Trying new foods can be quite a challenge. But it’s usually the new foods that leave an impact. When you come across something new that tastes great, it feels like you just made an astonishing discovery. However, this doesn’t happen often and the last time I can recall something like this happening to me was when I had a kebab sandwich, two years ago. Two years later, again, I came across a dish that was far beyond my imagination and instantly became one of my favorite foods. It was yaki-curry, or baked curry, that I had at Hi no Ataru Basho (Where the Sun Shines) in Mojiko, Kitakyushu.
The restaurant is located across the street on the left hand side after exiting JR Kyushu Mojiko Station. You can get there from Fukuoka City by taking the Kagoshima Line from Hakata or Kokura. The restaurant has a large red sign in Japanese that is really hard to miss. At first sight, my expectations weren’t so high because the sign was worn down quite badly. And the building itself didn’t look so clean from the outside. But this low expectation actually played out positively since everything after this was a series of surprises.
The restaurant is on the seventh floor. After stepping out of the elevator, the restaurant was right in front of me. I don’t know if it’s usually busy but when I went there on a Friday and it wasn’t crowded at all. Upon entering the restaurant, you notice that except for on the entrance side, glass walls surround you. Depending on the side you sit on you can get an ocean view, a city view, or both. The atmosphere is very classy and French-restaurant like. It seemed like a place where you would find a record player in a corner with either jazz or classic music playing in the background.
It wasn’t only the atmosphere that was classy. When they brought the water, the glass was a wine glass and the water bottle was made from glass and with a retro and classy design. I wanted to try the baked curry so I ordered the baked curry set, which came with a salad and a soup. The salad and soup came less than five minutes after ordering. I wanted to eat the curry first so I waited for my curry before eating the salad and soup. The ten-minute wait didn’t seem long at all because I could enjoy the view of the sea and the town. The curry came in a baking pan and was different from what I had expected. Japanese curry is usually served with rice on one side of the plate and curry on the other side, but the baked curry was covered in curry and baked cheese. I took a bite and I couldn’t stop smiling. It surpassed my imagination. It was a combination of rice flavored with demi-glace sauce, curry, which provided a little spice, and baked cheese, which gave it a mild texture. It wasn’t just the curry that surprised me. The pumpkin soup, served cold, was also great. I recommend eating half of the curry first and then having the soup. The spiciness left in your mouth will make the soup taste sweeter and the curry will taste great again after refreshing your taste buds with something sweet.
The set cost 1,500 yen, which is pricey for lunch, but I was completely satisfied with the meal. It was my first time having baked curry so I can’t really speak for other restaurants that serve it but I would definitely recommend trying baked curry at Hi no Ataru Basho.
Name in Japanese
陽のあたる場所—hinoatarubasho—Hi no Ataru Basho