Tokyo #29: Uzekino, 宇豆基野

Around us morning light squeezes through the wooden slats covering the windows and shears through a curtain of parchment thin tofu. 'Yuba means tofu leaves', our hosts explains. We think those delicate sheets deserve their lovely name as we watch them swaying gently in the glowing steam that rises lazily from the heated pools of soy milk.

After a mad dash to make our early morning booking (Y-san was lucky enough to get the last available table a few days prior to this) we relax by enjoying the company of our hosts and the simple yet pretty table settings. Our wooden chopsticks perch carefully on leafy twigs; freshly cut for each setting. The waiter gradually fills the table with more tantalizing and colourful wares, each promising untold flavours to try.

With three types of tofu 'shashimi' and four ways to flavour them (salt, lemon, soy, olive oil) we are far too excited to know where to start dipping. However we somehow manage to conduct our chopsticks to the right places and experiment with the flavours. Ice-cold soymilk, subtly flavoured with fresh strawberries, is served in cute bamboo cups to accompany the starter. When I finish my last sip of this, and realized there are no refills, I actually feel a little melancholy. Sigh, what to do but soldier on to the next course.

We are treated to some pre-course education as the restaurant gives a demonstration of how to make tofu.

As the liquid tofu gradually sets in the wooden bowl, we set in for the next tofu inspired dish. It looks and tasts like typical Japanese potato salad but it is actually tofu!

Come explore the milky tofu pools with us.

Below and above we are shown how to carefully divide and help ourselves to yuba as the skin freshly forms on the surface of the milk. Watch for the older gentleman in orange who's experience and decades of chopstick mastery put the rest of us to shame. 

Of course no dish is complete without a little flavouring...

A bowl of steamed bamboo rice with miso soup is a welcome and hearty tummy filler. 

Finally we get to tuck into the result of the demonstration from earlier. Made from the highest grade soya beans from Shiga oomihachiman mizukuguri; it was light, creamy and the freshest tofu we've ever had. 

To end, a classic Japanese desert of mochi and red bean rounds off our 1000 yen set meal. Overall it was a total bargain and fresh experience for food lovers. 

Farewell to K-san & Y-san our amazingly generous hosts. We're missing you lots!

Name: 宇豆基野, Uzekino
Address: Adachi-ku, Tokyo 2-2-1 Senjuazuma
Telephone: 03-3882-8848
Website: http://www.uzukino.com/ (in Japanese)
By reservation only!
Date visited: 20/04/2012