「メンチカツ/エビフライ」 (Menchi Katsu/Ebi Furai)
“Minced Meat Cutlet/Fried Shrimp”
For those wondering, the Day of Satur they speak of in this show is nothing more than another way of saying Saturday. Too bad this show doesn’t air on Saturday, right? Moving on, if we take out all the fancy stuff that cannot be afforded on a daily basis like pufferfish and wagyu beef, deep fried foods are pretty much my de facto guilty pleasure. This week, deep fried foods form our culinary focus, accompanied by two new guests. One adventurous treasure hunter and one gallant knight. Can I just take a moment to say that their endeavours were certainly fruitful – Nekoya is both the ultimate treasure and a holy grail that heals the soul.
I especially like how Sarah is straight up a mature female character, something modern anime sorely lacks following on from fantastic examples like Balsa from Serei no Moribito. Her adventuring attire looked cool and practical without needing overt sexualisation to be charming. Presumably following the footsteps of her grandfather, our feisty treasure hunter proceeds onwards to discover the last great secret left to her. What should our heroine be expecting, when she ends up finding a door to another world? Why, a restaurant of course! If we ignore the fact it stoked my jealousy, seeing Sarah enjoy the fried mince cutlet was quite satisfying. Even luckier for her is how she could order plate upon plate without a care in the world. She might want to watch out though, because some flab might start developing around her midriff! It might make the difference between her survival in a tight situation where she’s ambushed by monsters, and maybe she won’t be so lucky the next time. Speaking of altercations, good thing the Dragon Queen didn’t catch Sarah casually dismissing the beef stew, otherwise we may have had some violence on our hands! Nothing Tenshu can’t stop, his threat of withdrawing culinary services making even the mightiest of warriors tremble for fear of missing out on their favourite past-time. But that’s not to say our iron-willed chef has a heart of stone, since he generously employs Aletta and gave a free cutlet sandwich to Sarah. Rather, the respect and discipline he holds regarding his trade is honestly admirable.
Heinrich sounded like he had discovered an oasis in the desert, when Tatsugoro informed him the details of how he could revisit the restaurant. Not surprising, giving the circumstances upon which he comes to Nekoya’s door, dying of starvation on a journey to save his people from the mothmen. These mothmen sound like they would need a lot more than pest control to subjugate, and if Terraformars is anything to go by, it’s no wonder reinforcements were desperately required. Anyway, it did seem pretty odd to me that Heinrich’s people were in need of saving, yet he took the time to sit down and eat Fried Shrimp. He didn’t seem to have his priorities straight, seeing how he ordered more food instead of rushing ahead on his journey. That said, I can understand the temptation, given how so many people have highly praised Tenshu’s cooking, alongside the fact that Tempura Prawns is one of my favourites even among other fried foods. I also wouldn’t know the jubilant feeling of coming back to enjoy home food, because apart from the fact that I have never lived abroad, English food is usually downright rubbish. Nonetheless, seeing Heinrich enjoy his fried shrimp made me feel really happy, because I really relate to that joy. Naturally, Heinrich must have made it back in time if he was awarded a castle for his efforts, so I doubt his delay caused anything of significant consequence.
My thoughts are that Nekoya is a comfortable paradise for those seeking good food. If every customer shed light on their back stories, tying in to the fantasy elements of the other world, we could have a truly wonderful series on our hands. Hopefully we will get more than a formulaic new customer of the week, but I understand there’s a limit to what the series can do if it has already established an easy-going tone, with the Dragon Queen declaring her protection of the restaurant. An interesting thing to note is that both Sarah and Heinrich intruded upon Nekoya with a hostile state of mind. However, Tenshu expertly diffuses the situation every single time, his no nonsense and professional attitude certainly playing a part when it came to instilling calm. This demonstrates his capacity as an owner, in addition to his skills as a chef, hallmarks I’m hoping to see more of throughout the progression of the series. A quick peek at next week tells us we will get our first dessert, and I highly anticipate what other stories it might bring.
Zaiden’s Beef Stew
A small segment that I thought would be a fun thing to do for shows like this, but here’s my attempt at the beef stew from last week! The recipe I followed was this Japanese one, for people interested. After stewing on low heat for a couple of hours, here is the result. Not going to mince my words, the beef had a strange texture ergo it was a failure. I should have gone for a more gelatinous cut, which would have yielded a much more tender result. Everything else was delicious, the potatoes and carrots having a soft but not flimsy texture, while being infused with the essence of beef . I also topped things off with my own improvisation of rice vermicelli! A delicious addition if I may say so myself and a hidden gem beneath the potato, carrots and beef.
Final Verdict: 3/10 – While the ‘stew’ aspect tasted pretty good, this dish failed because beef is the centrepiece. It is simply not allowed to fall short. The rice vermicelli doesn’t count towards the score weighting because it didn’t feature in the original depiction.