Posted by: Food Lover | February 12, 2018

Japa Bowl Shares Their Favs!

Last night’s Off The Menu event was a great success! An intimate group of eight joined us at Cafe Japa Bowl where the Chefs prepared their personal favourite Japanese dishes with ingredients available to them locally. This was our first event, and the feedback we got was great. We’re looking forward to doing another event in April!

Since it was such a cold evening, Japa Bowl greeted us with warm Macha tea. Once we had warmed up they served a lovely sake, welcoming us with an overflow pour. The sake cups (called ochoko) are placed into a wooden Masu box. The sake is poured until it overflows into the box. This is a traditional way to show appreciation and express generosity. It is also an act of celebration, suggesting we should live in the moment, and enjoy the fleeting moment being shared.


An ochoko in a wooden masu box filled with sake!

We started with an amuse bouche – marinated lotus root.  We love this dish, it is actually made from the stem of the lotus flower. It has a crisp taste and texture similar to jicama.

lotus root

Marinated Lotus Root

The spicy salad was served with an option of pork belly or marinated beef. Here they let their love of Korean cuisine come through with the tasty dressing.


Spicy Pork Salad

Next, we were served a delicate buttered scallop with red pepper and green onion. In Asian cuisine, the scallop is served with more of it left intact. A couple of our dinner guests found this off-putting at first, but they were brave and tried it – and loved it! That’s part of what these Off The Menu events are intended to do – introduce people to new things, give them a chance to learn, and push their boundaries!


Buttered Scallop

This was followed up with tempura kake and shrimp. Kake refers to a mix of vegetable strips which are fried in tempura batter. It’s very popular in Japanese homes, where it is often a way to use up vegetables to prevent food waste. A favourite comfort food for many, reminding them of home.


Kake and Shrimp Tempura

We were thrilled to be served soba style ramen noodles, which is a personal favourite of ours. The ramen noodles were served in a very rich sauce that had the heat of wasabi contrasted with a delicious sweetness. This was served with nori (roasted seaweed) and green onion. This is a much-loved summer dish in Japan as the broth is served cold. Rumour has it this will make an appearance on their menu come spring.


Soba Style Ramen in Sweet Wasabi Sauce

Chicken karaage made the menu by popular request! Delicious, moist chicken in a marvelous crispy batter with a mildly spicy, creamy sauce.

chicken - karaage.jpg

Karaage Chicken

Our first dessert was a warm bowl of Zenzai-Oshiruku, a sweet red bean soup. This is a winter favorite in Japan and often served as part of New Years celebrations.



For the last dish diners had an option of ice cream: mochi, red bean or green tea. Mochi is pounded sticky rice that is wrapped around ice cream. It has an addictive soft and chewy texture.


Mochi Ice Cream

If you’d like to be invited to the next event, please DM us or send us an email at Those who get a direct invitation will get priority access, as we want to keep these events small and intimate.

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