Wednesday 20 July 2016

Mizuno Okonomiyaki ~ Dotonbori

Mizuno seemed to come up in almost every recommendation when I searched for okonomiyaki in Osaka. Based on herd mentality, it had to be an indication of a must-visit, yes? 

One thing followed every recommendation for Mizuno - be warned of the long and seemingly endless queue. The line snakes so don't be fooled into thinking that you're finally close to the door.

Mizuno is a small double-storey shop, only about a dozen seats or less occupy the lower half while bigger parties occupy the upper half where there are cubicle seats for 4 or more. That itself makes up one of the reasons for the long wait.

We had a 40 minute wait among Japanese and foreigners alike. The staff would be handing out menus while you stand in line - for English menus, you can say 'eigo no menu onegai shimasu' (English menu please) or just ask in English, he'll still understand you. He'll also be taking your order as you wait.

Their top 5 items is the Yamaimo-yaki, an okonomiyaki with yam mixed in, Mizuno-yaki, a mixture of pork, minced meat, squid, shrimp and octopus, Negi-yaki, an okonomiyaki with a spring onion base, Modan-yaki, an okonomiyaki with a yakisoba base and Amakara-yaki which they describe as a sweet and salty okonomiyaki.

We picked a set of mini yamaimo-yaki and modan-yaki. They had 2 person set menus with the title 'If you don't know what to pick, this is right'. Hilarious.

The cooking is done right in front of you. So lay back, relax and enjoy the fumes.

That lid is not placed on the okonomiyaki at all times so you'd go out smelling like okonomiyaki, I guarantee it.

For the yamaimo-yaki, it starts off with 2 beautiful slabs of pork and 2 large scallops.

After that you're not so sure what happens. 

A mixture of surprisingly flourless batter, eggs and vegetables goes in then its tossed around till it's cooked. The next thing you'll know, he'll be asking you whether you're alright with every topping he's about to place on the okonomiyaki. It starts with okonomiyaki sauce, a touch of mustard and finally, mayo.

The yamaimo-yaki was glorious. Creamy, chewy, crunchy - all the textures come together so well as a savory pancake then you bite into the juicy pork and perfectly cooked scallop, it becomes amazing. The flavors of the sauces were very well balanced that every bite ended with an appreciative hum of 'mmmmm!'

While you enjoy one okonomiyaki, the chef will be busy preparing your second. 

The modan-yaki (it actually means 'modern okonomiyaki') has more carbs involved in the form of noodles. There's vegetable, pork and an egg in there too so don't underestimate it based on how plain it looks before the sauce comes on. The same sauces are piled on - sweet and salty from the oknomiyaki sauce, a nice kick from the mustard and rich umami flavors join the fun in the form of powdered seaweed. Absolutely delicious.

The only downside of our meal was that we yearned for more but could not add on an order after we've sat down. I would suggest ordering their 2 person set menu but adding on one full sized okonomiyaki to get your tummies (and souls) fully sated.

After the entire experience at Mizuno, the wait was warranted. It suddenly seemed necessary to build up the appetite for something so amazing. And in the end, your patience will be rewarded in the form of an authentic and absolutely exquisite okonomiyaki.