Wednesday, 11 April 2007 by kinakoJam
On Erik's birthday we had the use of his dad's 4WD, so we took the chance to drive out to Düsseldorf. As I've mentioned on here before, D-dorf has one of the highest Japanese populations in Europe at somewhere around 11,000. And I must say it is very nice to go to the comfy unpretentious eateries out there especially early on a spring Saturday when the places are just filled with Japanese families, neighbourhood vibe.
And yes, as you'd expect, there are a fair few Japanophilic Germans around and about - from the pro-level, probably spent time in Japan as a kid, totally fluent and apt to act the buffoon to be the centre of attention type, to the role-playing game/goth/harajuku hybrid german teenagers floating around the Purikura photo booth in the Japanese bookstore...
The cool thing about the existence of German-Japano cultural relations (and of course biracial marital relations) is that speaking Japanese is treated totally normally in D-dorf, and doesn't warrant any embarressing half-meant outbursts.
We had a mid-afternoon snack at Relax Café - one of three excellent places on Immermanstrasse, opposite the Hotel Nikko and the Japanese Consulate: all three restaurants owned by the same company.
(Anyone else thinking of Auckland's Japanese restaurant eatery mogul and ex-olympic Judo competitor Rick Littlewood who has three restaurants within 10 metres of each other? Seems to be a good business model because if one is too full, they can send customers to the others)
No, Relax is not a 'proper' Japanese restaurant: but it is pretty authentic to the type of fusion bistro cafe type place u might come across in a quiet Japanese suburb. The music was Beyonce and Erykah Badhu. They had a selection of knick knacks to buy by the door. And the menu is all comfort food like Korean-isch meat dishes, pork curry and ome-raisu. Plus a really great selection of elegant modern-Japanese-homemaker style cakes like Earl Grey Tea chiffon and Chai Mousse.
It was the first time to eat there apart from cake, (still have to try those soya puddings), and it was pretty good. About 8 euros for the Karubi beef which we shared: perfect kimchi and very good with the rocket adding another type of fresh spiciness. The beef was a tiny bit on the chewy side but extremely tasty & juicy.
The matcha green tea latte was very good, the cream on top authentically unsubstantial and sugar-fake tasting and the two sweet dried chilli on top were a nice touch...
Relax Bar & Café
Tel: (0211) 1795653