Tuesday 8 June 2010

Kitchen Hush, Japanese Restaurant

On a search for a more special, more authentic, Japanese Restaurant in Chiang Mai, we came across this little hidden gem (which is actually quite a well known restaurant, having been in business for 16 or 17 years). Kitchen Hush serves Osaka style home-cooked meals, and is located in a quiet residential soi (alley) off Kaew Nawarat Road. In fact, you wouldn't know it's there unless you're looking for it. It just looks like an average house, but once inside, it is said that you'll feel like you're in Japan. Sounds like a good place to check out!

When we got there for lunch, we were greeted with a kind of stale food smell (like in Chinese Restaurants with bad ventilation)...not quite a good start, but despite this mild odour, the restaurant was quite atmospheric with dark teakwood walls (like those of the old Thai wooden homes) and minimalist but elegant modern Japanese style decorations. In a corner stood a bookshelf full of Japanese magazines.

The test of authenticity is the food - not that I would really know, not having been to Japan since a very young age! Still, the menu, complete with pictures, was VERY extensive, and had many interesting dishes, including a range of sashimi, mochi, udons, etc. - I suppose almost everything you could want in a Japanese Restaurant, and certainly looked very authentic . Just a note - sashimi is only served at dinner time.

We ordered:

Takoyaki - a Japanese street food - little fried balls of batter with a chunk of boiled octopus in the middle. Kitchen Hush's takoyaki were softish and spongy on the outside, thick and creamy on the inside, and with, of course, a piece of chewy octopus. At the time, I thought the octopus was too chewy, but I now I think it made a nice contrast with the soft batter. The takoyakis were topped with mayonnaise, a tasty sauce, and plenty of bonito flakes. It was pretty good, and the sauce not too sweet, nor overpowering. 90 baht (6 pieces).

Katsu don with Miso Sauce - This was rather interesting - haven't had this style of the popular Katsu Don (rice topped with deep fried pork, eggs and condiments) before. A quick google search told me that this is a Nagoya version. It was great! The pork came in large pieces, crispy on the outside and not oily. It was served on a bowl of fluffy steaming Japanese rice and sliced boiled eggs, topped with a sweet and intense flavoured miso sauce. There were also a couple of dainty side dishes and a lovely miso soup as well. Quite a large serving (too big for me!). 170 baht.

Kitchen Hush Set 1 - This was a huge set. The mains were the boiled Saba and Ginger Pork (in the white packet). The saba was very tasty, served with a gingery gravy. The ginger pork was a bit fatty, and had a mild taste - a nice complement to the saba. The set also comes with miso soup, delicious baked pumpkin, steamed eggplant in a light sauce, tofu, potato salad, etc. 240 baht.

Other dishes: Gyu don - Rice with simmered slice beef and spicy sweet sauce. Nice and enjoyable, but a little too sweet. Again, a large serving (like the Katsu Don with Miso Sauce), and came with some side dishes. 160 baht.

For dessert, we were given complimentary strawberry ice-cream (Wall's). We were a bit disappointed with the lack of green tea ice-cream when we were there though, however, apparently, the owner makes home-made green tea ice-cream, and this is served at dinner.

By this time, we were very full, but I wanted to try Shiratama (Mochi with sweet red bean paste). The waitress said it was a cold dessert, but it took a while to come out - I guess they were quite busy at the time, and the mochis came out kind of warm. The mochis had a nice, firm and chewy texture, and very filling, which was not surprising, since mochi is made from glutinous rice! 80 baht

And last but not least, we still had a coffee from the Kitchen Hush 1 set. That was a bit of a novelty because we had a choice to grind out own coffee beans! After all the hard work, the coffee turned out to be quite lovely. : )

Kitchen Hush turned out to be very pleasant dining experience. If you enjoy Japanese home-cooking, and would like to have something authentic, I'd recommend this restaurant. It's a bit pricey though, for Thai standards, and the service a bit slow, but I think it's still worth it.

Kitchen Hush
18/1 Kaew Nawarat Soi 2
Wat Gate, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 247 731

Opens for lunch: 11:30am-2:00pm
Dinner: 6pm-10pm
Closed: Wednesdays

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