Just downstairs from the main walkway between Shinagawa Station and the Prince Hotels is a great hall of restaurants. A chain Izakaya restaurant called En Washoku Sake was a good stop for “Kaiseki” style Izakaya food.
Customary to the start of an Izakaya meal, the “complimentary” amuse bouche was a small portion of tofu. It was creamy, firm and delicious. It had the texture of a burrata cheese. Paired with the soy and wasabi it was a great way to start the meal.
A quartet of appetisers to start the meal and compliment the meal.
- 炙り明太子 Grilled mentaiko – salty with great umami, my favourite drinking treat;
- エビに納豆 Ebi with natto – sashimi prawn mixed with natto was quite unique;
- 焼えいひれ Grilled dried blowfish – like dried cuttlefish but stronger bite and chew;
- ごぼうのポテトサラダ Burdock with potato salad – I don’t like burdock, but the potato salad was quite good.
お造り盛り合わせ Sashimi moriawase – assorted sashimi that was really value for money given that chutoro was also part of the plate.
大吟醸豆腐 Daiginjo tofu – homemade tofu that was featured in the amuse bouche. You eat this with soy sauce and wasabi as needed. Or eat it on its own to have the full flavour of the tofu.
鶏もも肉の岩塩焼き Roast chicken thigh – a simple salt flavoured grilled chicken thigh.
鶏の竜田揚げ Chicken Tatsuta-age – Japanese fried chicken. Tatsuta indicates a way of cooking, which is a type of deep frying. After marinating meat/fish, sprinkle the meat with Japanese katakuri-ko before frying.
Karaage literally means “Tang fried” (Tang as in the Chinese dynasty), and is an umbrella term for any chicken that’s coated in either potato starch or flour and deep-fried. Like Gyoza and Ramen, Karaage is an example of Wafu-Chuka (Chinese-style Japanese) cuisine, whereby dumplings, noodles, or in this case fried chicken, were adapted from the Chinese culinary repertoire and turned into something uniquely Japanese.
The most common type of Karaage is known as Tatsuta-age, which is usually defined by the chicken first being marinated in soy sauce and then coated with potato starch. The name is in reference to the reddish brown color imparted by the soy sauce, which was thought to resemble the color of the Tatsuta River in autumn when the surrounding Japanese maple trees turn the river a similar hue.
Katakuriko is a potato starch made from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes. It does not have any potato taste or smell so it does not influence other flavors. Deep-frying with katakuriko makes the chicken crispier.
すき焼き Sukiyaki – sweet nabe of Japanese beef and vegetable. The beef was not Wagyu quality and totally overwhelmed by the sukiyaki sauce.
特製つくね Special Tsukune – Japanese style chicken meatball cooked yakitori style and smothered with onsen egg. The tsukune was flavourful and went very well with beer, definitely an Izakaya classic.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this is definitely not Kaiseki quality food. While they have some really good seasonal food like the Daiginjo tofu, but most of the dishes were quite standard. While they have English and Chinese menu, most of the staff did not speak any other languages.
Service was prompt and polite, as with all Japanese restaurants. But due to the language barrier it was difficult to get some requests across.
En Washoku Sake
和食・酒 えん ウィング高輪店
東京都港区高輪4-10-18 ウィング高輪 WEST B1F
TEL：[予約専用] 050-2018-1070／[お問い合わせ] 03-6408-5196