Lunch @ Obana 尾花 (Tokyo, Japan)

March 7, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

And no trip to Japan is complete without a meal of grilled sea eel (unagi)! =)

However, having troubled my hotel to make several restaurant reservations, I decided to head down to one where I could simply walk in. And Obana was one such restaurant. In fact, Michelin-starred Obana does not take any reservation.

Obana was a 10 to 12 minutes walk from Minami-Senju metro station. Even though I was using google map on my mobile, I got a little confused. But as a guide, one would be walking on the road beside the train track to get to Obana. Once one is on that road, one would see directional stickers of Obana stuck on the lamp posts. But it was really the aroma of the grilled sea eel which assured me that I was on the right track.

After entering through the gate, one would need to join the queue where customers lined by sitting on benches which were placed to form a big U. As it was still winter, the queueing customers weren’t forming a proper line. Instead, they were gathering in front of the portable heaters. But thankfully Obana had staff coming out from time to time to ‘check’ on customers who had newly joined the queue. And it’s to this staff that we inform the size of our dining group.

And when it is one’s turn to be seated, the staff would come out and inform. I arrived at 12pm and was shown into the restaurant within 30 minutes. Upon entering, I was given a number tag. This number tag was what’s used to identify my shoes which I had to remove before entering the seating area.

Once I sat at my (tatami) seat, I was given the menu. And everything was ‘fast, fast, fast’; Barely 2 minutes and the staff was kneeling beside me, waiting to take my order. And from the menu (pages 1, 2), I ordered:-

1) Umaki, ¥2400 (above) – Grilled eel wrapped in omelet. This was simply wonderful! Served piping hot, the omelette that wrapped the grilled eel was very fluffy and moist. A must order.

2) Shirayaki, ¥4300 (above) – Plain grilled eel with soy sauce and wasabi (horseradish).

3) Unaju, ¥4300 (medium) (above) – Grilled eel with teriyaki sauce on a bed of rice.. Serving was generous. I can’t imagine how large would have looked like.

4) Kimosui, ¥400 (above) – Clear soup with eel liver. I simply had to order this because I noticed every local ordered the soup to go with their sea eel-rice set. It’s as though these 2 dishes were to be consumed together. Peer Customer pressure? Keke.

My verdict? Highly recommended! It may be a little far for those staying in areas like Shinjuku. But hey! I say Obana is still easily accessible as they are located within walking distance from the nearest metro station.

Do order the yakitori (traditional Japanese grilled chicken) from the menu too. My neighboring tables ordered it, and the chunky pieces of heavily marinated chicken looked so good! I would have ordered some to try if I had stomach space left. Only con of travelling alone. Stomach space too small to try many stuff.

5-33-1 Minamisenju, Arakawa, Tokyo, Japan (東京都 荒川区 南千住 5-33-1)
+81 3 3801 4670, Tablelog
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 11:30 – 13:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sun : 16:00 – 19:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

UPDATE 1: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2018.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2019.