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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Amalfi (アマルフィ)

Before paying our respects at our family grave site and visiting the local temple in Yawatahama, my relatives in Japan took my brother, mother, and I to an Italian restaurant in the heart of Yawatahama called Amalfi. I wanted to share this experience with you as our meal showcased not only the Japanese's twist on Italian food, but also some of the local ingredients of Shikoku. Their attention to detail and ability to express a lot of flavor in small portion sizes were two things I was very impressed with.

Despite it being the lunch hour, our meal was a multi-course extravaganza. I think a lot of restaurants back in the states could learn a thing or two about portion control from places in Japan like Amalfi. This was a five course meal that managed to stay light!

We started out with an amuse-bouche of a warm potato cream soup with a thin savory crisp skewered on top with a side of a house parmesan cream cheese. The potato soup was pleasantly creamy and without any sort of graininess that sometimes happens with potato soup. I was impressed with how they managed to serve it piping hot as I've had amuse-bouches arrive lukewarm by the time they are done plating, and all of ours arrived at once. There was not a large staff by any means, so that meant they worked like lightning!

The second course was a sprout salad that I also enjoyed. I've written recently on how much I'm not a fan of both spaghetti and salad, but this one was easy to eat and not bitter at all like some sprout salads can be. This one was very light and fresh!

The main course of pasta we tried the pork pasta (see right) and the ebi (shrimp) pasta (see first photo). I wish I spoke enough Japanese to ask them what sort of sauces they were dressed with besides the obvious that the ebi was tomato-based. Both pastas were cooked exactly al dente and I thought the shape of the pasta was very fitting as the wider pasta complimented the pork very well, while the thinner pasta for the ebi pasta's sauce also went well.

After that, another tiny course of fresh strawberry jam and cream on a spoon.This was not even a mouthful, the whole thing was about the size of the tip of my thumb! It was almost like a sweet and tangy palate cleanser before dessert was served.

Lastly, but my personal favorite, was the dessert course. They brought out a mikan dessert! I was so happy to have something traditionally local displayed in such a fantastic manner. In a martini glass, they layered cake crumbs, mikan ice cream, and a mikan granita (or perhaps sherbet) sandwiched between two amazingly thin slices of dried mikan. It was cool, tasty, trendy and different while paying homage to what was in season and locally produced.

Side view of the dessert, my mother's was without the crumbs
 Amalfi (アマルフィ)
1460-71 Showadori Yawatahama Ehime
愛媛県 八幡浜市 昭和通 1460-71 1F 

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