Release | Isao Tanaka
Enjoy Robata Kaiseki course made with Hokkaido ingredients at Robata Niseko Naniwatei
“Robata Niseko Naniwatei” opened in Kucchan-Cho Niseko at November 2016. The long-established traditional Japanese restaurant Susukino Naniwatei in Susukino which runs the business from 1962 opened a branch in Niseko to offer delicious eels and Hokkaido ingredients to people in Niseko.
The counter with ingredients of dashi - the essential element for Japanese cuisinesIt is about 2 hours drive from central Sapporo to “Robata Niseko Naniwatei”. The restaurant is conveniently located within 10 mins drive from Hilton Niseko Village and major tourist destinations such as Niseko Takahashi Farm.
▲The small curtain is the sign of the restaurant surrounded by trees.
There are 34 seats, so the restaurant is not big but is spacious.
I found something unique on the counter where the chef displays seasonal vegetables.
“Those are ingredients for the dashi broth such as dried bonito and kelp. We have many guests from abroad, especially during winter, so we use these to explain about dashi broth.
Our Robata Kaiseki course starts with dashi soup we call ‘natural springs dashi’.” The manager of Naniwatei Hiroharu Murai told me.
▲“The Murai Brothers” are well-known in Hokkaido food industry. The first son Hiroharu is the president and the head chef of Niseko branch, the second son Takashi is the head chef of Susukino branch, and the third son Keito manages the auberge “Yoichi Sagra” in Yoichi-Cho.
The popular summer season menu is unagi (eels)!Their unagi (eel) dishes which is limited during the summer season (late April to November) got great reputations in 2017, and are popular in 2018, too.
They grill ells from Aichi Prefecture on Robata charcoal grills.
▲The unagi is looking good on the Robata grill in front of the counter.
And the eels become Unaju!
▲Unaju (special) 4,968 yen (comes with miso soup and pickles, the price includes tax), and Unaju (regular) 3,888 yen (comes with miso soup and pickles, the price includes tax). They also have unagi course menu.
As there are no other unagi specialized restaurants, tourists from Hokkaido and other parts of Japan stop by this restaurant while driving to have the unagi. Unagi in Niseko sounds unexpected. You can enjoy their unagi in either lunch or dinner.
Many other Hokkaido produced ingredients!However, they are most proud of their Robata kaiseki cuisines using ingredients in Hokkaido. I asked Mr. Murai what kind of dishes we can have here.
The first one is the pickled tomato salad. This is the signature dish of Naniwatei, and it’s popular in the Susukino branch, too.
▲They put bonito and kelp dashi flavored dressings on the fully-raped Hokkaido tomato.
You can feel the sweetness and umami of the vegetables cooked with Robata. The vegetables are mainly by the local farm in Niseko, Lalala Farm. Those are very fresh!
The roasted pork has the best balance of fat and the flavor. The pork is carefully raised with best feeds by Kitajima Farm in Yoichi-Cho.
▲Potatoes on the side are the premium aging potatoes which is aged for 540 days after harvested in Kucchan-Cho. They are named “540”. It tasted very sweet!
▲The last dish is soy milk and kelp dashi risotto with cheese. I never knew that dashi broth and cheese matches well.
We can taste the Robata Kaiseki course full of delicious foods made in Hokkaido for lunch (late April to November) and dinner. How lucky we are!
They offer two kinds of Robata Kaiseki course including above dishes: 9 dishes 10,800 yen (including tax) and 10 dishes 16,200 yen (including tax). The content is the same for lunch and dinner. *The price is as of August 2018 and the content will change depending on the season.
To deliver delicious Japanese cuisines using Hokkaido food to as many people as we canMr. Murai advises various food businesses in Hokkaido as one of the members of Hokkaido “food artisan” certified by Hokkaido prefectural office.
He felt the high interests towards Japanese cuisines from travelers from abroad through his activity. Therefore, he created this branch to fulfill their needs.
When he was looking for store properties in Niseko area, where many travelers from abroad spend a long holiday especially in winter, he encountered this place where it used to be a farm restaurant before.
▲He was expecting travelers from abroad in winter and locals and domestic travelers in summer. So far his expectation was right, and the number of customers is increasing yearly.
“Travelers from abroad are normally wealthy people, and they are very keen on Japanese cuisines just like domestic customers. We offer carefully prepared dishes in Kucchan branch just like our Susukino main branch.” Mr. Murai told me.
His careful work is attracting people from all over the world.
Feeling the change of seasons by enjoying seasonal foods produced in Niseko and Hokkaido or charcoal grilled eels while driving in Niseko area sounds like a great plan. This restaurant is surely a must-visit place no matter which season it is.
* The restaurant is closed from September 6, 2018, to September 30, 2018, because they will participate in “Sapporo Autumn Festival” in Sapporo Odori Park.
Text / Isao Tanaka
Photo / Tateyuki Tabuchi