Whilst our hotel, the “Sheraton Hiroshima”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/163607-review-sheraton-hiroshima, was ideally located next to the railway station, there didn’t appear to be much around it in terms of restaurants. The helpful concierge suggested what he described as the ‘ASSE building’ behind the station.
We feared it would be one of those mall outlets where fast food stalls, central communal seating and plastic trays abound. But by now it was late, having indulged in free drinks in the Club Lounge and none of us were up for going far.
Having eventually navigated our way through a subway below the station we came out into a large shopping centre. A map showed restaurants on two of the five floors. We tried the fifth floor and found it was better than we’d anticipated. Yes, the outlets were informal but at least they were proper restaurants.
Over pre-dinner drinks, we’d googled and found that a speciality of Hiroshima was a dish called okonomiyaki – described as a thin layer of batter topped with cabbage and yakisoba noodles. Whilst this didn’t sound particularly appetizing, we all felt that (a) it was traditional and (b) didn’t include raw fish or miso soup.
So when we found a café called “Reichan”:http://www.o-reichan.jp/ which appeared to specialize in this dish (in fact that’s all it sold) and we were soon crammed into an already full restaurant and sharing a long table with another group of four Japanese students. The tables were close together and there was hardly space to move or for bags, but it appeared jolly and lively.
We were presented with English menus and the waiter who spoke the best English was appointed to deal with us. We chose two different okonomiyaki – one with cabbage and udon noodles and one with mozzarella and sobo. To be honest we had no idea what the difference was, but thought it best to go for one of each.
The kitchen was open plan and five white aproned and hatted chefs were cooking up a storm on a hot grill. It was very theatrical and we loved watching how a huge pile of cabbage plonked on a pancake soon reduced down in size.
On arrival, the dishes, a cross between a tortilla and pizza, were pre cut: one into squares and one, wedges. They were absolutely delicious especially with a liberal dousing of spicy soy sauce that was on each table.
We decided to have another, this time with prawns, not just because they were so delicious and we were still a little hungry, but so we could stay and watch the chefs. It was hard to imagine how they kept going in what was obviously a very hot and steamy environment.
We were virtually the last to leave when the restaurant closed at 9.30pm. Our bill with a couple of beers each was less than £10 a head. Back in our room, we checked Trip Advisor and found we’d been to the 9th rated restaurant (out of 5,583) – not a bad find!