Mr. Sato tracks down a rice omelet unlike any he had ever seen before at a small French cafe in Tokyo’s Koenji.
A rice omelet or “omuraisu,” is a widely consumed food in Japan enjoyed in both homes and restaurants. For those unfamiliar, it is made of a mound of seasoned rice, usually with something simple like ketchup and sliced hot dogs, and topped with a blanket of fried egg.
When describing the dish people would often turn to the word “fluffy” to explain its texture. However, Mr. Sato now finds that adjective woefully inadequate after having tasted a truly fluffy rice omelet. It all started when he traveled down to a little place he heard about called Ailnoir.
The restaurant was located in Tokyo’s Koenji neighborhood, but was a good ten-minute hike from JR Koenji Station. Mr. Sato had to walk past all of the shops and markets south of their station to the area’s outskirts before finding Ailnoir. He thought it was a crummy location, and yet the place was packed with people and there were even a few waiting outside to get in.
Feeling more confident that he may have stumbled upon a hidden gem of a restaurant, Mr. Sato glanced at the signs outside the cafe. There were many dishes boasting their all-natural and organic ingredients, and among them was the “Iron Plate Chicken Pilaf Rice Omelet” for 800 yen (US$7.70).
After ordering, Mr. Sato could hear the whirring sound of a mixer right up until a moment before they brought the omelet out to him.
It was amazing, and nothing like he had ever seen before. It didn’t even resemble a rice omelet. It was more like a pancake topped with whipped cream. It was ingenious and he realized that they must have kept whipping it until the last moment to keep the egg looking like a mound of freshly fallen snow.
Mr. Sato’s spoon delicately dipped into the foamy egg to reveal the chicken rice cooked in an iron pan. The parts where the foam touched the hot pan partially fried the egg assuring him that it was, in fact, egg, because otherwise he would be having a hard time believing it.
He took a mouthful of egg and rice and was blown away by the texture. This was pure fluffiness so far beyond any rice omelet he had ever eaten in his life. The egg scattered like the delicate white seeds of a dandelion and melted into the fertile soil of Mr. Sato’s mouth.
To our reporter this was like eating the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey of rice omelets. Much like the monastery he was reminded of, Mr. Sato assumed it must have taken a skilled hand to craft such a beautiful work of complex textures. For certain, Ailnoir was a hidden gem of a cafe well worth the extra leg-work to visit!
Ailnoir / アイノワール
Address: Tokyo-to, Suginamo-ku, Koenji Minami 2-37-13, Haimu Yamakawa 1st floor
東京都杉並区高円寺南2-37-13 ハイム山川 1F
Open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays and the first and third Tuesdays of each month
Original article by Mr. Sato
[ Read in Japanese ]