Vodacoa is a small and cozy restaurant in the streets of Awajimachi in center Osaka. I’ve passed through this shop several times and never fail to see full patronage during lunch time. It was about 11:30am when I came here for lunch and there was already a couple sitting in one of the tables. Vodacoa’s exterior does not stand out at all but once you enter, you know you will not be disappointed. The interior has a stylish décor with comfy-looking tables and chairs.
As I settled down into my seat, I noticed a big board hanging on top of the kitchen counter, with the words “Cook Note” on it. You would think that the “Cook Note” shows the menu or specials of the day, but it actually displays the names of the farms where the vegetables are freshly harvested that go into the daily menu. The proprietor is a certified “Vegetable Sommelier”, yes, in Japan the term “Sommelier” is not used only for wine experts, but other fields of expertise as well!
Vodacoa offers several daily lunch sets and ala carte dishes to choose from. The most famous ones are the Special lunch, Pasta Lunch and Salad Lunch sets. Special lunch is priced at 1000 yen, comes with a soup, salad, bread and a daily main dish of fish or meat. Pasta Lunch (850 yen) is pasta of the day with soup, salad and bread whilst Salad Lunch (900yen) comes with a Caesar salad with soup and bread.
I decided to go for the Special Lunch set. I was wondering how my special lunch would be when the soup came followed by the salad and bread. The soup of the day was a vegetable soup, with chunks or carrots and onions. The salad was mostly lettuce and thin slices of carrots with a vinegar and olive oil based dressing. The soup and salad were not heavily seasoned and this brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables, simple and nice. Vodacoa serves Focaccia that is freshly baked from the oven daily. The bread was slightly dry on the surface but soft and fluffy in the inside. But frankly, I should mention by now, I wasn’t very impressed yet …expecting something more “special” from the sommelier!
Fortunately, my disappointment didn’t last for long. The main was white fish Poêlé garnished with zucchinis, potato, eggplant, radish, glazed with tomato sauce and olive oil to the perfection. Poêlé is a French classical preparation of poultry and white fish, sometimes known as butter-roasting. The fish was beautifully “roasted”, probably with olive oil rather than butter. The fish was crispy and slightly charred on the outside, firm and tasty in the inside. Simply superb! Vodacoa even went the extra mile by removing all the bones from the fish. The fresh vegetables and the tomato based sauce complete the masterpiece! Indeed, an excellent dish!
Vodacoa offers very healthy menus and goes the extra length to source for good quality ingredients. A lot of care is given to ensure the top class and quality of the food served. The proprietor gets fresh produce directly from the farmers around Osaka, Wakayama, Hiroshima and uses other premium ingredients such as water buffalo mozzarella cheese. Vodacoa offeres a stylish and delightful dining experience and I will surely come back for more. My next try would be the Caesar salad with water buffalo mozzarella!