If there is one thing I hate, it is noise. And nowadays, I am plagued with noise. At home with building works at the back, not to mention the drunks at weekends. At airports with horrid music piping everywhere. On the tube with music pulsating out of people’s headphones. And of course in restaurants where very few restaurateurs seem to appreciate that diners may want to talk to each other while eating their meal!
I first went to Sao Paulo in 2009 to attend Paladar Cozinha do Brasil which anyone interested in Brazilian food should go to — it is totally fascinating. I then stayed on with my new found cousin to explore the city and try a few more restaurants including Jun Sakamoto where I learned that a top Japanese chef does not expect you to add anything to his sushi — he will brush the pieces with as much soy sauce as he thinks fit and all you have to do is pop the morsel into your mouth. That meal was the closest I got to knowing what it is like to eat in Japan, until that is I went to Urasawa in LA. And the reason why there is amazing Japanese food in Sao Paulo is because it has the largest Japanese community outside Japan, with many living and working in Liberdade where I went this time with the very talented Danilo Nakamura, both to explore the quartier and have lunch at Kidoairaku, a tiny place with the entrance plastered with posters of the owner’s gorgeous brother as a female dancer — apparently he is very famous.
So, I went back to Dinings again for lunch today and I have to say it was not as perfect as yesterday. I am not sure why. Perhaps it was because my brother wasn’t so impressed. He prefers Defune and was slightly annoyed that we hadn’t gone there — he is a little bit of a traditionalist as far as Japanese food goes and we have been going to Defune for nearly 40 years. At least I have. He came to London a few years after me. Anyhow, we still enjoyed our lunch and I will definitely go back although not in a hurry as it is not quite the cheapest place in town. Here are a few snaps of what we ate. Yet again, I failed to snap my toro hand roll. I am always in a hurry to eat these before the nori goes soggy. I will make sure to snap it next time!
It has taken me years to get there but I finally did, and yesterday I had lunch at Dinings after a diabolical 5 hour delay flying back from Houston which meant I had to go there straight from the airport. But given its location off the Edgware Road, it was no big deal – a super fast ride to Paddington on the Heathrow express then one station on the tube to Edgware Rd. And I loved my lunch so much that I am going back today with my brother to try the rest of the menu! Of all that I had yesterday my favourites were the fatty tuna chips above, the eel (unagi) with sautéed foie gras, the seaweed salad and the very unusual black sesame dessert (all below) not to mention the prawn tempura hand rolls which I greedily ate before remembering to snap them. Everything was so pretty to look at, which is not surprising in a Japanese restaurant and supremely delicious. Can’t wait till lunchtime when hopefully I will remember to take a few more snaps to either add here or to a new post!