Sunday, August 24, 2014

Retort Report: Shiseido Parlor Pork Curry And Kinkei Mozzarella Cheese Curry

Another exciting edition of sharing my delicious meals of heat-and-serve convenience that is the retort pouch curry! The first is a treat from the historic and ritzy Shiseido Parlor. Many may recognize the name Shiseido as the Japanese cosmetics company, but having roots in pharmaceuticals, it would be that they had opened an American drugstore inspired soda fountain back in 1902 in Tokyo's posh Ginza district. They are credited in introducing ice cream to the general public amongst other things and the building currently serves as the company's flagship store. As their restaurant serves the finer end of Japanese Yoshoku cuisine pendulum I've always been curious in dropping in the pretty Art Deco building when I'd often pass by during my treks, but for many random reasons it never happened.

If I did ever visit, I know I would really have a hard time deciding what to order. Price be damned, the visual of their perfectly flawless Omurice and Cream Croquettes are what Yoshoku lovers' dreams are made of. While one of their more famous is the ~$100 Lobster and Abalone Curry, it was a pleasure to find the Beef, Pork, Chicken and Vegetable versions at select department store grocers at a much more attainable ~$5.50 each.

What I had brought back for tasting was the Pork Curry, and for this special occasion I busted out my classy vintage Noritake China. The meal's box probably the prettiest I've encountered in any Japanese retoruto meals, it matched the plate by chance. :)

Even the pouch inside was super cute!
In rapidly boiling water it would sit for a few minutes, then the piping contents poured on a plate creating my familiar yin-yang estuary of savory aromatic curry next to some freshly cooked, equally steamy hakumai rice. Sweet Fukujinzuke pickles for me a must, while Rakkyo are a nice to have option.

This was a surprisingly fruity Japanese curry where the light acidity helping to cut the usual associated richness with subtle pleasant lingering of bitterness. Some presence of vegetables, however most well-surrendered into contributing to the body of the roux, it was nice to see a good amount of tender pork pieces for the price as well. Overall a fairly recognizable flavor profile but definitely extra fragrant with heat level on the milder side. This curry was a pleasure to eat to the very last spoonful. I really regret not also purchasing the Beef version.

I've covered the Kinkei Brand Curry in the past and feel for something in the $2 range, it's still what I consider the one that I wish to be in my cupboard at all times, cost-performance wise. I came across a version with Mozzarella Cheese and thought I'd include it in my to-try stash.

These days it's hard to know what's not an appropriate topping for Japanese Curry, cheese definitely being up there in popularity, while Natto isn't unusual as well. I did wonder if the mozz combo here would perhaps be too much of a good thing. Time to find out. I used my Coco-Ichi plate-ware and matching spoon again for this one. :)

I didn't recognize any of the beef and onion pieces this time which I missed. There were however plenty of the advertised melty cheese orbs which was maybe difficult to make out a lot of the Mozzarella flavor from the rich roux.

Not surprising the plate was on the heavy side and rather indulgent. For me the balance of flavors that made me a fan of the original wasn't quite there and got to be a bit much towards the end. For Kinkei, I personally would be sticking with the standard Beef Curry, with or without a topping of Natto. :)


K and S said...

such a pretty box!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kat, was nice inside and out! :)