It has been a long while since my last dinner at Aoyama and since we wanted to go to Daiso, we went there for dinner. In my last post, I mentioned that they had a dinner special for $14.95, which included a selection of entrée, a salad, and a tea/coffee. Now, it changed to $15.95! We still ended up getting this in the end though. Since it was a Wednesday, the selection of entree was from the baked rice casserole section.
The salad that came with the deal was alright. The dressing was the Japanese vinegarette type, which I liked, but the weird mix of iceberg lettuce and other greens wasn't that fresh. There was some browning on the edges of the lettuce, and I found it a bit weird that it came with a slice of pineapple.
I ordered the seafood casserole (reg $13.95), which was really different from the Hong Kong cha chaan teng style. I really liked it because it was smothered in mozzarella before baking, resulting in the cheesiest baked seafood rice I've ever had. Seriously good stuff. There was a lot of different seafood in the dish as well, including squid, shrimp, a mussel, and scallop. I didn't like that they had a lot of mushrooms though -- mind you, I love mushrooms, especially with cream based things, but they used canned mushrooms here and it was overly salty.
The rice itself was first cooked with curry powder and pureed carrots. I don't know the point of the carrots, but I think the curry powder helped the rice stay in shape. What I mean by that is: usually the rice in these baked casseroles can get soggy and overly mushy as the grains fall apart. Here, all the grains stayed pretty much intact and didn't turn into mush. (Is this why cha chaan tengs "炒底" or stir fry the rice with egg prior to baking?) Despite the use of curry, the flavour is very, very mild and there is just a bit of fragrant flavour and warm feeling from it.
My mother got the unagi baked rice casserole (reg. $13.95). It was pretty similar to my casserole, except it didn't have any seafood and instead had a strip of unagi on top. The unagi was topped with the typical sauce, as well as seaweed. She liked the sauce with the unagi since it kind of covered the taste of the cheese for her. (She doesn't like cheese).
Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee)
1008-4151 Hazelbridge Way