Change of plan. Wanted to head down to Hirome Market to try one of Kochi's specialties - Katsuo no tataki (鰹のタタキ) on our first night in Kochi. Plan was shelved after speaking to the owner of Terzo Tempo cafe earlier in the day. He handed me a map and recommended several shops/restaurants to visit in the nearby area. Decided to postpone the visit to Hirome Market on the last night and settle our dinner in Totoya, a restaurant located a few minutes walk away from 7 Days Hotel.
Natural dining. Motto of Totoya is to utilize natural ingredients in their cooking ("自然食材の店" as printed in their business card). In fact, owner approaches farmers and fishermen directly to stock up vegetables and fishes harvested from the land and sea. Cooking style is French inspired to bring out the natural goodness of every ingredient in each dish. The dining area is pretty small and could only occupy at most 15 people. There was only the chef and his assistant (who was also the waitress). As no other diners appeared in the restaurant on our day of visit, we foresee food may not be as good as what the owner of Terzo Tempo has acclaimed to be. Kept our fingers crossed...
Menu was hand written (in Japanese) with no prices mentioned. Was worried that I may end up overspending, therefore requested the waitress to recommend the signature dishes and clarified with her the prices along the way. Eventually, we decided on vanilla grilled red legged prawns and Provence style fried Shimanto chicken. Added one other dish which was recommended by the chef - fried sea bream (freshly caught in the day) accompanied with tasty rice. The delectable flavours of the food caught us by surprise and the food was good that we had to order an additional dish before ending today's dinner - Shimanto pork ragu pasta. Glad to discover another gem in Kochi after Terzo Tempo cafe. This is definitely one restaurant I would recommend and return to if I get to visit Kochi again.
|Top left: Fried Shimanto chicken; Top right: Grilled prawns; Bottom left: Appetisers; Bottom center: Fried fish with rice; Bottom right: Pasta with Shimanto pork sauce|
- Vanilla grilled red legged prawns: Prawns were not deshelled but halved. Despite that, the prawns were not over-cooked. Sweetness in the meat was locked in and a tint of fresh vanilla flavour can be felt as you bite into the meat.
- Provence style fried Shimanto chicken: I have to exclaim that this is one of juiciest chicken meat I have ever eaten. Chicken was cut into bite-sized, lightly floured and crispy fried. Served together with fragrant fried garlic, diced tomatoes and parsley, all of us agreed that this tori karaage came up top among the rest.
- Fried sea bream with rice: Fresh fish fillet was thinly coated with flour and fried to golden brown, accompanied with a lightly seasoned rice. In the midst of cooking our food, the chef came out from his kitchen to pass us a plate of fried fish head and said it was on the house! Fish lovers (like my parents) will like this dish very much.
- Shimanto pork ragu pasta. Pasta was cooked to al dente served with a lightly seasoned meat sauce and broiled greens. Taste felt more home cooked than mind blowing.