Different types of Japanese restaurants

I find it fascinating that restaurants have different service models. Service as in: (1) how to take a seat
(2) how to order
(3) how to get your food
(4) how to pay

In Japan I have experienced a lot of different types of restaurants. In this post I will give you an overview. Enjoy!

Ticket machine restaurant

How to order(2) and pay(4): There is a ticket machine where you can get tickets for different dishes. You put in money for example ramen and a side dish. The machine can give money back, so you don’t need to pay the exact amount.
How to take a seat(1): If the place is not busy, you can just take any seat. Or the waiter will guide you to a seat.
How to get your food(3): the food is made very fast, like ramen or a ‘fast food’ dish. The waitress will bring it to your table.

Self service: Tully’s Coffee, Starbucks

How to order(2) and pay(4): You buy your drinks and food at the counter and you pay there.
How to get your food(3): You wait at the counter till the foods and drinks are made.
How to take a seat(1): After getting your food and drinks, you pick any free seat. In Japan, if it’s very busy, you can already occupy a seat beforehand with you bag or even an tissue pack. People will not steal your stuff.

Full service restaurant (Western style)

How to take a seat(1): When you arrive they ask whether you have a reservation. Your jacket will be taken away from you.You will be guided to your seat.
How to order(2): You will receive two menus: drink and food. You will get some time to pick your drink and food. The waiter will come back to check all the details of what you have ordered. Hot or cold drinks?
How to get your food(3): If you have a course menu, your food will come one by one including the needed cutlery. The waiter pays attention to when you are done with a course. The empty plates and cutlery will be taken away and the next course with cutlery comes. If you are in a teppanyaki or sushi restaurant, the chef will prepare the food in front of you.
How to pay(4): You wave the waiter and you ask for the bill. You pay at your table.

Special restaurants

Sushi belt, Kura Sushi

How to take a seat(1): You get a ticket with a number from a machine, where you can choose “Table seat” or “Counter seat”. The waitress at the counter will call your number and give you a table/seat number. You have to find your table in the maze.
How to order(2): There is a tablet at your table and you can pick your dishes via the tablet.
How to get your food(3): Your dishes will come to you on a conveyor belt. There are two conveyor belts, one goes to every table and you can pick any sushi from there. The top conveyor belt brings the food you have ordered.
How to pay: The fun thing of Kura Sushi is that you are cleaning your plates in a playful way (gamify!). There is a gachapon machine (capsule toy machine) at your table and you can put in 5 plates as 1 try to get a toy. The tablet will play a short movie where you will beat the villain (or not). If you beat the villain you will get a toy! I got an ice cream eraser. Simon and Martina have a nice movie about Kura Sushi. When you are done eating, you push a “Call waiter” button on the tablet, the waiter will check the number of plates and extra stuff. She will print a receipt for you. You take this receipt and table number to the counter and pay.

Famous restaurant with waiting line

How to take a seat(1): Wait in line for about 30+ minutes. You will be guided to your seat when there is a free spot. At some restaurants you need to take of your shoes to sit on the floor.
How to order(2): When a restaurant only has a few options, they might already take your order in line. Else, they will take your order after you are seated.
How to get your food(3): The waiter will bring your food.
How to pay(4): When they bring your food, they also give you a (handwritten) receipt. When you are done eating, you go down to the cash register and pay. (If you are sitting on the second floor.)

Every restaurant gives you free water or tea. Except the fancy Kobe Beef restaurant actually…

What do you prefer more? A self service restaurant or full service restaurant?

I am more of the self service: food comes fast, no small talk hassle. Eat and gooooo~ to eat more food. Hehe..
Have a good weekend!

Meram ~ Turkish cuisine in Rotterdam

Yesterday a friend of mine introduced me to Turkish cuisine. We went to Meram in Rotterdam West, a franchise which has a lot of restaurants in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. When we arrived, there were mainly Turkish people there, so then the food must be good! But also, duh, my friend is Turkish, so he know it is good.

The food

My expectations of the food was actually like the lamb skewers of my father, strong in taste and a lot of herb taste. But the food was more subtle compared to that. The quality though was really high, you can taste the lamb flavor really well. I loved it. They served a Turkish bread with sauces as starter. That bread was a lovely experience for my mouth. It was more dense than Turkish bread from the Turkish bakery and it also had this crispy oven flavor.
I actually enjoyed the food so much that I forgot to take pictures of everything. Here is a small collection of the food that didn’t miss my camera.

Manti

Little lamb meat dumplings. A small bite, with yogurt and tomato sauce

Konya Usulü Etli Ekmek

Minced meat on dough, baked in a stone oven (I think)

Beyti Sarma

Lamb kebab (i think it was lamb) rolled in a pancake, topped with sour tomato sauce and yogurt

Lamb pieces stir fried with pepper, tomato and onion. Fragrant rice in the middle

Menu

Also their menu, interior and business card is designed all so well. Props to the designer! Their menu photos are just so beautiful, I can learn a lot from them.

meram menu

You can find their menu online

Coffee

I ended with a Turkish coffee which smelled as rich coffee, cozy and warm. The smell reminded me of a room with a lot of soft carpet on the floor and the walls, dark red color and old men sitting there enjoying coffee. Maybe a bit racist, I apologize.

Turkish coffee

Hot, warm coffee. Not as strong/bitter as I thought. Sweet and fragrant

The taste of the coffee was not as bitter as normal coffee, I actually liked it. They had put in medium sugar in it, but it tasted very sweet. When you are done drinking the coffee there is leftover residue of the coffee grind, which is very thick. You can use that to predict your future, by putting the cup upside down, letting it cool and analyse the shapes in the cup. Just like tea leaf reading.

Verdict

I really enjoyed the food there. I will be going back to try out other dishes. They know their meat, so I can’t wait to try out meat dishes. Also, I saw they have a Meram Burger restaurant chain. More meat!
Thank you Lazy Friend for introducing me to a new cuisine. It’s awesome to learn from other cultures through good food.

Visit them!

Meram (Rotterdam West)
Mathenesserplein 91, 3023 LA Rotterdam
+31 (0)10-478 06 43
meram.nl/rotterdam-west  Check out their website for more locations

Mon-Thu    12:00-0:00
Fri-Sat        12:00-01:00
Sun             10:00-0:00

Sichuan hot pot at Red Pepper Rotterdam


Remember last week I was nagging about needing more hot pot in the Netherlands? Well, I went to Red Pepper in Rotterdam and I am satisfied. You can eat high quality hot pot there with a big range of ingredients to choose from and they serve a delicious home made dipping sauce.

Sichuan hot pot

The chef of the restaurant comes from Sichuan and has worked in one of the best Sichuan restaurants there, according to their website. It’s possible to order all kind of spicy Sichuan food, like spicy fish soup (one of my favorite Sichuan dish) but this time we went for the hot pot. Every person gets their own little pan which boils on spirit, which reminded me of oldskool hot pot at home.

You can pick a vegetarian or beef soup base and you can choose your spice level. We went for mild, which is a little bit tongue tingly. The soup tasted really nice; salty, herby and spicy. It tasted like the hot pot soup in China.

If you choose the hot pot option, you will get a list with all the ingredients, You can check off the ingredients you want, just like all-u-can-eat-sushi. It’s always possible to get more ingredients. The price is: meat ingredients 5 euro, veggies 3 euro and fish 7 euro. You need to eat a minimum of 15 euro. We ate about 22 euro per person on ingredients.

Other food

Lazy Bear tried the beef noodle soup with mild spice level, but it was quite a punch for him. The soup base was really nice. I also used it to fill my hot pot. We also ordered a cold dish: thin pork slices with cucumber and garlic. So good!

We ordered bubble tea which also tasted very authentic. You can taste they use real tea (or they can fool me very well). Their tea pot is also beautiful. Overall, their design style in the restaurant is well thought off; nice menu card books with mouthwatering pictures, pretty designed eat tools and a lovely interior.

Verdict

Interior / design = 9
Food = 8
Service = 7.5

I really like my first time hot pot in the Netherlands. I will be going back for sure, to try all the other authentic Sichuan foods.

The restaurant is really close to Round&Round, so it’s perfect to combine Sichuan food and soft cakes. Too bad Round&Round was closed on our day of visiting.

Visit them!

Red Pepper
Groenendaal 45F, 3011 SM Rotterdam
T: +31 (0)10 307 03 88
www.restaurantredpepper.nl

Mon-Sat    12:00 – 22:00
Sun            14:00 – 22:00

Kimmade new dessert: Chè bắp

On a beautiful sunny Sunday Lazy Penguin and I went to Kimmade for that delicious banh mi. Chef Kimsang surprised us with a new dessert: chè bắp. Chef is still fine tuning the dessert for the new menu. Let’s take a look at Lazy Penguin first reaction…

Always thinking about Kimmade’s banh mi.. so good

New dessert in the making: Chè bắp

Vietnamese drip coffee and chè bắp

Visit them!

Kimmade Food Village
Oudegracht aan de Werf 61, 3511AD, Utrecht
www.kimmade.nl/food-village

Monday till Sunday
Breakfast     08:00 – 12:00
Lunch           12:00 – 16:00
Dinner          17:00 – 22:00

Just Meet ~ meat heaven in Leiden

Dear readers! I need to tell you about this awesome place in Leiden: Just Meet. A steak house which have given me an exceptional dinner experience.

It was a normal dinner date with Lazy Penguin and Lazy Kitten (new Lazy friend!), using his birthday as excuse. I thought: “let’s not work this dinner” (a.k.a making million photos and observing the room etc.). But the menu, the drinks, the PICK-YOUR-OWN-KNIFE experience and the food was too good to NOT share with you guys. So here it is, my enthusiastic photo story:

Story time

When entering one part of the restaurant (they have two rooms) you feel cozy and warm with the wooden interior and high ceiling. Soft sofas over there.

Food & Drinks

Just Meet offers a big selection of Gin & Tonics and wines. Since we are Gin & Tonic noobs, we took forever to order a G&T. This type of drink is getting popular, I often see it in restaurants these days. We also asked for the main menu to see what we could pick to match the drink. They offer dry aged meat, which has a richer taste nomnomnom. Lazy Kitten and I ordered the tenderloin and Lazy Penguin the rib eye for more fat taste.

We also ordered some shared side dishes. Just check out my art plating, doesn’t it look delicious? So how was the food? The meat was so soft and tender. This comes so close to sous vide meat. This really was the best meat experience I have ever had in a restaurant (better than Rodeo). Also because of the big selection of side dishes which complement the meat really well. Our chosen side portions were 2,50 euro each and not too big, so you can try a lot. Lazy Penguin was really enthusiastic about the truffle risotto. He will also make it as side dish for his sous vide meat. The quality of the meat, the side dishes were just “ah” 😙 👌* kisses fingers *.

Oh, I was so enthusiastic about the food that I skipped the fun part. It was very interesting to try out the different Gin & Tonics. They are all bitter, but have their own scent and tastes. We had [coffee bean + blood orange], [rose petals + black pepper] and [mint + red rasberry]. The coffee bean one smelled like old grandpas, but the taste grows on you. It became my favorite of the three.

Pick your own knife!

What blew my mind away was that we could choose our own meat knife! What kind of awesome service is that! For the perfect meat experience, you get the pick out your own tools. They take their meat very seriously. Lazy Penguin told us that it is not good to have a serrated meat knife (kartel mes), since you will break the fibers of the meat. While I was looking for the English translation of ‘kartel mes’ I found a cool article (in Dutch) about Chef George Jasper and Robin Verloop from Just Meet. I am just getting hyped up about the knives! I picked a flower laser cut knife with strange holding area. I assure you, the next time I will visit them, I will pick the same. It grows on you.

Middle knife is mine.

Dessert time! We were already quite full, but since the food had been awesome, we also had to try out some desserts. Just look at these pieces of art!

And again, the taste and the textures were so interesting and delicious. Glad we didn’t skip the desserts.

Price & Service

All this food, drinks and awesome experience was ónly 50 euro per person. I think that is a great deal for good food + alcohol. The service was also friendly and easy going. I felt a bit uncomfortable taking so much time to pick a G&T, but our waitresses were really patient and friendly.
So… time for you guys to visit?

Visit them!

Just Meet
Breestraat 18, 2311 CR, Leiden
T: 31(0) 717 50 45 70
just-meet.nl Facebook

Djebena ~ East-African food in Delft

The beginning…

About two years ago, Lazy Bear and I went to the center of Delft to meet up with Lazy Monkey (new Lazy friend!). Lazy Monkey was having a late dinner 21:00 at Djebena. He was sitting outside with a plate of gooey spinach and a pancake. He let us try it and we were sold! We also ordered a spinach (Hamli) dish for ourselves, even though we already had dinner.. But when you can eat good food, your stomach just opens up a secret pocket to fill in more delicious food.

That was the start of our East-African food relationship. Since then I have been there for about 5 times. The food is really delicious and tasty.

Spinach dish. It doesn’t look very pretty, but it is sooo good!

Food

When you have ordered your dish, you will get your meat and veggies on a shared pancake dish with your eating companions. You can eat everything with your hand. Take a piece of pancake and grab some meat or veggie. I always want to eat the spinach dish, so I often order the 4 veggies surprise meal. The 4 meat surprise meal is also very nice. Some meats are a bit spicy.

In the photo you see Lazy Bear’s meat surprise dish and my veggie surprise dish. Sharing = more food tasting!

The pancake has little holes, because it is fermented. It also tastes a bit sour, but that matches really well with all the toppings.

Menu

They also offer a range of fruit beers. I tried all of them, and I like the coconut the best. The alcohol percentage is not very high, 3.7% to 7%. The mango juice is also really recommended. Mmmm…
The price for a dish and some drinks is about 20 euro p.p.

Visit them!

Djebena
Marktplein 75, 2622 GS, Delft
Weimarstraat 52A, Den Haag
Noordeinde 21, Leiden
☎: +31(0) 15 – 36 49 828
djebena.nl    Facebook 

Tue-Sun    10:00-22:00? (there was no end time for Delft)
Mon        Closed

Nijmegen coffee and lunch tips

Hey food lovers!

Lazy Penguin here. Lazy Piggie asked me to write about the culinary treats of Nijmegen. Pheeew. That’s quite the challenge, because there’s a loooot to taste in this lovely city! Well, here goes. Let’s start with the coffee and lunch places.

De blonde pater

Consistently excellent.

Well-known and always bustling with people, I just can’t fault de blonde pater. Consistently excellent coffee and food, friendly service, located in my favourite street in Nijmegen (Langehezelstraat) and very fair prices. If you want to try the tried and tested lunchbar in Nijmegen with no margin for error, go here.
Recommended drinks:
If you like your coffee a lot, like, you like it to be a lot, try the ‘espropress’. French-pressed coffee enough to fill your entire coffee-craving mug. Also try their eight treasure tea. There’s nothing quite like it.
Recommended Food:
Everything is good. Seriously. Everything. If I had to choose one thing though, try the ‘pater deli’ for a real treat. A mountain of thinly sliced marinated meat on a bun, you simply can’t go wrong.

blondepater.nl

Sid en Liv

Well made sandwiches and coffee in your- uhhh… Their living room.

This cosy lunchroom wins the price for bringing your home to a cafe. With an idyllic garden behind the cafe, this is the place to go if you like your cafes with a intimate, warm atmosphere.
Recommended drinks:
They have a great selection of teas- dare I say the best in Nijmegen I tasted? Yes I do.
Recommended Food:
Their ‘flammkuchen’, an imported food from our German neighbours, are a delight and quite unique in Nijmegen. I also loved their hot dog for its well-balanced flavours. All food is recommended though.

sidenliv.nl

Fika

Scandanavion delights.

A unique concept in Nijmegen: choose two smaller sandwiches to complete a lunch meal. I simply adore this concept. You mean I get to try more food?! Yes please. The interior is sober yet stylish, Scandinavian style. Just a lovely cafe.
Recommended drinks:
In my memory nothing really stood out. Just try whatever!

Recommended foods:
Who cares?! Just mix and match and try different things with your lunch partner for maximum taste variety! (I liked the carpaccio with truffle mayo, but I’m a sucker for truffle. Go for your gut feeling. Get it? :D)

fika-nijmegen.nl

This was the lunch part, more tips coming soon..