Friday, April 4, 2014

Anpuku: More than 33 kinds of Udon under one roof

Anpuku is a fusion restaurant that serves as many as 33 styles of udon from regions all over Japan. Yes, this number is rather unbelievable, given that most udon houses serve no more than 10 items. Hot or cold, in soup or in dipping sauce style, most of the hotsellers are modern style fusion udon but there are also classic udon for the traditionalists.

The best selling udon is the cream Carbonara udon (1200 yen). Topped with a perfect poached egg, the udon was drenched in a pool of eggy goodness. The creamy yellow sauce is not too heavy on the seasoning and there is more than enough to last till the end. This is what the chef calls a "Wafu" pasta because the base of the cream contains the Japanese dashi.

The Black Vinegar Sichuan Spicy and Sour Tsukemen (1000yen) did not disappoint too. The slurry of eggs, onions and pork fats was not too starchy nor diluted, but at just the right consistency to coat the noodles. Though it has a tinge of sweetness, the vinegar eclisped the taste on the palates and transformed the burly noodles into highly appetizing dish.

The Beef Tendon Black Curry Udon (1150 yen), whose stock has been simmered for 8 hours, is another highly recommended dish on the menu but I thought it lacked the lustre of spices and was blandly forgettable. 

On the other hand, I grew to enjoy my Mentaiko Seaweed Salad Udon with every bite. There was a subtle spicy kick in this cold dish as the noodles were brushed in gritty mentaiko with pieces of crunchy croutons that added to the image of salads. Even though summer has yet to come, this dish proved to be a flexible one that can be enjoyed all seasons. 

From the selection of ala carte dishes that is available during dinner and all day dining on weekends, we has the Oyster Mushroom Anchovies. The oysters and mushrooms came sizzling in the shallow pot of herbed olive oil and it was not long before we dipped the toasted baguette slices into bubbling oil. 

Though I am not a fan of udon, I found myself to like Anpuku very much as the variety of udon caters to different preferences. Tradition, Italian, Chinese, Kyoto Style, Tsukemen style.......Having only accomplished barely one-eight of its menu, I can always look forward to try new items, at least for the next several visits. 

Anpuku あんぷく
1-37-8 Nishi-Ikebukuro
Access: 2-min walk from Ikebukuro Station Exit C6 or C9
Click here for Japanese website with menu
Click here and here for various English reviews.
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