Nikkei Cuisine at Osaka Santiago

I first discovered Nikkei cuisine in Lima, Peru when we dined at Maido. Nikkei is probably my favourite kind of food because it combines Japanese technique with Peruvian flavours. I mean, think about it — Japanese food is very delicate, refined, and umami. As for Peruvian food, think about ceviche — raw fish cooked by the acid of lime juice, enhanced by carefully chosen spices. Fresh raw fish is a staple in both cuisines, and both do such incredible things with it. So much freshness and sour bite from citrus and spice, just engaging of all the senses. And there’s a homey element to it too… when I eat Nikkei cuisine, I feel like I’ve come home. The texture is so welcoming. I need to work on explaining why I love this so much, rather than just inhaling without thinking. I’m trying to get better at this.

SO! When we were in Santiago recently, Andrew told me there’s a Nikkei restaurant there, a very famous one, not to be missed — it’s called Osaka.

“We must go there!” I declared, as he knew I would.

But our days were filled with tours, Borago, and Sunday everything was closed, we were running out of time, we had still not been to Osaka and now our plane was about to leave.

We had spent our last morning on a quick wine tour… but it seemed like maybe we could get our tour driver to drop us off at Osaka, and maybe, just maybe, they could squeeze us in for lunch. He knew exactly how important it was to dine at Osaka, seemed to be a fan himself, and so we were dropped off at the luxurious W hotel and whisked up the elevator to the top floor where Osaka is located, and were seated immediately. We wasted no time in ordering.

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Interior of Osaka at the W hotel in Santiago.

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We wasted no time in ordering Pisco Sours.

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That’s water.

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Trio of ceviches. The classic was so fresh and sour. The nikkei was sweet and smoky? Salty? Fresh and creative and incredible.

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Abalone nigiri. It was everything! Sweet, chewy, hot, sour… LOVE.

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Duck confit. Ridiculously good. The skin was so fatty and crispy. the meat so tender and sweet.

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This rice dish arrived with the duck confit. We loved it. I did not document why though.

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A gorgeous pork dish with little cakes of rice. Tender, sweet, so umami, so everything.

We couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved every bite. EVERY bite.

Side-note: the table next to us ordered a dish that arrived with flaming salt. Whoa.

And then we had to jet. Literally. Our suitcases were packed and waiting for us at De Blasis, and they had told us they’d have a cab waiting for us, we needed to go. Because Osaka and the W hotel are in the business district and this was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, it was easy to jump in a cab and hurry back. Off to the airport, off to fly to Rio for a bit of a farewell to the beach.

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