The only place in Japan where customers can order the Mac and Cheese Omelette Rice Curry.

Japanese curry has long been one of the nation’s most favourite comfort foods, and in recent years it’s become just as beloved overseas. One of the best places to get a taste of it is at Japan’s CoCo Ichibanya restaurant chain, which is also the world’s largest curry chain, with more than 1,200 outlets worldwide.

Like many global chains, CoCo Ichibanya offers exclusive menu items catering to local tastes, ranging from country to country. Unfortunately, that means we’d have to travel to travel to 11 countries, including the U.S, India, Thailand, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines, in order to try everything the chain offers, but now there’s one special branch that sells these overseas dishes, and it’s located in Tokyo’s Kyobashi neighborhood.

▼ Called Curry House CoCo Ichibanya World, this new branch opened in October last year.

Our curry-loving reporter Mr Sato only got around to visiting the new branch this month, and after perusing the menu, he couldn’t believe he hadn’t eaten here earlier, because what they offered was simply mind-blowing.

▼ First off, the branch looks classier than the others, resembling a stylish cafe.

Then, of course, there’s the menu, which goes beyond the options usually available in Japan, including dishes such as Thai Green Curry (available for a limited time)…

…and a series of omelette curries, which are apparently a standard item overseas (the national flags included in the image indicate the countries where it’s on the menu).

There are also a couple of mapo eggplant tofu curries and pork and kimchi curries as part of the “Worldwide Menus” section. 

There were a lot of options to choose from, but Mr Sato eventually settled on the Chicken Cutlet Omelette Curry for 1,200 yen (US$8.75). He also ordered a salad/drink set for 380 yen and the Mac and Cheese Topping as an add-on for 280 yen.

▼ The drink he ordered with the salad was a Peach Calpis, which is usually only available in China and Taiwan.

It didn’t take long for the curry to arrive, looking glorious with its glistening roux, beautifully sliced chicken cutlet…and unusual mound of Mac and Cheese.

According to Mr Sato’s research online, when CoCo Ichibanya first started expanding overseas the Japanese-style curry and rice didn’t quite catch on. However, when they started offering omelette curries, with an omelette on top of the rice, it became a hit and “omelette curry” soon became synonymous with “Japanese curry” overseas.

▼ Mr Sato doesn’t usually have omelette on his curry, and certainly never Mac and Cheese, so he was keen to try this reverse import.

Trying the Mac and Cheese first, the soft texture of the boiled macaroni and the smoothness of the cheese were a perfect match — so much so that Mr Sato would’ve happily eaten a bowl of this on its own.

Next, he took a bite of the chicken cutlet. He was a little worried that its perfect shape would result in a bland flavour, but it tasted great, with a beautiful crunch that contrasted well with the egg and cheese.

As for the curry itself, it tasted different to the type offered in Japan, with a lighter, refreshing flavour that Mr Sato hasn’t experienced outside of CoCo Ichibanya World.

Putting them all together for a taste, Mr Sato was in curry heaven, relishing the creaminess, crunchiness, and flavourful curry-ness of the mix. It was a dish to remember, made all the more special by the fact that CoCo Ichibanya World was the one place in Japan where he could eat it.

Everything Mr Sato experienced during his visit was fantastic, including the atmosphere of the store, the selection of menu items, the taste, and the customer service of the staff, so Mr Sato wondered why this spot wasn’t more widely known.

He certainly wasn’t complaining, though, because if it’d been more popular he’d have to wait longer for a table. Now that he knows how good this place is, he’ll definitely be returning for more, and with a second CoCo Ichibanya World having opened in Nagoya on 10 May, there may be more locations coming our way in future!

Restaurant information
Curry House CoCo Ichibanya World
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Kyobashi 2-2-1, Kyobashi Edo Grand basement level 1
東京都中央区京橋二丁目2番1号 京橋エドグランB1
Open 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (last order 10:00 p.m.)

Photos © SoraNews24
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