A-bu-cha is a cute little cottage sitting on the corner of the main intersection in Hirafu. We tried going here with Shouya the first night we arrived in October, but they were closed. They didn’t re-open until 1st December, which, funny enough was when we opened. We didn’t make it over on opening night, but I think just about everyone else in Hirafu did, it was packed to the rafters. The following night we finished work and headed on over. It is nice that they serve food until like 12:30am, so it made for a good after-work stop throughout the season.
The greeting, with every staff member in the place participating, is an enthusiastic ‘Ishimase’ that really makes us feel welcome. We walk on in, it’s cosy inside, to the left there’s 2 non-smoking booths and then up a few little stairs a long bar stocked with all sorts of spirits, sho-chu’s, sakes and beers. The kitchen is straight ahead and it’s tiny, but they manage to get about 5 Japanese chef’s back there … To the right is the main dining area with a few more booths and some tables. There’s a heater blasting out hot air and it’s snowing outside, how beautiful.
We order a few things.. The first to arrive a ceramic bowl set ontop a bamboo basket with just a few crisp green edamame peeking out from underneath.
The bowl is turned over (used for the pods, of course) and we both dive in. The beans are so plump and juicy, our fingers getting all salty from the outside as we eat them. They are served cold, which when they’re this good they should be.
Zangi, we’ve heard so much about this delight, so are very looking forward to sampling it. It’s like a karage chicken, big juicy bits of chicken thigh that taste like they’ve been steamed first and then coated and fried. When you order, you have the option of sweet chilli sauce or black vinegar. We choose the black vinegar. A generous bowl sits to the side, it’s a nice tart vinegar and there’s plenty of chopped spring onion and ginger. Some of the best karage we’ve eaten.
We settled on just 2 kushi, things on sticks. If you can’t already tell, we love food, especially meat, on sticks. The tsukone is the first to arrive. Tsukone is chicken mince, this one seasoned with garlic, ginger and shallot, then pressed around a fatter stick and grilled. This one is then dipped in yakitori sauce. Sitting to the side a perfectly plump, sunshine yellow egg yolk. The stick is taken and swirled through the egg yolk before each bite.
Next, buta-yaki, pork stick. The pork is quite tender (not quite as good as Sen chou’s) and covered in the rich, sweet sauce. We prefer the pork one seasoned just with salt.
We were both intrigued by the ‘Chicken wing in Gyoza’ on the menu. It arrives and looks to be a beautifully golden, crispy fried chicken wing.
But then we bite into it. Oh-my! It is indeed a gyoza inside a chicken wing. It’s pork mince and garlic chive stuffed, and somehow contained, within the de-boned chicken wing. A touch of soy raises this unsuspecting little morsel to divine.
Now both feeling quite content after our little midnight snack, of course it’s only now we see the specials board that is up behind us. There’s quite a few things on there that we must eat. But tonight there will be just one more. We both swing between the Grilled Hokkaido chicken with Salt and the Delicious salmon. The decision is made, delicious salmon it is. They like to call what is indeed the most delicious part of the salmon, the belly, delicious salmon. We have had this on several occasions, usually served sashimi. This time the skin has been left on, and it’s been grilled over charcoal. The flesh is bubbling from the hot grill, there’s a nice sprinkling of salt, and the skin charred to crispy perfection. This goes brilliantly with the mountain of freshly grated daikon sitting to the side.
Okay okay, maybe just one more thing from the special board.
Today’s special dessert, Maple cheesecake. It arrives, a generous slice with a whipped cream rosette and some chocolate sauce gracing it’s presence. The cheesecake itself is oishii! The crumbly base topped with a rich, creamy and oh-so-mapley sweet baked top.
Ab-u-cha is a bakery during the day, and if this cheesecake is anything to go by, it’s going to become a regular of ours before work also ….
The little red and blue cottage at the main intersection, just beside Seicomart
Winter Season 18:00-02:00 Open Everday
Summer Season 18:00-00:00 Closed on Monday's