Today had a Chinese theme. I ventured into a Taiwanese massage place. I always had a rather dubious image of these places, especially given the rather extreme marketing I am subjected to when I leave the office late a night – there is a limit to the number of tokubetsu kimochi ii masa-ji that one can be offered without wanting to resort to physical violence. At least this ‘hood is not as bad as the Pong, the touts for the girly bars are not yet here in force.
So anyway, having always had a somewhat sceptical view of what may be on offer in a place billing itself as a ‘Taiwanese/Chinese Massage Store’ I had never stepped into one, until today. A week or so back, I had lugged Little Trouble around most of north London and a result of walking miles and miles with her on my shoulders had managed to put my back out a bit. Big Trouble suggested that as a sign of appreciation she would take me to a massage place which she visits on occasion and swears is legit. So off we went.
Feeling a bit out of my comfort zone (the idea of some one about to walk on my back being the main reason), we entered into a Taiwanese massage place on Hitotsugi-doori, which I must admit was not a all together unpleasant experience. I did ensure however that the curtain between my booth and Big Trouble’s was left open just to make sure that I was not molested in any way.
So having been sufficiently walked on and kneaded in various not unpleasant ways, Big Trouble and I decided to maintain the Chinese theme and went for Chinese noodles for lunch.
The noodles: Yu no Daidokoro specialises in noodles that are cut off a large lump of dough directly in a boiling pot of water. They were very good, sort of like a rough cut udon, not quite in the league of my current favourite noodles – okutone udon, but very close, firm to the bite, but with enough slipperiness to make them slide down your throat. They also had just the right level of absorbency to pick up the soup 24 points.
The soup: We both ordered the tantanmen, which is meant to be spicy, it was not. This was not a problem however as they had a jar full of chilli-sauce to add to the soup so that the punters could craft their own level of spiciness. I liked this approach, so many places use chilli to hide the fact that their soup has no underlying flavour, this place did not. The soup was a rich meaty broth and after a few spoonfuls of the chilli paste had the required heat. 23 points.
The extras: A small plate of three different dumplings, all very tasty, and a mango pudding. All that was missing was a coffee. 10 points.
Bonus: 10 points for the chef not using his arm as a cutting board. When I suggested this place, Big Trouble was a little worried as she heard that it was standard practice for the chef to put the dough on his arm and then carve away at it with a knife, the result of which is that some of the noodles end up with a bit of human hair in them. No worries at this place, they used a wooden board to place the dough on (although I probably would not have noticed and given that the noodles are boiled, I am sure they would be sterile enough). 10 points.
The details: B1 West Akasaka Building, 3-19-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Phone 03 3583 8688
Web site: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a955400/