, so I haven't ordered them again since...


2catsinjapan said...

If I remember correctly, there's an Okinawan restaurant in the basement. Their salted pork makes me glad I don't keep kosher. LOL!

D. said...

Hi 2catsinjapan,

Oh my, an Okinawan restaurant? I'll definitely have to check it out the next time we go there ^.^ Thanks for telling me!!!


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