Today a long-held dream came true: I was taken to dinner at one of Kobe’s premier hillside restaurants, a venerable institution that originally opened in 1932 to cater to spoiled gaijin traders, and that still holds quite an exclusive image to most Kobe-ites. (I used to walk by it when I was a young ‘un, and sigh to myself at the knowledge that I’d never be rich and/or well-connected enough to dine there.) Now I wish that this particular dream had never come true. In fact, if I could wave a magic wand, I would wish it all away.
Okay, it wasn’t all bad, and a couple of things impressed me: for example, the structure of the building itself, undamaged by the quake, and the service, provided by savvy young things in smart white aprons, were both superb. But the food … was absolutely hideous. In parts it was almost inedible. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s like they took a boarding school cook from 1932 Great Britain and transported her to 2009 Kobe. Yes, it was that bad. I won’t go into detail, except to say that my lamb chops had obviously been killed twice: the first time while being slaughtered, and the second time while being cooked.
And you don’t want to know what they did to my shredded cabbage. Let’s just say that it was a slow and lingering death, possibly at the hands of sauerkraut manufacturers.
The dessert was adequate, but you tend to get jaded in Kobe, where people are fussy about their sweets. The coffee I’ll admit was excellent, but perhaps by then I was feeling bitter enough for it to taste sweet in comparison.
Oh, how I wish I’d stuck to walking past the place and dreaming about it, as I did so often in my youth. Is this going the be the story of my life? Disappointment after disappointment?