Food, Japan, Travel

A Crabby Kaiseki Lunch | Kani Doraku Honten

You can’t possibly miss this huge ass crab upon walking into Doutonbori Street. I saw it the first time I came to Namba, and wondered what was so awesome about the multi-level restaurant that one would have to take a queue number just to get in. This time, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to get a queue number (and kill time at F21) to see what the hype was all about.

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal. Depending on the restaurant, it could be simple… or extravagant. Lunch is usually much, much cheaper than dinner. I personally enjoy a variety in my food and in small quantities, so a kaiseki meal is perfect for me. Let’s begin!

Course #1: Boiled Crab Claws


It was a simple and fresh start to an elaborate meal. I love how easy it was to get the meat out, and while chopsticks were provided, I wasn’t afraid to use my hands to get through the difficult to reach bits. The meat was flaky, chewy and flavourful. I preferred it on its own than dipping into the light, tangy sauce that had been served with it.

Course #2: Crab Sashimi

As much as I love my sashimi, I was a little hesitant with these. I love crabs, but raw crabs? Oh what the hell, this was Japan. If I could eat raw shellfish that was still moving on the plate… I could handle some raw crabs. It turned out to be my favourite dish of the lot. The meat melts in your mouth, and it was sweet, slightly salty and just pure umami heaven.

Course #3: Chawanmushi


After a heavenly experience with the sashimi, the Chawanmushi was quite a letdown. There was nothing entirely special about the egg custard, more than I am used to anyways.  It was like every other chawanmushi: soft, silky and savoury. I do enjoy the two ginko nuts hidden in the cup.

Meanwhile, the rice in the steamer cooks.



Course #4: Tempura


Next up, I was served a plate of tempura. There was crab leg, sweet potato and ginger (with a pink tip). The sweet potato was the only thing I didn’t like, but that’s because I am not the biggest fan of it in general. The ginger was yummy, sweet and crunchy while the crab leg was what crab legs were: Yummy.

Course #5: Pasta and Cheese with Grilled Crab


I was getting a little full at this point and imagine my face when they brought in a bowl of carbs. Great. The pasta and cheese dish was served in a hot plate that kept it nice and warm till the last bite. The best part about this dish was the grilled crab. One bite, and the flavour exploded in my mouth. I wish there were more cheesy crab bits instead of pasta. That would be PERFECT.

Course #6: Kani Claypot Chazuke


Finally, the rice in the pot is cooked to perfection. This dish was the hardest work. I had to scrape boiled crab meat onto the rice and give it a good toss and it didn’t help I was already satiated. But I didn’t want to waste any food for the price I am paying for this lunch so I finished every single bit of rice in my bowl. The process was simple. Scrape some meat on the mountain of rice in your bowl, pour a generous serving of tea, add pickles… EAT!

 Course #7: Matcha Ice Cream


A perfect closing to a perfect lunch. Nothing too heavy, and I love that it wasn’t too sweet. The matcha tasted so good, I couldn’t help but to slurp it all down after I was done with the ice cream. It had a slightly bitter aftertaste, but I LOVE it.

It was overall an interesting experience, sitting through a 7-course lunch. The food may not be as mind blowing as I expected it to be considering I paid about 4,700 yen (SGD 55) for it, but I walked out of the restaurant feeling really satisfied. Plus it kept me full way past dinnertime too, so I got to save some cash. Heh heh.

The experience was enjoyable, and the view of the shopping street below was great to look at while enjoying your meal. Dine in one of the iconic restaurants in Namba: BUCKET LIST CHECKED!

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