Although we had absolutely no idea what the restaurant offered, the warm wooden interior lured us in, and we saved our questions for later.
Turns out 葱や平吉is a restaurant where the humble green onion takes on leading man persona - we should have guessed from the fresh bounty of vegetables displayed outside their restaurant.
We were shown to the counter where chef Tsubaki Takashi chef entertained us despite speaking little English. Soon, the servers brought over a basket of vegetables for us to choose from.
There was a lot of hand-signaling, gesturing and word-decoding but we snagged ourselves some grille sweet potato and onions too. The veggies were lightly grilled just to accentuate their natural aromas.
We were also presented with a small appetizer - a deep-fried meatball with finely-diced green onions. We were also given an entire box full of the same finely-diced green onions – I don’t mean to be rude but looking at that box alone makes me think of flatulence problems.
“You like salad?” asked the chef.
And our nods were rewarded minutes later with a towereing heap of arugula, daikon stripes and deep-fried beancurd skin, tossed in yuzu-based dressing.
Although the menu was written in Japanese, we recognized the Chinese characters for "pot" and ordered their beef yam casserole.
The hot pot arrived with clear soup but we were told to stir in the yam and beancurd paste. On its own, the soup was tasty but with the paste as a thicking agent, it was just what we needed to ward off the cold.
The fatty streaky beef resembled a gorgeous slab of designer marble.
A quick swirl in the broth scrunched up the beef and made enjoyment effortless.
The couple beside us ordered this and we were curious enough to order one for ourselves.
“Meatball” replied chef before handing over the minced meat skewer and a soft-boiled egg for us to dip the skewer in. Smoky, saltish but cream at the same time - what an unusual take on yakitori.