Paprika" has a unique aroma and delicious texture. The colors that come to mind are bright red and yellow, but the cream-colored variety is also popular in Hungary, the birthplace of its name. You can taste it at AZ Finom in Jingumae, Tokyo.
AZ Finom is located between Meiji Jingu Shrine and Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, a short walk from the Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) or Gaien subway stations. It is located on the basement floor of a small building in the middle of a street of houses, restaurants, and cafes.
The entrance is cozy, but the interior is spacious. The atmosphere is somewhat old-fashioned, but you can enjoy your meal in a relaxed atmosphere. Lunches range from 900 yen to 1,000 yen (including tax, the same applies below) with salad and tea, but you can also add soup and dessert if you like. This time, I thought I'd put everything on the menu, and just barely managed to squeeze in a few extras, so I paid 2,100 yen.
The characteristic of the Hungarian cuisine here is the abundant use of paprika. The most eye-catching is the rare cream-colored variety. It is not widely distributed in Japan, and is only served at the Hungarian Embassy.
Other ingredients such as paprika, which is hot like pepper, and paprika powder, which gives the dish a vivid color, are used sparingly in everything from salads to soups and main dishes.
Raw vegetables? A dipping dish? Mysterious Salad
The salad is sweet and sour chopped cabbage. You can taste both the freshness of the raw vegetables and the flavor of the pickled vegetables.
In Japanese cuisine, it is like vinegared vegetables or namasu, but crunchy and firm. The sourness and sweetness comes from the generous amount of pickling liquid, but it does not sink too deeply into the vegetables themselves.
The creamy paprika, sliced into rounds, was placed on top of the plate, giving it a fresh aroma and crunchy texture. It has no bitterness or pungency, making it a perfect addition to the salad. It makes a nice accent when eaten with the sweet and sour cabbage.
The next soup was the traditional Hungarian "gyás". It is colored red with paprika powder.
At first, I thought it would be a light dish, but when I dipped my spoon into it, I found that it was filled with small pieces of beef. The aroma and flavor of the meat is rich. The potatoes and carrots were also cut into small pieces, but no matter how much you scooped out, there was always enough to go around. At first, I didn't notice it because it was in a deep dish, but the overall volume was quite large.
On the edge of the dish was another slice of raw paprika, this time green. This time, however, it was green. When I bit into it, it was spicy. It is somewhere between hot pepper and shishito pepper, and when you taste it with the rich soup, it becomes a spice.
page The main dish is also full of paprika.
Chicken Ragout Bacconi Style
The main dish was "Chicken Ragout Bacony Style". Bacony is the name of a place in Hungary. It is a thick stew of chicken meat, bacon, and shimeji mushrooms. It is still colored with paprika, but not red, but a bright orange.
Next to it was a chewy pasta or gnocchi-like dish. And in front of it is creamy fresh paprika. I'm always happy to see them again and again.
The ragout has a lightly salted chicken meat and a more salty bacon, which can be eaten separately to enjoy the difference or together to appreciate the complex flavors. The pasta was perfect for dipping in the ragù sauce. The shimeji mushrooms were left crispy and interestingly crunchy.
Incidentally, there is a layer of sour cream underneath the fresh paprika to ease the richness of the ragù.
The cake is a traditional pastry called "Shomroy Galushka". It is a sponge covered with a pudding-like pastry and covered with chocolate sauce.
The sauce is thick, the pudding is chunky, and the sponge is moist, each with a different texture that can be eaten in one bite or separately. The raisins, walnuts, and cream on the side are also a bit exotic.
The tea at the end of the meal was served in a beautiful tea cup. It seemed to be made in Hungary. The milk jug and the sugar pot are both elegantly designed, and I felt like an aristocrat when I touched them. The teacups and saucers also have a chic design. The teacups and saucers are also chic in design and match the calm interior of the store.
From the food to the sweets, all of them were full of exoticism, and it was a time when I felt as if I had just wandered off to Eastern Europe while still in Japan, basking in the comfortable atmosphere.
AZUMA Building B1F, 2-19-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo