Thursday, June 4, 2015

Travel | Hokkaido mid-May 2015 | Soup Curry Lavi & Lamb Dining Okurayama ラムダイニング大倉山

Last visited Japan in 2009 winter and that was my first flight ever. Six years later, am at Hokkaido 北海道 to enjoy spring and some of the best that nature has to offer. Read more on travel preparation and some pre-trip anxiety here. Possibly mid-life crisis.

Landed in Haneda, then to New Chitose and finally arrived at Sapporo Station. It was a good thing that New Century Royal Hotel is within 5 minutes walk to Sapporo Station. Everything that I needed, was there.

Soup curry was one of the dishes that I wanted to try, and conveniently, there's one nearby so off to ESTA for lunch! The place is called Soup Curry Lavi and may not be the best in town, but it scored points for its easy access.

The place was actually quite packed during lunch time. Put your name down on the small white board near its entrance, and with that you've joined the queue. Then, sit at the chair lined up at the entrance and wait patiently to be called.

To order, choose the soup curry that interests you. Then indicate the spice level (1 to 50) and choose the amount of rice you'd like. For lunch, a drink is thrown in as 'service' which meant one gets a complimentary drink.

Using my limited edition of Japanese vocab, managed to order myself a bowl of deer meat soup curry of spice level 5, small rice and a glass of orange juice. Total cost of about SGD16.

Deer meat soup curry エゾシカto野菜カレー @ ¥1430

Spice level 5 was simply too mild. Probably level 15 might be better. The soup curry was watery and definitely not the curry that we are accustomed to. Very gentle spices and drinkable. Initially thought the pumpkin and broccoli were'chaotar' but its charred smokey taste would grow on you gradually.

closer view

Was surprised that the service staff spoke to a guy whom sat beside me in halting English, and explained the menu ever so carefully. Was pretty rare to hear English in Sapporo, so made small talk with one who could. Frank from Taiwan, and a frequent traveller. Often shuttling between Germany and Taiwan, and had visited many places in Japan. At 33 years old, he said he's old (!!) and thinks that Samsung S6 Edge is quite a challenge to design. Frank made lunch hour quite interesting after all.

Had arranged to join a local tour, and as part of the tour, dinner of Jingisukan (lamb BBQ) would be provided. Sweet.

Read more on the Mount Moiwa and Mount Okura Night Tour here. Made another acquaintance during the tour as we were the only two non-Japanese in the group. Daisy is from Taiwan and so, we became best buddy for the night. Found out that she'd be travelling to Tokyo after she's done with Sapporo.

Dinner place was at the restaurant beside Mount Okura Ski Jump, called Lamb DIning Okurayama. It was a 70 minutes all-you-can-eat lamb Genghis Khan and vegetables + small rice + 1 mug of beer. Genghis Khan or Jingisukan ジンギスカン is a Japanese grilled lamb dish that's popular in Hokkaido.

dinner for 1 pax
stacks of lamb slices

To start, one needs to oil the grill with a piece of lard.

move the lard around to oil the grill evenly
let it sizzle

The lamb slices were all unmarinated, so do dip it into the sauce provided or add salt according to taste. The lamb has plenty of fats, so after a while, it got pretty oily!

enjoy the small mug of Sapporo beer while the grill action is ongoing
let's eat いただきます
It was actually quite alot of meat and plenty of vegetables. The portion meant for one pax was something that two can definitely share to eat and still be full. The lamb was not as tender as I thought it might be, and it doesn't have any gamey smell.

A small dessert of vanilla ice-cream was part of the dinner course as well.


Here's the view outside the restaurant:

viewing point

Nice night view with the city lights all up against the dark sky. Good thing with bus tour is that we are all transported safely back to Sapporo Bus Terminal in comfort. The bus heating was so good that it felt hot in there. Night time temperature, especially at the mountains were below 10 degrees celcius.


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