Hakata Motsunabe Yamaya is a chain restaurant from Fukuoka known for both motsunabe (hotpot dish with various offal) and Fukuoka’s local specialty, karashi mentaiko (spicy cod roe). There are several branches throughout Japan, and when I was in Osaka, there happened to be a newly opened branch in Takatsuki, DH’s hometown, so we decided to give it a try.
I cannot stand the taste of innards, so we didn’t go for motsunabe, which is only offered at night. We went in the day instead to try their karashi mentaiko dishes. Their daytime operation is short, only three hours from 11 am to 2 pm. But they have a lunch offer of all-you-can-eat karashi mentaiko and rice. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a restaurant quite as generous. In case you didn’t know, mentaiko is not cheap. I could hardly bear to buy it in supermarkets when I lived in Japan.
The layout of the restaurant is simple, characteristic of Japan’s zen philosophy. Natural light steamed through the large windows, making the area spacious and airy. Large woven bamboo lamps hung above us, and we were surrounded by wooden tables and walls as we sat on our tatami seats.
I ordered a chicken karaage (deep-fried chicken) mentai flavour set. The serving was huge, with around eight large pieces of karaage paired with rice, miso soup, and pickles.
The mentaiko is mixed into the batter and deep fried together with the chicken, and gave the chicken a rich, aromatic flavour. It went very well with the fresh cabbages drizzled with yuzu sauce, which balanced out the intense piquancy of the mentaiko with its refreshing taste.
The free-flow mentaiko comes in a covered bowl, and was already laid out on the table. The plump, savoury mentaiko, a tad too rich and salty on its own, is a heavenly match with plain white rice. For big eaters, this is the place made for you. Why, you ask? All-you-can-eat karachi mentaiko and rice! Wouldn’t you agree that it is one of life’s greatest pleasures to be able to eat an endless flow of karashi mentaiko and white rice till you are fully satisfied?
Hakata Motsunabe Yamaya Vierra Takatsuki
Address: Japan, 〒569-1116 Osaka, Takatsuki, Hakubaicho, 1−番4号 3F
Opening hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 11pm Daily