The deli with a dif­fer­ence

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

KI­NOKO DELI Shop 8, Trafal­gar on Collins, 110 Collins St Open Mon­day to Satur­day 9am- 5pm Un­li­censed, 6223 6519

KI­NOKO is Ho­bart’s first Ja­panese deli and spe­cialty gro­cery store since David Quon’s lit­tle place in Sala­manca back in the 1980s.

It is also a Ja­panese take­away of­fer­ing a much more in­ter­est­ing and di­verse range of foods than is avail­able in the many lunchtime sushi es­tab­lish­ments around the CBD.

Opened in Novem­ber, its shelves are stacked high with Ja­panese lol­lies; miso pastes; bonito and dashi stocks; red bean pan­cakes with chest­nuts; roasted, shred­ded and pow­dered nori and other seaweeds; a range of pick­les and rel­ishes; green and bar­ley teas; dif­fer­ent rice va­ri­eties; beers; plum wines; and sev­eral sakes, in­clud­ing sake kasu, made from sake lees and tra­di­tion­ally used as a healthy, warm­ing ad­di­tion to miso soup.

It’s also one of the few places in Ho­bart of­fer­ing pure wasabi pow­der, the lat­est prod­uct from the Shima pro­duc­ers in north­ern Tas­ma­nia.

The freezer sec­tion of­fers a se­lec­tion of fish roes, soused mack­erels, sausages, dumpling skins and even Ja­panese ice creams.

With such a well- stocked pantry for the kitchen to draw on, it’s not sur­pris­ing the bain- marie of­fer­ings change and are pre­pared daily with each day’s menu posted on the deli’s Face­book page.

It is from the day’s se­lec­tion of hot and cold dishes, sal­ads, soups and a choice of white, brown and mixed fried rices, that you make up your own “bento box” – $ 12 for a main dish, two sal­ads and rice; $ 16 for two mains, two sal­ads and rice, or your se­lec­tion of in­di­vid­u­ally priced items.

On the day I vis­ited, there was chicken

four ways – deep fried with house- made BBQ sauce, mar­i­nated with san­sho pep­per, teriyaki chicken and fried chicken called karaage served with an eggy, Ja­panese take on tartare sauce.

Ac­com­pa­ni­ments in­cluded a very re­fresh­ing cu­cum­ber salad with roasted se­same and ponzu mari­nade, a ba­sic shred­ded car­rot salad with white se­same seeds, plus their most pop­u­lar dish – a salad of soba noo­dles with kombu and se­same dress­ing.

There was also veg­e­tar­ian gy­oza served with pick­les and, best of all, the ap­pro­pri­ately named and all- time favourite Ja­panese snack called okonomiyaki – es­sen­tially a cab­bage pancake with “okonomi” mean­ing “favourite”.

A lunch of okonomiyaki plus some house­made tem­pura sea­weed as a crunchy nib­ble spiced up with the kitchen’s love- it- or- hate- it ( I loved it) paste made from pound­ing dried nori to­gether with su­gar, sake and soy sauce, as served by the de­light­ful, smil­ing Tomoko, is suf­fi­ciently evoca­tive of the cherry blos­soms of Ja­pan to brighten up any­one’s win­ter day.

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