Hello hungry peoples,
My daughter insisted that on her birthday she should get to pick the restaurant for dinner. Her immediate choice…..the Smiley Face Restaurant. Ok, so that is not it’s real name but you can understand my daughters confusion.
Kokoro is a Japanese restaurant that has been in Gungahlin for ages. We have been going to Kokoro for about 6 years now. In fact I remember going the first time when my daughter was a baby. I have tried most of the menu and have never been disappointed. The people are also super nice. The chefs yell out hello to you from the kitchen as you walk in and the service has always been great, even when my kids have trashed the place. They have an excellent lunch menu where you can get $12 udon noodle soups (hmmm miso-licious) and bento boxes. I am working on a replica udon soup but it hasn’t been perfected yet. The noodles are easy as you can buy them pre-made but the broth has to be delicate and delicious, with just the right amount of miso. Broths are hard.
This night my kids shared the chicken katsu bento box which was huge. I had to eat the sushi with it, so by the end of it I was huge too. Chicken katsu is a butterflied chicken thigh, breaded with panko crumbs and deep fried. Essentially Japanese deep fried chicken. According to my daughter it was amazing, especially the mayonnaise. I’m really not sure whether she gets the dish just to eat the mayonnaise or not. It also has the required tonkatsu sauce, essentially Japanese barbecue sauce. I am under strict orders from my daughter to learn how to make this meal. If anyone has some tips send them my way. The bento box meal also comes with a selection of very fancy sashimi, including salmon, kingfish and tuna. They did sneak a bit of wasabi in under the fish, which was a bit of a surprise but a delicious one. It sure clears the sinuses out too. The other sushi contained smoked fish, caviar and mayonnaise, all good things.
For my actual main (e.g. not the food I pilfered from the kids) I had my usual pick, the soft shell crab salad. The crabs are deep fried after they have moulted and their new shells are still soft. This way there is no cracking shells to get the meat, you just eat the whole thing. Sounds kinda gross but the fried shells produce a wonderful crunch and you get to eat all of the crab meat without battling to remove it from the shell. My laziness approves of this. I really need to work on my crab cooking skills but in the mean time this salad will keep me happy. It also has mixed green leaves with tomatoes, Japanese mayonnaise and seaweed salad (called wakame). Seaweed salad is amazing and you should try it. I hear it is super good for you too. It comprises marinated seaweed with chilli, sesame seeds, salt and rice vinegar. Someone told me once that restaurants buy this ready made from Japan, which is why it always looks and tastes exactly the same. This could be a complete lie but it is eerily consistent in flavour and composition. There are quite a few recipes for it but the freezer section in the Asian supermarket has this ready made and I have never felt the need to make my own from scratch (I do have some boundaries….plus I wouldn’t even know where to start to get the seaweed).
That’s the meal. There was some serious waddling home after this with my daughter solemnly swearing that she would come here every year for her birthday. We may have got drive-through caramel sundaes on the way home but you didn’t see it, you weren’t there, you can’t prove anything.