Tsukishima, in the Chuo district of Tokyo, is THE area for “monja” (grilled light-flower-pancake with cabbage etc.). The competition is intense among the restaurants, that all pride in serving the best of the kind.
But not sure I would make the trip just for one meal… Wouldn’t it be great if I could casually stop by an authentic monja restaurant without having to go out of my way!
Well, my wish was granted. “Daruma”, the restaurant in Tsukishima, has opened a branch on the seventh floor to Solamachi, right by the Sky Tree!
I got there a little passed lunchtime, but the restaurant was still very busy with customers, most of whom were women.
The hot plate and the surrounding area were very clean and organized. The staff were all friendly and chic women. I don’t know if they are all Shitamachi*-born, but they sure have that spirit!
*Low-lying area filled with independent shops and factories, known for its friendly and stylish atmosphere
The restaurant serves monja and “okonomiyaki” (Japanese style pancake with vegetables and meat etc.). From the authentic Japanese style to more unusual kinds, such as Italian, Spanish, Korean and even Indian. There’s something for every one!
The seasonings on the table are neatly aligned. The paper towel wrapped on the oil prevents you from getting greasy hands. I thought that was a considerate gesture on their part.
I was given a key case with a number on it for the check later on.
Kind of cute, no?
I love eating monja, but the making process of it? Not so much. Yes, it is fun to pour the gooey dough on the iron plate, struggle to make it the perfect round shape and laugh at the mess you made. But if you’re looking to eat a perfectly prepared monja, ask the very skilled staff and they will gladly help you.
I ordered “mochi-mentaiko-monja” (monja with mochi and spiced cod roe). It only cost 1310 yen and the cod roe is huge!
I was born in Shitamachi and grew up eating this food. I mean, I’m sure I could do a pretty decent job if I tried, but I left it to the staff this time. I was curious to see how the staff would prepare it.
Take to spatulas, dump the ingredients on the iron plate, and chop chop chop!!
When you feel like the pieces are small enough, make a doughnut shape.
Then pour the liquid in the middle. At Daruma, they’ve already seasoned it for you so no need to add any other sauce.
If you’re doing this for the first time, the liquid will likely burst out of the surrounding doughnut part. But they’re professionals here. It turned out beautifully!
Well, looks like perfection to me.
I love how bubbly and sparkly the cod roe looks. The mochi is nice and soft, too.
Before trying it, I sprinkled some “aonori” (green dried seaweed) on top.
Now, one bite of the piping hot monja.
It’s delicious! I’m going to eat it just like this; it doesn’t need any additional sauce or seasoning. The cod roe is sizzling in my mouth. The creaminess of the melted mochi is irresistible!!!
And don’t waste the burnt bit! It’s like a savory rice cracker, and tastes amazing combined with the soft part.
I never get tired of this Shitamachi style monja. It reminds me of my childhood and soothes me from the inside. I finished it entirely, making sure I didn’t leave over one bit.
|DARUMA SOLAMACHI BRANCH|
|7th floor of Tokyo Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo|
|1 min walk from Oshiage station|
|Monjya , Okonomiyaki|