Only lazy haven’t heard about Japanese Hide Hirakata dream to open own restaurant in Tallinn. He started up a clever marketing ploy: fed guests at his home free of charge. As it’s said, a way to their hearts was put via ramen soup. Personally I haven’t visited Hide’s home or wasn’t familiar with him personally back them: I think it’s not objective to judge dishes of the host, and it isn’t accepted by rules of etiquette. So 4 months I patiently waited to go to his Washoku Story restaurant and without personal sympathies to estimate food.
Interior. One big hall with a small niche meets you. There are few little tables for two, because probably the big companies are more welcomed (and they were the majority actually). Everyone and everything were in plain view as in an aquarium, behind the back also stand tall windows. I suggest taking tables in a niche or near sofas, I guess there won’t be so chilly.
Furniture was of a warm tree shade, soft light falls from high ceiling, artificial trees – terrestrial, laconic, European mood. Music doesn’t match the atmosphere of restaurant – American rock, lounge, jazz. Of course, Japanese pop-music also doesn’t suit, but something instrumental closer to the land of the rising sun will do.
Service. Girls in a beautiful uniform silently slide across the hall, bow and greet on Japanese. That was pleasant! One day waitress brought oshibori right after seating, another – forgot. One gave apron for soup eating, another – not. She seated for a little table for two as I came alone – good, second seated me at the untidy table per four people. One perfectly understands the menu, waits for feedback, second– answers uncertainly, seemed didn’t wait for the answer about dishes. I estimate two service days in total, what can I do. I will give an ease for the short time of work in total.
Food. The shabby torn menu with the greased letters is a flaw. I got calmer after hearing from the personnel that list of dishes will enlarge soon, and at the same time the menu will be reprinted. Noted soups lack the description of components. There is no fish on the menu, sashimi or sushi (it’s forbidden to mention this word here) on the menu. All dishes turn round chicken and pork, plus a third of dishes will suit vegans.
Snack obligatory – Chicken Karaage – Deep fried chicken (5 pcs). A juicy dark meat stuffing, easy batter – that was excellent. Obviously differs from what I have eaten earlier: last variations were more dry and crunchy. Appetiser was served, alas, only with a lemon – the lemon gave slightly bitter taste, and I wished either sauce, or salt matcha salt.
Second thing so necessary to try is Chicken and vegetables Gyoza – Steamed and grilled Japanese dumplings (5 pcs). I must be frank as always: the best gyoza I’ve ever tried! With weightless thin dough, with a stuffing where each ingredient is clear and is palatable. Enjoyable with sauce soy and without it – it is remarkable. Recommend!
The heart of the house is certainly the ramen soup. Around it turns so many rumours, comparisons and discussions. I won’t take a role of the expert of ramen and just order similar to something I’ve tried earlier. Tonkotsu Miso Ramen – small – Pork based soup with Miso taste. Broth – perfection, an ideal. Deep, nutty and salty, not spicy, with taste of sesame and something imperceptible – umami?! You smile, you purr to yourself and think that it is possible to eat this broth without any toppings. Toppings were: green onions, shiitake mushrooms and, oh boy oh boy, bamboo shoots. The main couple of broth is noodles. And what a surprise, I tried them separately and understood that noodles didn’t absorb either aroma, or taste of such tasty concentrated broth at all. They were empty, felt like cardboard and really “sad”. I kept them for a while in broth to soak, but didn’t help.
As wasn’t satisfied with the first option completely, I ordered Chicken Soy Ramen – small Chicken based soup with Soy sauce taste. And what do you know, noodles tasted differently. Even though they were the same ones. Broth was even more delicious than the previous one, if it’s even possible. The same toppings of mushrooms, bamboo, egg and onion. It is a pity that it isn’t told about additional additives (corn, for example or the bigger order from listed toppings) in the a’la carte menu. I saw information about add-ins only on the restaurants’ website.
From desserts I was attracted to a Matcha crème brûlée – it looked like brulée, crackled like brulée, but matcha – tried for the first time in my life. Pistachio aftertaste, soft butter cream of emerald colour – what else you can wish for? Guess who does this dessert for a restaurant? Supertort – a part of team can be seen in cafe next door – Pavlova Cake.
From drinks I took only the Japanese green tea, under whose name was modestly hiding Sencha tea. As a gift from the house – butter cookie in the form of an Oriental cherry flower. Spring is in the air! I wish here would be real tea ceremony and wider tea selection.
Sum. Average bill per person is about 20 EUR. Very budgetary, and it is possible to sit here and eat and eat for hours. After two visits my impression has risen high. So there will certainly be the third, and the tenth visit, but already off the record. I can consider the competitor of Washoku Story is only Haku as authentic Japanese restaurant, because the rest in the capital stands at fast food level. Hope menu will be bigger soon, and I wait for fish broths especially. Good luck and prosperity, Hide!
Interior – 5/5
Service – 4/5
Food – 5/5
Overall impression – 5/5
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