I love restaurants that transport you to a different place and make you forget where you are, where you enjoy your drinks and food so much that you lose track of time. So it is with Magokoro, taking you to the gentler, mannered world of Japan.
The graceful owner, Xing, had lived in Japan for many years. During that time, she taught herself the art of Japanese home cooking and often entertained guests at home. She said, “Many people think Japanese food is all about sashimi, but Japanese people never eat that at home. I want to show people what real Japanese home cooking is about.” As we will learn, it is food that warms your soul and makes you feel like someone cares about you.
Take Green Beans in Sesame Sauce (38RMB) for example, the crisp and crunchy beans were covered in a thick sesame sauce with an intense sesame flavor. They make their own sesame sauce by washing the seeds, stir frying until dry and then grinding. It’s a laborious process, but it’s the only way to bring out the fragrance of the sesame seeds and it fills you with a deep appreciation for the care that went into the food you are eating.
Pan-fried Lotus Root with Cheese (38RMB) was something quite unique, the pure natural taste of lotus root coming through, lightly seasoned and crispy without any oiliness. The processed cheese on top didn’t have the typical plastic taste. It tasted like Cheez Whiz, which is a good thing. Nagoya Chicken Wings (48RMB) had a crunchy shell hiding an explosion of juice and it was finger-licking good. These snacks would go great with the specialty beers and Japanese liquors at Magokoro. We tried an osmanthus flower beer made by a Hangzhou brewery called Taste Room and it was very nice to drink, similar to Belgian white beer.
We sat around a table while Xing prepared Sukiyaki (288RMB for 2-3 person, 448RMB for 4-6 person) for us. First leeks were fried until golden, then marbled slices of AAA Canadian beef were added along with some sweet salty sukiyaki sauce. The sizzling sound and delicious aroma swirled around us while we eagerly waited. Then Xing placed some cooked beef in our bowls and we ate it with raw beaten egg which brought out the sweetness in the meat and made the taste softer. It was fantastic. After the beef was eaten, the rest of the vegetables go in.
For special occasions, there are 2 private rooms where Xing will design a menu for you and she will also cook the meal herself. Now that would be a real treat!
Cooking and baking classes (180, 280, 380RMB) are also given on the premises. Upcoming lessons in January for Japanese home cooking, French buckwheat crepes, quiche and more.