Harborland is a sort of shopper's resort paradise, it's rather like doing to the Marina Mirage area on the Spit in the Gold Coast. Lots of flash hotels and flashier department stores with wide paved avenues and a sense of quiet security on the ground floor. It's almost deserted at night lending it a slightly creepy feeling with the brightly lit ferris wheel slowly turning over head.
|From Goth Goes Otaku 2 Kobe
The only sad thing about this restaurant was that we were obviously there in the quiet time and there was only one other couple, as the waitress look dejected and started to pack up the restaurant 6 couples turned up too late... I get the impression they don't actually need the custom and make all their money during the day and summer holidays.
Obviously we were onlly there for a big slab of Kobe, but this was as rather cute bistro trying to be a French provincial restaurant and so some of the Western style options were rather nice. The wine was all locally made and the colour of cordial though so we avoided it and stuck to shochu mixes.
Kobe Beef Croquette 600 Yen
I'm a sucker for croquettes and the Japanese do wonderful ones with big crispy flakes of bread, who could turn down a meal of kobe beef croquette? Minced beef and mashed potato covered in a crunchy golden crumb and deep fried to perfection.
In Japan absolutely everything *except* beef is ridiculously cheap and so for the princely sum of 650 Yen (about $8AUD) I got the following items added to my meal as a set.
Salad with French dressing
Real bread with real dairy butter
Both are a rare commodity in Japan where all the bread looks beautiful but tastes like McDonald's sugar buns and the limited dairy industry has meant an increasing shortage on butter. After a week of margarines and soft fluffy breads this was a real god send.
Coffee (in simply delightful Noritake porcelein)
But bother all that and on to the beef!
200g Kobe Sirloin with Red Wine sauce 7500 Yen
Wanting an Aussie size steak in a Japanese restaurant drew a few blank stares from the staff and I caught the chefs peaking out to watch the boy eat it. To be honest I really think the Wagyu at home is as good or better for my tastes, the meat here is cut thin and grilled too much and lacks that melting mouth feel of aged beef. This size was too much even for the meat-mad boy who would later be ill for much of the evening due to the excessive amounts of fat in the Kobe. Nonetheless he enjoyed it at the time!
I however saw the word Foie Gras and knew what I was ordering...
Petit Fillet of Kobe and Foie Gras 3500 Yen
The small fillet was actually a much better cut for the type of meat and you could see the buyer's remorse on the boy's face as I ate mine; the thicker cut and smaller fillet leant themselves to keeping a slight moist gelatinousness to the meat. Add a red wine jus and some foie gras and I'm a happy lady, any foodie can imagine just how rich and delightful this dish was.
In all honestly I really feel as if a good marbled wagyu, or preferably for me a piece of wagyu aged beyond compare is actually better meat, but really this was certainly good and definitely worth the experience of trying Kobe in Kobe. If you're in the area and looking for a Western style steak using Kobe beef I would definitely try this restaurant as the staff were lovely and the ambience very nice, especially as most Kobe beef restaurants only serve shabu shabu or sukiyaki this is worth a look in for the steak lover.
Incidentally though the choice of restaurants was too limited to make good blogging fare I will always recommend those wanting a Western hotel in Japan to stay at the New Otani hotels which are immaculate and reasonably priced, check prices on AsiaRooms.com for the best prices. They always have beautiful bars on the top floor with immaculate views, here is our view from the Kobe Harborland hotel.
Bistro Kobe Brand 神戸ブランド亭
Kobe Harborland Mosaic Centre
Level 2 Shop 40
1-6-1 Higashikawasaki-cho, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo 650-0044
Access Map in English
7 Days 11am to 10pm
No reservation necessary but I would get a table well before 8:30pm