In the fashionable, highly polished indoor shopping and event space, Midtown, is the open-plan, glass fronted ABC cooking studio.
Here food connoisseurs can enhance their trip to Tokyo with a new skill, an addition to their culinary repertoire and perhaps an introduction to new tastes and cooking styles – I’d signed up for the one-day lesson ‘Japanese party plates’.
At the entrance shoes are taken off in favour of slippers and aprons are donned ready for the class to begin. Our teacher Emi is fluent in English with a faint Australian twang. As Emi explains the menu, she tells us that we will be making popular dishes in Japanese cuisine but that it’s a menu designed to suit western tastes; this also means it’s possible to buy the ingredients and replicate the menu back at home.
The class seems – almost guiltily – virtually effortless, with every step set up and explained simply; the preparation and cooking process is amazingly clean and efficient.
We are shown how to create elegant sushi, with tuna, cucumber and cream cheese in the middle, rolled in the seaweed sheet, with the sesame rice rolled around the outside, then wrapped in strips of smoked salmon. After the roll is sliced, the sushi is finally delicately topped with salmon roe. It’s the most indulgent sushi I’ve tried, which is possibly why it’s so perfect for serving up to your party guests.
The second dish on the menu is chicken teriyaki. This popular dish is surprisingly easy to make, and utterly irresistible with its sweet and spicy flavoursome teriyaki sauce. The chicken is arranged on top of the accompanying chilli peppers and leeks.
As an additional side dish, we make a healthy wakame seaweed soup, and for dessert traditional Shiratama mochi balls with sweet bean jam in a green tea soup.
In Japan everyone helps with the clean-up, but since there’s so little mess, we’re sitting down in no time for the best part of the lesson; eating our own culinary creations. The dishes look and taste sensational. Written recipes are given to each student to take home, leaving no excuse not to try the recipes at your own Japanese dinner party.
Each class is an hour and a half, and costs ¥5000. Classes can be booked for two or more people.