Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ootoya - Delicious Food Haphazard Service

A rather schizophrenic experience at Ootoya last week. Prior to the visit, I was full of anticipation, having heard so many rave about the place. I liked that Ootoya specializes in teishoku – an all-in-one set meal with a main dish, side dish, rice, pickles, and miso soup - just like home cooking.

Driving up the dizzyingly steep carpark ramp (all of 16 floors before I found a lot) of that bewildering vertical mall of Orchard Central gave me a staggering headache. Good thing there was no queue and we promptly got seats at the big communal table. Unfortunately after 20 minutes our food was still nowhere in sight, as our server had forgotten to key in the orders – which would ordinarily not have peeved me so much but for the attitude of the manager who couldn’t be bothered to find out what had happened.

Despite being in a huff E was appeased by his first bite of the Torotoro set (steamed rice with Mutsu bay scallops and a soupy stew of tofu and chicken), $17 and 751 calories. So very tasty, with a homely, down-to-earth feel – three small scallops but judge not by the quantity, these were real sweet. The soup was flavourful and heartwarming to sip on, although it seemed a little weird that it was thickened with cornstarch.

The most popular item on the menu, the charcoal grilled atka mackerel ($17 and 579 calories) was deservedly so. An oily and succulent texture but not over-the-top greasy, and pleasantly salty and bitter notes that were complemented perfectly by the grated radish, I couldn't stop eating it and finishing my entire bowl of rice in the process.

Lovely food at Ootoya – I always like down-to-earth homely dishes and this amply fits the bill. So, never mind the can’t-be-bothered service and the crowds, this is a place that I would come back to again.

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