Making restaurant quality food at home is as simple as (Kitchen) ABC.

When it comes to good eats in Tokyo, our gourmet expert Mr. Sato has one restaurant he’s particularly fond of: Kitchen ABC. Having first opened its doors to hungry diners back in 1969, the restaurant is known for its cheap and cheerful Japanese take on popular Western dishes, and it now has four branches throughout the city.

So imagine Mr. Sato’s dismay when, on a recent trip to the Ekoda branch of Kitchen ABC, he found the store was closed for the day.

Feeling defeated, Mr. Sato was about to turn tail and head somewhere else to get something to eat, when he saw something that caught his eye. Right next to a regular vending machine full of drinks, there was a vending machine he’d not seen before on his previous visits to Kitchen ABC.

▼ Inside the vending machine were a bunch of ready made chilled versions of the meals from Kitchen ABC, ready to take home and cook yourself!

It seems that the store has these kind of vending machines installed at three of its locations — the Kitchen ABC manufacturing hub in Honkomagome, and the Minami-Otsuka and Ekoda branches of Kitchen ABC. The fact that the vending machine was a new find for Mr. Sato wasn’t surprising, either, seeing as they were first installed in August this year.

Inside the vending machine were many of the store’s most popular dishes, such as chicken nanban and black curry, but Mr. Sato decided to grab his personal favourite — the garlic yakiniku with hamburg steak set. The set didn’t come with rice or pickles like normal meals at the restaurant do, but at 1,000 yen ($7.00) per set, you’re getting a good deal regardless.

Kitchen ABC offered free cooling packs to anyone buying products from the vending machine, but only when the store was open, so Mr. Sato hurried back to SoraNewsHQ and began cooking.

According to the instructions, the garlic yakiniku was microwaveable, but the hamburg steak needed to be boiled in the bag. It was recommended that both were best boiled in their bags, so Mr. Sato prepared a pot of boiling water.

After roughly ten minutes of sitting in boiling water, both the yakiniku and hamburg steak were ready. Mr. Sato was already feeling pretty optimistic, as the familiar aroma of Kitchen ABC began to fill his nostrils!

The ginger yakiniku was made from stir-fried pork and onions, cooked in a secret garlic sauce. Mr. Sato found himself instantly drooling at the appetising smell of the garlic!

The hamburg steak came in such a thick, rich demi-glace sauce that it was hard to believe it wasn’t freshly made.

Mr. Sato’s creations definitely looked restaurant-quality, but would the taste match up with the visuals? After all, these had come out of a vending machine. There was only one way to find out, but while Mr. Sato was keen to try out his cooking himself, he knew deep down that in order for an authentic result, he’d need to enlist the help from an impartial taste tester.

Luckily for Mr. Sato, fellow reporter Seiji Nakazawa also rates Kitchen ABC highly, and used to visit it frequently back when he lived in the Ikebukuro area of Tokyo. In fact, Seiji is such a fan of the restaurant that he refers to it simply as ‘ABC’, his passion for the restaurant overruling the need to add ‘Kitchen’ at the beginning.

So taste-testing duties fell to Seiji, who, upon seeing the plates in front of him, commented, “This is so ABC. I’ve been going there for five years, and I can tell. It looks just like what they serve in the restaurant.”

But what about the taste? “Yep, this tastes just like ABC too. Was this really made from a ready meal? Amazing!!

“The hamburg steak tastes great too. I can’t believe you made it by just boiling it in a bag!”

“Even the taste of the sauce takes me back. It’s so ABC!!”

So the pre-cooked ready meals get two thumbs from ABC super fan Seiji, which is high praise indeed. Seiji was all smiles now that he could enjoy his favourite ABC meals any time, anywhere, and his smile got even wider when Mr. Sato told him Kitchen ABC were also in the process of setting up an online store, meaning he could get his favourite ABC meals delivered straight to his doorstep!

So if you find yourself at Kitchen ABC after closing time, fear not! You can still enjoy the taste of the restaurant with just a boiling pot of water!

Restaurant information
Kitchen ABC Ekoda branch キッチンABC 江古田店
Address: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Asahigaoka 1-73-13
Open 11:00a.m – 11:00p.m (vending machine open 24 hrs)

Photos © SoraNews24
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