We take a while to get to the hotel. We eventually learn it’s hella easy to get there but the tourist booth girl gave us more complicated instructions. However, the place is sick. Sapporo Cross is recessed from the street. It’s not at the same line as the other buildings so we miss it initially. It is however, tres chic and probably like the bestest hotel I’ve stayed at like ever. I never do 5 stars just so you know. This is already like coolest and bestest, with it’s LCD tv, laminate finish interiors, sliding bathroom door, clean modern lines and so much space for a Japanese city centre hotel. We even have a sofa and poufs and the lobby has a smattering of designer pieces.

Dinnertime! We head to Susukino, a shopping district where I put down 3 different places. The first one is a sushi shop which I couldn’t quite find. The third one a tonkatsu place and the 2nd, we found, a wonderful little washoku place. Pretty much a kaiseki fixed menu, no a la carte whatsoever at 4800 yen. Pricey but totes worth. This was arguably the meal of the trip for me. Whilst I really appreciated the intricate detailing, knifework and precision cooking, at times I wondered why the plate needed to have that much eye candy. Instead of what I’m used to, which is pretty much single dish after single dish, some of the single courses had like anywhere from 3 to 6 different bite sized dishes. Which is totally awesome because everything is superb. The quality of the ingredients is really good and the cooking is just spot on. It’s not amazing to the point of top 5 meals in my life status but it’s defo top 10. I just imagine what dining at a place like Kitcho could be if this small little place in Sapporo is this good. I’ll start planning my Honshu trip I guess.

The name of the place is 美味道楽 まめはな, Mamehana and it specializes in tofu I think. There’s this illuminated poster on the outside that’s faded away showing soy beans and stuff. Inside is a cosy little space with a chef behind a counter. We get ushered upstairs and thankfully for us, the waitress speaks perfect English. We get some Sapporo Draft and Asahi whilst we wait for the feast to begin. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but this place was one of the places that I really wanted to go to and fortunately, my expectations were met and surpassed.

First course. This tofu mixed with sesame that had a pasty texture and delightful flavor. As my dad puts it, it looks like spring. That little pink ball is plum whilst the red one is ikura. Light soy dashi broth is clean and delicious. Really good starter.

The chef actually has a shitload of different plates behind him at the counter. I only noticed as I was leaving but this dish probably makes really good use of it. I’m 100% of all the dishes but that little brush thing is burdock root. The prawn sits on fishcake. The salmon is wrapped in perfectly cut daikon, the asparagus comes with a creamy dip. The yellow flower is egg and there’s also like fish and tofu. The flavors are all very very spring.

Ooh yea. Sashimi course. Hidden under the insane intricacy of those vegetable cranes (I don’t know what the yellow one is) is the sweetest prawn ever plus ark shell that was awesome, nice white fish, salmon and a scallop. The amaebi is insane. The little dish has some shiso konnyaku jelly and the dish came with some shredded daikon and soy of course. Almost forgot the awesome wasabi, which was fresh ground and delicious!

Soup course. It’s a plum soup! With dango, mushroom, carrots in 2 shades, tof shredded radish in suspension and that little red gloop is a plum gel. To me this dish showcase the just how refined the flavors of the meal were.

Braised bamboo shoots crusted in peppers serve with a super sweet green bean, prawn and naruto! Nice bite on the perfectly cooked bamboo and the crusty bits give it a touch of interest. Together, the dish is really good.

My fave of the night. Conch that is ooh yea! Pull dat sucker out and mmmhmmm. The juice from the shell oooh. It comes with rice served inside a bamboo shoot tip, braised mushroom, cute lil painted quail’s egg and this umai pumpkin cake.

Tempura course. Served with some matcha salt, the fried crackers aren’t that great but the tempura is. It’s probably the weakest course of the night but still beautifully fried and trust me I know my fried shit working that section all day errday. My fave is the shishito pepper.

Sushi! I can’t remember the first fish but there’s tuna and squid plus the eggroll. Egg roll is beauts and that little cherry tomato is one of Hokkaido’s best things ever imo. So sweet and grape-esque, we would have many more from our hotel breakfast and everytime I see it in supermarkets I feel like buying a box. The squid on the plate? That is sick.

Chawanmushi and more konnyaku I think. The egg custard is so delicate.

Dessert! Strawberry with cream, choc cigar and mint leaf, simple. Orange segment. Plum jelly with the pink plum balls  that is the best thing on the plate. Yubari melon ice cream daifuku at the back with a blueberry. The melon flavor is good but I mean, this is Yubari melon country, the minimum is good.

Overall, the experience was awesome. Really delicate and light flavors. Nothing heavy in the slightest and the best parts for me were the conch dish and the tofu that featured in the first, second and soup courses. That stuff was pretty unique in my opinion, not something you’d see in any other Japanese restaurant so much. Each tofu was not just your straight up silky smooth or whatever. Instead, it was complex in texture, something I didn’t necessarily think of if I think tofu. That’s probably a big eye opener for me.

I totally recommend this little place if you ever go to Sapporo.

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