Osaka, Japan: Columbia 8

Japanese curry has it’s own distinct flavor profile different from those of SE Asia and India. It does not contain coconut milk, and it tends to be sweeter and less spicy. So when we stumbled across a Michelin recommended curry shop, we had to see how they stood out from the rest. Like most restaurants in Japan, it only seats 8 people. To secure a seat means going before the shop opens.

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Walking in, the walls sported vintage and reggae style dĂ©cor. The chef/owner was there to greet us. Turns out he was an avid skater. Having traveled around the world, he was inspired to concoct a curry that represented his travels. In other words, don’t expect this to be a typical Japanese curry.

After ordering our food, we noticed he immediately began measuring and grinding an assortment of spices, perfuming the room with sweet scents of cardamom, anise, and cinnamon. It’s an elaborate process that guaranteed the freshness of each spice. The trade off was that this method took about 10-15 minutes to complete.

When the plate arrived, it definitely did not resemble any ordinary curry. It was loose and watery, almost soup-like. But one thing was certain, it was dusted and covered with a generous layer of spices.

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The owner explained how each component of the plate has a purpose, and that there was a proper procedure to eating the curry. First, you eat the rice with the sauce, then take a small nibble of the fried pepper, and afterward wash it all down with a thoughtfully paired fruit juice. It may sound cumbersome, but the whole ensemble works.

Sometimes straying away from normality can be met with harsh criticism. But seeing how they managed to get a recognition from Michelin, it seems they’re here to stay.

At the time of visit
Michelin: Recommended
Cuisine: Curry
Cost per head: 900 Yen (8.40 USD)

1-3-3 Doshomachi, Chuo-ku | Ebisu 2F Doshomachi Bldg., Osaka 541-0045, Osaka Prefecture
+81 6-6203-7788
http://columbia8.info/index.html

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