Kutchan is a little haven of all things food .... Well, perhaps so when you're living in Hirafu, anyway. There's quite a varied array of food to be had, and it's our mission to try it all!
After a recommendation from Y & A from work we headed in. It's true Japanese style, the way it's in a rather large almost office-like building. The building doesn't look much from the street, it's only thanks to the neon lighted sign out the front that we eventually find it.
When you arrive, open the door, it just leads to a long white sterile corridor ....
Then venture down the corridor and right at the back on the right hand side is a little doorway with the words "Bagus Cafe".
We walk on in, it's surprisingly full... and feels like you could be in a little warung in Bali. It's decked out with batik, bottles of Indonesian and Thai beer and the type of music that could drift you away to Dreamland Beach .... We are led around to a table and stunned to see Y & A eating there. They were there just 2 nights ago, so it must be good! (That, and in Autumn most things in Kutchan close around 8, Bagus is open much later)
The menu is a combination of Indonesian, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and many other South East Asian offerings. We start with an order of spicy beef fresh spring rolls. The beef is spicy and full of flavour, wrapped in a rice paper casing with crisp lettuce and vermicelli noodles. To the side is a lightly spiced vinegar dipping sauce and a pile of wafer thin fried potatoes. A very nice start to the evening.
Next is a Thai style salad of vermicelli, pork and prawn. It has a nice pungent dressing with a little kick of chilli. There's crisp lettuce, mitzuna, red onion, chilli, peanuts and generous juicy chunks of prawn and pork throughout.
Then comes out a terracotta soup pot, sitting over a burning fire. This is their tom yum. It does smell good! We leave it to simmer for a few minutes ....
It's not got the hot we expect, but maybe we've spent too much time in Thailand. (Japanese are crazy for their wasabi, but they're not big on chilli-hot) but the flavours are still there. The sour is added from a bottle of Thai vinegar that's bought out with the soup.
We finish with a big stone bowl of Korean seasoned rice, braised pork & beansprouts. The pork belly has been braised for hours, and is deliciously tender. The seasoned rice starts to crisp on the bottom of the stone pot, and this stirred through gives each bit a nice texture. The wok-fried beansprouts and little bit of mitzuna balancing it out nicely.
It's all delicious, and we've been able to take a little trip around South East Asia by only travelling about 10km from home.
North 2, West 1
Tel: 0136 23 1118