Thursday 7 August 2014

Guu Otokomae: Mushroom Cheese Bibimbap

I like eating Japanese izakaya because you get to try many small dishes. Guu Otokomae is only open in the evenings and didn't take reservations when I called. Luckily we didn't have to wait longer than 15 minutes before we were seated in the packed restaurant.

Salmon with Seven Friends: diced wild sockeye, natto, picked cucumber, picked daikon, garlic chips, crispy wonton, green onions, diced cucumber, fresh egg yolk, miso and garlic sauce. Our server thoroughly mixed the "seven friends" for us and showed us how to scoop a spoonful of the mixture onto the square pieces of roasted seaweed, wrap it up and eat. There were so many flavours in each bite and the coolness of the salmon made it a perfect summer snack. It's also a perfect sharing dish.

Salmon with 7 friends ($8)
Takoyaki: deep fried balled octopus batter with tonkatsu sauce, wasabi mayo, mustard mayo, bonito flakes and dried seaweed. I love eating takoyaki at the night market but they're always made in such a big rush that the quality lacks. The takoyaki here came hot and each bite had octopus bits. Yum.

Takoyaki ($5)
Duck and Popeye: red wine and soy sauce braised duck breast on sauteed mushrooms and fresh spinach. This was my least favourite dish that we ordered. The mushrooms were too salty and the duck breast had an aftertaste that I didn't prefer. Perhaps it was too raw for me.

Duck and popeye ($9.8)
The grilled pork cheek was delicious. It was tender with a good balance of fat and meat and grilled in a slightly sweet sauce. You should try this!

Grilled pork cheek
The grilled squid was another favourite with the slightly sweet sauce and tender flesh. The thick creamy mayo made it even better.

Grilled squid
Mushroom cheese bibimbap: white rice with sauteed mushroom, cheese, dried seaweed, green onions and seaweed sauce. When we mixed the ingredients inside the hot stone bowl the aroma came spiraling out. It was another flavourful dish and the cheese made it feel like a Japanese risotto. It's a filling bowl though so if you can, share it so you can try more of the delicious dishes at Guu Otokomae!

Overall it was a pleasant dining experience here with nimble service and getting our food quickly. Next time I'd probably go earlier in the evening so avoid the crowds since it is a popular restaurant.

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