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Cafe Ochanoma.....

Spaghetti Sticks!

That is what the menu says, Deep-fried Spaghetti Sticks, in salt and pepper. They arrive on the table, standing tall in a glass, still hot, coated in seasoning. They look like very thin bread sticks, but are even crunchier. Unusual!

Like many Asian restaurants, Ochanoma is a great place to go with friends ordering a wide range of small dishes, Otsumami, Kobachi or Kushiyaki. For the hungry brigade just do it on your own.

Café Ochanoma is not a swank, flash restaurant, it is in fact a Japanese eating house! Pleasantly clean and cool, with smiling friendly service, the food is tasty and of great value. At most times of the day you will be joined by many young Japanese, more the local working variety rather than tourists. The restaurant has been strategically placed almost opposite JTB the large Japanese travel group headquarters in Tuban, just before The ByPass becomes Jimbaran. Tour guides and other local Japanese workers have made this place their 2nd home.

Most people associate Japanese cuisine with Sushi and Sashimi. Yes, they do both but as well as the normal presentation methods that you expect, here it is with a difference. Traditional Sashimi can be ordered or the interesting Maguro Nattou, lumps of raw yellow fin tuna stacked more like a salad, topped with fermented soy beans. The Sushi is mostly maki rolls and similar, the Tiger Roll large and soft [careful with your chopsticks] crammed full of king prawn meat, crab stick, enoki [a Japanese mushroom that grows like a fungus around the base of Chinese Hackberry trees up in the snow] and lettuce. Futomaki combines egg, melon, shiitake mushrooms, cucumuber and kani-fumi. For vegetarians, and they have many options here, there is Umekappa Maki, sushi roll of salted plums and cucumber.

Other snacking dishes include a range of Kushiyaki, all threaded on thin bamboo sticks. One of Shiitake mushroom is a simple tasty example. Others include Batukushi [pork], Gyu Tang [beef tongue], Tori [chicken], the tasty Negima [chicken and leek] and for the real Asians; Torijawa [chicken skin] and Sunagumo [chicken gizzards], all grilled and doused with your choice of either a soy-based marinade or special Japanese salt.

A similar dish is the famous Chicken Yakitori. Originally small birds were used for this dish but convenience soon replaced them with large chunks of chicken, normally interspersed with pieces of spring onion, but at Ochanoma it is just tender chicken well immersed in the soy, mirin and sake sauce that makes this dish a popular snack with drinks of any kind, at any time of the day.

Another all time snack favourite is Gyoza, dumplings stuffed with minced pork first steamed and then pan-fried [one side only] just before serving. An original Chinese product since improved upon by the Japanese.

Okonomi Tamago is often referred to as a Japanese Pizza, nothing could be more dissimilar. In fact it is small thin squares of cabbage cooked in egg, a Japanese Omelette if you wish? It provides a good balance to the other snacks. Their Salads include Kari Kari Bacon which sounds like a Japanese Caesar and more traditional options with tuna, seaweed, onions and daikon.

Mains for one person include many soba and udon noodle dishes as well as those solo dinners that top a bowl of rice; Katsu Don [with pork cutlet], Ton Don [mixed tempura], etc. All of these are generally considered to be lunch time dishes, along with the famous Bento Box [4 different combinations available here at Rp.120,000++ each].

Mains to be shared are many. Sukiyaki [made in the kitchen, not at the table, with super thin slices of prime Australian beef, noodles and vegetables, tossed with a raw egg at the finish] is one. Sauteed Pork with Ginger [the pork is slightly chewy, not unexpected as at $5 it has to be local pork, but still very acceptable, particularly as it is covered with a mass of fried onions, my favourite vegetable] and a perfect Chicken Teriyaki [whole breast of chicken grilled in sweet soy, cross sliced and sprinkled with sesame seeds, the skin surprisingly crispy the way the Chinese always produce it].

The Shioyaki is Salmon Steak grilled in that special salt. Ebi Tempura, large king prawns sopped in rice flour before deep-frying. The Spicy Deep-fried Crisp Chicken attains the impossible, a very crunchy outside whilst the flesh inside remains soft and tender.

Then there is am original Japanese discovery; a Hamburg Steak, perhaps a Japanese hamburger?

If you order steamed rice, it will come with or just before the mains but if you order the popular Yaki Onigiri [grilled rice balls] they will be served a the end of the meal, as Fried Rice is in a real Chinese restaurant, as a palate cleanser.

Feel like a dessert? Well turn back to the front page of the menu [why?]. Only a very Japanese concoction appeals to me, Shiratama Zenzai, Azuki red bean broth with rice flour dumplings.

Café Ochanoma is a great value eating house, no wine is served just Beer or Sake, so be Japanese and follow suit.

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Cafe Ochanoma
Jln. ByPass Ngurah Rai,
Pertokoan Citra Bali Blok 25, Tuban.
11.00 a.m. to 12.00 Midnight, daily.
Off street.
Rp.380,000 for two [+ drinks]
Credit Cards:
- Mastercard
- Visa
Happy eating house.
Popular with local working Japanese.
Last Reviewed:
July 2009
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